As you have grown up, you were consistently reminded that the most important meal of the day was your breakfast.
However, in recent years, studies have increasingly led us to ask whether this statement is really true.
Nowhere is this more evident than when you are having your morning workouts, as you might wonder whether this is really necessary.
It is not helped by the vast amount of information that people give on the internet.
Some people believe exercising before eating leads to more fat burning, and there are various diet strategies such as intermittent fasting that have increased greatly in popularity.
The problem with this theory is that it can leave you prone to snacking too much, which beats the purpose of you keeping fit in the first place.
The best strategy to help fuel your body as it exercises is by giving it sufficient fuel – and it must be the correct one.
That takes figuring out what to eat, and it is not junk food – so no chocolate bars or snickers.
The overall energy your body will use during your workouts must come from somewhere; and it is through the meals you ate before.
On the other hand, the rush of energy you feel when you eat something after exercise is due to a spike in blood sugar, although this can leave you feeling hungrier after some hours (especially if you eat incorrectly).
What should I keep in mind?
Even when you decide to create an entire workout regimen and your pre-workout meals, there are some things you should keep in mind. They include:
Keep your focus on eating healthy
Muscles and great fitness levels do not just come without building body strength – otherwise, you will still be very weak in the long term.
If you want to increase your muscle mass, you need to support that with your nutritional intake – and we are not talking about taking substances that boost muscle mass like steroids.
In fact, it is more efficient to maintain consumption of clean, wholesome food if you want to maintain your body properly.
A plant-based diet is helpful in achieving this, as it will give you quite the rotation of seeds, grains, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
When combined. They will give you sufficient levels of the protein, calorie and general nutrient needs, even when compared to athletes who train hard, but without the risks of saturated fats.
If you are a vegan, you can find excellent protein sources in foods like rice, beans, soy, peas, and lentils.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach will help as well, and also eating glycogen replacement foods such as fruits and nuts.
For you to grow your muscles, you need sufficient energy to train – so focus on incorporating a more balanced outlook in your diet for better results.
Do not be afraid to eat
To tell you the truth, many of us have become scared of food, because we associate it with so many health problems – you might think that eating less food is important, but the truth is opposite of that.
You cannot expect to gain muscle, yet you are not eating enough to sustain your energy requirements or muscle growth.
Counting calories is really not the way to go because of how inaccurate it can be.
However, it can be useful when giving you a clue of the meal compositions you should make, as well as the portion sizes.
Why the classic stereotype of weak and skinny vegans exists is due to plant foods having greater fiber, which makes you eat less of them because you feel full faster.
The same rule will apply when you eat whole foods rather than processed food.
Something you should note here is that salads and raw vegetables will do nothing for you when you are trying to build muscle, because they will give you plenty of bulk without the energy.
It is better to make them into a juice, which allows you to consume greater amounts of food. This case does not apply to seeds and nuts though, as they are very calorie-dense. With that, we go to the next point, which is:
Avoiding common mistakes when planning your pre-workout mea
Just because you are an active person, does not mean you eat heavy before your workout, especially not on the wrong kinds of carbs like white bread.
This will increase the chances of nutritional deficiencies developing.
For you to maximize the results you are getting, you need to incorporate protein as well into your meal, as there is no point of eating any kind of carb for the sake of energy during exercise.
Know when to workout
You definitely cannot work out properly on a full stomach, as these food sources need ingestion after you have finished your workout.
Focus on even making post-workout protein shakes and water, which will replenish lost energy, and then eat meals afterwards to help the body recover for vegan pre workout
What should you eat before exercise?
There are some important things to keep in mind, which include:
- The most important thing is to get a carbohydrate meal, because this is the primary source of fuel for your body when you are exercising. However, it is not all carbs that will help you through the process; it is more important to focus on complex carbohydrates.
- Since these take longer to digest, they will help you keep your energy levels longer. The nutrients you must avoid are proteins and fat – the more they are in the pre-exercise meal, the longer you will have to wait before doing your workout (they actually increase the chances of you getting muscle cramps).
- The goal here is eating sufficient calories that are about half of those you are planning to burn, or eat slightly more if you are doing a workout at high intensity.
The best vegan pre-workout snacks
Choosing the correct pre-workout snack can be tricky, especially if you are vegan.
Here are some great choices, all which have undergone extensive scientific testing and prove to be effective.
Oatmeal – Vegan Pre Workout
If there is a poster food for complex carbs, then oatmeal should ideally top the list.
Because of this, it provides your system with sufficient energy at a slower rate than most carb foods, which allows you to power through your workout – unlike the classic bowl of sugary cereal.
The problem with eating non-complex carb foods before your regimen is their burst of energy.
While this sounds like a good thing, it is a problem because the energy crashes are faster than you will want, and you end up feeling exhausted and cannot power through your day (unless you eat something heavier).
Low carbohydrate protein sources
Regardless of whether you are a vegan or not, it is important to factor in protein foods because they will improve your body’s repair and growth rates.
This is particularly true when it comes to your post-workout meal, but pre-workout meal should have a little bit of protein to it (no too much though, as you will risk cramping).
The good news is that many low-carb food sources also contain protein, and this can particularly be useful information in case you are on a Keto or low-carb diet.
These food sources include vegan blends, tofu, seitan, pea protein, tempeh, brown rice protein, soy protein, and textured vegetable protein.
High-carb protein sources
If you are doing a Keto diet, high-carb protein sources are out of the question because of messing up your ketosis process.
However, for vegans, you can consume high-carb foods (aside from oatmeal), and these incorporate protein that is good for muscle and tissue repair.
In fact, there is scientific evidence that shows the consumption of pre-and post-workout food leads to better muscle growth and tissue repairs.
Because it is good to have pre-workout carbs in your system, the consumption of foods that have both low-GI carbs and protein will increase your results and performance levels, even throughout the day.
These foods include butter beans, green and red lentils, chickpeas, haricot beans, kidney beans, black-eyed beans, and pinto beans.
Low GI carbohydrates
Extensive studies have shown that the key to improve or maintain your exercise performance is consuming a high-carb meal about one to four hours before you set out to exercise.
Not all carbs are created equal, and the most effective ones are the low-GI types, or low Glycemic Index.
This glycemic index is the rank of carbohydrates according to their effects on your blood sugar.
The foods that cause blood sugar spikes at very fast rates are known as the High-GI types, while low-GI are the opposite type that release their energy slowly.
The best example of this is oatmeal, which we mentioned earlier, as the sugar levels in your blood are steadier.
Some foods to have include white long grain and brown rice, non-mashed yams, new potatoes and sweet potatoes, certain legumes such as green and red lentils, black-eyed beans, and chickpeas; muesli, pasta, and sourdough, whole wheat and mixed grain bread.
The health benefits of beetroot are not a surprise, considering it has gone through extensive scientific and clinical studies.
Many sports supplements also include beetroot powder and beetroot in their ingredient, and it shows to enhance your exercise performance.
The factor that makes beetroot stand out from many tubers is its amount of nitrates, and these play a very important role in increasing the blood flow to muscles, and improving their levels of efficiency as you exercise.
The best time to take the juice or powder is an hour before carrying out your workout.
Also known as creatine, this is a chemical compound that the body produces naturally to boost the energy levels in your muscles.
When you are in the midst of exercising, the creatine demand increases significantly, and the body requires greater supply to replenish it and improve your performance.
According to scientific research, creatine has also proved to increase the size of muscles, as well as improving physical performance during short-term exercises like sprints and weight training.
For vegans, the only way to get extra creatine is through supplements, as the only natural sources are in fish and meat.
The body does not need much of it though- 4 to 10 mg is enough for your daily intake, and you can spread this throughout your post and pre-workout shakes.
Modified starch sources
We know the sources of starch, which are all carbohydrate foods such as barley and maize.
On the other and, modified starches are formed when the starch goes through chemical or hydrothermal modification, which results in the body digesting the starch at a faster rate.
These do not only give your body the energy it requires for your workouts, but also will enhance the ability of your body to utilize fat for its energy instead of glucose.
In the long term, this will preserve the carb stores in your body, and help to increase your endurance levels.
This may sound strange, but there is a reason why caffeine is legendary in the fitness world – even featuring in many sports and energy drinks.
It is well-known because of its enhancement of body performance during exercise, and improves the stamina of people that participate in endurance sports like swimming, cycling, rowing and running.
The stimulant does this through the improvement of utilization of free fatty acids in your body.
This will reduce the metabolism of glycogen, or the carb stores in your body, and it also facilitates adjustments within the nervous system (which is why you feel more alert).
Some of the sources of caffeine include any vegan pre-workout formula, caffeine supplements, tea and coffee, extracts of green tea, and guarana extract.
Finding the best benefits of your exercise performance requires that you have a proper nutritional plan in mind, and select the correct foods that help you in this purpose.
As a vegan, there are fortunately plenty of options you can consume before your morning workout routine, and increase the chances of having a successful workout.