What Is the Best Thing to Take Before a Workout?

Athletes as well as exercising enthusiasts know how crucial nutrition is to get the best results at the gym. If you wish to improve your performance and achieve your fitness goals, you need to make sure that your body gets the right nutrients before your workout. There are a lot of supplements and nutrition products available currently on the market, so the decision of what is right for you and your body might not be an easy one. What is the best thing to take before a workout session? Let’s find out.

Carbs - Do You Really Need Them?

You may not know this, but your muscles use the glucose from carbs as fuel. If you are planning short- and high-intensity exercise, your carbs are your muscles’ main source of energy, so having a pre-workout high-carb snack might be an excellent idea. For longer workouts, carbs might not be so effective, because your muscles’ glycogen stores are limited. If you want to maximize your glycogen stores, you might be interested in carb loading, which involves consuming a high-carb diet for 1–7 days.

Protein - Is It Worth It Before the Workout?

There are many studies that confirm protein intake before a workout can improve athletic performance. Eating protein (alone in a form of protein bars for example, or together with carbs) before exercise has been proven to increase muscle protein synthesis. This is why protein is especially beneficial before a strength session at the gym. Eating around 20 grams of protein before a workout, you can expect a positive anabolic response (muscle growth). Protein helps as well with strength and muscle recovery, so making sure your protein intake is high enough, should help you make the most out of your workout.

Fats - Useful, But Only For Some Types of Exercise

Even though fats tend to have a bad reputation among the fitness community, they can be beneficial before a certain type of workout. While carbs are more suitable for shorter and high-intensity training, fats can boost your performance during longer and moderate to low-intensity workouts. However, beware that scientists examined the effects of fat intake on athletic performance only for high-fat diets over a long period of time. The effect of a fatty pre-workout snack is not yet researched. However, the fact that fats might boost performance for the type of workout mentioned above is a good indicator that eating some fats can help, especially if you are doing long-distance running, or cycling as your exercise.

Final Words

What should you take before a workout? Depends on the type of workout you are about to do. Carbs will help you maximize glycogen stores for high-intensity training. Fat, on the other hand, is there to fuel your body for longer, less intense exercise. Meanwhile, protein improves muscle growth and aids recovery. Choose your pre-workout snack or meal based on what your body will need the most. With proper nutrition before exercise, you should see improved results at the gym in no time.