—–This is true if you are eating a high carbohydrate diet (over 300 grams) because your body will quickly run out of ‘fuel' or energy, better known as stored carbohydrate which is glycogen. And if you are a carb eater you usually wake up crungry– Cranky and Hungry.
——– When you are eating a lower carb diet or the ketogenic diet like I have been since July 2014 you don't wake up Crungry and I routinely skip breakfast when teaching early morning fitness classes (515 or 6 am–which I don't do anymore, first class is at 9 am because I WILL NEVER MISS THE SUNRISE) simply because I'm not hungry– my body is fueled by my fat. It's a nice feeling to know that my body is eating the stuff I want to get rid of 😎
Problem is a lot of people don't know about this little fat loss secret I'm about to share with you. What you eat before a workout is one of the most important things you can do during the day for ultimate fat loss. Without a solid pre-workout nutrition regiment your post-workout meal will be a lot less effective.
The questions I get asked the most are ‘what' and when' to eat this meal. First off let's talk about why you need to be eating this meal.
The pre-workout meal ensures that you will have adequate nutrition to make it through your workout. You should concentrate on getting fuel into your body. And the body's best fuel source is carbohydrates. Most importantly you want to concentrate on complex or fibrous carbs, which are the carbs that give you sustained energy. What you are doing with these carbs is making sure that your glycogen levels (stored carbohydrates) are full, because when you workout your body pulls the carbs out of glycogen storage to be used as energy. So if you your levels are depleted, like when you wake up in the morning, and you skip the pre-workout meal then you have no glycogen to pull out. So the body will resort to pulling lean muscle tissue off your muscles to fuel the workout, which results in less muscle mass, decreased metabolism, and increased fat gain.
—-Again the pre-workout meal is very important if you are a carb-eater. I'm sure if you are you have experienced crashes either just simply during the day or even during a workout. When carbs are lowered you don't rely as much on glycogen, there is some still there, but you rely on fat as your energy. And on a ketogenic diet the body relies more on something called ketones. Ketones are the bodies number 1 fuel source. Not glucose, like a lot of nutritionist's would want you to believe. I used to preach the same thing that the brain needs a minimum of 120 grams of carbs to function properly (and I recently heard a podcast saying that very thing last week). The thing is the brain can use ketones much more efficiently then it can glucose, and without the brain fog and high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels deserves an article all to itself, and probably actually a book.
—-I routinely eat my ‘pre-workout' meal 2-4 hours before my workout. When I was a carb burner it would be usually under an hour, sometimes up to 90 minutes, but usually it was under a 1/2 hour. I usually stuck to the 1/2 hour because then I could get more ‘meals' in my body which at the time I believed would stoke my metabolism even higher and let me burn even more fat, but what I didn't know was that I was actually storing more fat and raising my blood sugar levels– and keeping them raised through out the day.
—I used to say breakfast, but high fat and moderate protein will fuel your day much better then a bowl of oatmeal ever can and longer.
If you workout on an empty stomach your body doesn't have any energy. You can't give 100% intensity, and if you do you will most likely feel sick, light-headed, and nauseous. You will reach fatigue a lot quicker also. Some people can do it, but in my opinion it's because they haven't adopted their body to it. A lot of people who have never eaten before a workout before and then they do they feel full or nauseous. Maybe it was the wrong types of foods, not enough time given to digest, or the body is not used to it yet. If you only do something a few times you never get good at anything, same thing with your body. It needs to adopt
—When following a low carb, high fat or keto diet, or even low carb Paleo, you can workout on an empty stomach. Because your body is being fueled by ketones, that is it is using fatty acids as it's fuel source rather then glucose or glycogen the stored form of carbs.
When to eat:
When to eat this meal ideally would be at least 60 minutes before hand. And about 60-90 minutes is a good time range. This will give the body enough time to digest the meal and give the body a full dose of energy for the workout. If this is not possible, as in an early morning workout then 20-30 minutes should suffice, but the meal should be a lot lighter. Early morning workouts are ideal for a meal replacement shake, especially if you have trouble eating so early. And you can even drink it throughout the workout for sustained energy and possibly even a second wind.
— Circadian Nutrition 101- Sun out = Kitchen Open. Sun Down = Kitchen Closed
Now to the part you probably care, and want to know the most about–what to eat. The best carbohydrate source to eat before a workout would be oatmeal in water or almond/coconut milk, or some added whey protein. Although since switching to Paleo I no longer eat oatmeal beforehand, it's usually a sweet potato or some kind of fruit. Plus oatmeal usually contains gluten, which I recommend everybody stays away from even if you are not gluten sensitive. I know oats are technically a gluten free food, but the majority of oats are processed in factories that get cross contaminated with other gluten containing products. Do your research if you want to eat oats and stay away from gluten. Oats also do one other thing that I don't like, or actually two— raise your blood sugar levels, and make you fat. Yes I said it! Oatmeal makes you fat. You see when you wake up, pretty much everybody is in some form of ‘ketosis', meaning that they are using ketones or fatty acids as energy. but as soon as you consume carbs especially non-veggie type, those fatty acids get pushed into your fat cells by insulin which then turns into triglycerides, and makes the fat cells bigger or fatter. Insulin and triglycerides you want to keep low low low. Carbs and too high of a protein intake can trigger both to go up. It supplies long lasting energy and is a good source of protein. Other things you could consider would be a nut butter sandwich on gluten and grain free bread (or just nut butter- 3-4 tbsp of almond butter and I'm ready to go), fruit, vegetables, sweet or regular potatoes, and energy bars. But be careful with the bars, I only really recommend a couple of them, otherwise it is just eating a bunch of chemicals. We routinely make our own bread now with almond, walnut, pecan, cashew or coconut flour, but if you must have bread try a hemp seed or other type of seed bread, just make sure it doesn't have any grains or wheat in it.My wife gets a grain free bread from Target that she and my kids love.
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