Eating For Muscle Gain: Is Pre-Workout Nutrition Important?

By: Sean Nalewanyj

Proper preparation is the key to the success or failure of any workout.

You should enter each session at the gym as though you are going to war and your mind and body should be ready to win this war.

Eating for muscle gain can prime your body before you hit the weights-in this article, we will cover that aspect of physical preparedness.

Eating for muscle gain helps give your body the necessary tools to workout as effectively as possible because it ensures that you go into the gym at peak strength.

Eating for muscle gain, especially before your workout, helps you to achieve three very important goals:

1) Maximize your strength potential.

2) Provide a continuous stream of energy for both your mind and muscles while you are working out.

3) Minimize the breakdown of muscles during the workout and provide your body with all the ingredients necessary to start the process of recovery after your workout.

Your eating for muscle gain pre-workout system shouldn't start with solid food. You need to ensure that you're properly hydrated before starting your workout. Before you train, it's critical to hydrate as water plays a vital role in keeping strength and energy levels peaked.

About 60 minutes before your workout, you need to ingest the 'eating for muscle gain' pre-workout meal. This meal should focus mainly on protein. This protein will keep your body in an anabolic state throughout your workout and will help to prevent muscle breakdown as you train.

30-40 grams of protein from high quality sources such as whey protein and casein is the ideal mix. You can make this mixture by combining around 300-400ml of skim milk with 25-30 grams of whey protein.

As whey protein is naturally high in BCAA's, which help to prevent muscle catabolism during your workout, it's a smart pre-workout choice when eating for muscle gain. When you mix your whey with milk, the release of proteins is slowed and this helps provide your body with a constant stream of amino acids throughout your training session.

You should also get 1-2 portions of low-glycemic carbohydrates along with your protein. These carbs are ideal before a workout as they get broken down and gradually absorbed by your body, providing it with a steady stream of energy.

If you are eating for muscle gain, avoid high glycemic carbohydrates before your workout because they cause a surge of insulin to rapidly release in your bloodstream, to balance your elevated blood sugar levels. This will result in a quick rise in insulin levels followed by a sharp fall.

When your insulin levels fall, you will feel weak and sluggish. This is not how you want your body to react in the middle of a high intensity workout, so choose carbohydrates that won't lead to fluctuating insulin levels.

Opt for carbs such as oatmeal, apples, or brown rice before your workout to give your body a steady stream of sugars that keep your energy levels peaked for the duration of your workout.

When eating for muscle gain before a workout, your meals should be fairly small to allow for easy digestion and to prevent you from feeling sick when you train. You should never, ever workout without consuming a pre-workout meal.

Here's a quick recap:

60 minutes before your workout:

1) 300-400ml of milk mixed with 25-30 grams of whey protein

2) 1-2 servings of oatmeal, brown rice, apples, or other slow release carbohydrates

I also like to have a cup or two of coffee before hitting the gym because it increases my energy and amplifies focus.

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