There is no doubting the importance of a pre-workout. But your idea and my idea of a pre-workout are probably completely different. You all know how I feel about certain supplements in general, ESPECIALLY pre-workouts, so I’m only going to briefly touch on this and then breakdown how you can build this yourself NATURALLY.
I won’t throw them all together, but the vast majority of pre-workouts are just tasty powders loaded with stimulants and blended chemicals to make you feel like you can run through a brick wall.. At least for about 90 minutes. That is usually followed by a significant crash down to earth, and maybe some jitters, itching, and tweaking out mixed into that along the way. Now I say the vast majority because some companies are starting to get the idea and make different blends that don’t include the stimulants and are built with a somewhat less harmful list of ingredients. (I don’t dare say healthier to anything that needed a lab to create it.)
But if it’s possible, why don’t we avoid putting these substances into our bodies all together? Well it is… So let’s breakdown the reasons we take a pre-workout and then reassemble that using natural sources.
Why do we take pre-workout supplements? What are the effects we are looking for? The main answers you are going to get to those questions are high energy, focus, and endurance. That’s the point right? To help us have better workouts. So what can we eat or drink that will help fill those needs?
Caffeine: This one is the obvious starting point, as it covers all three of those needs. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and it is hyper-dosed in most pre-workouts. But it’s the easiest thing you could consume naturally to achieve the same desired effect. My go-to in this category is green tea, but the other, most effective caffeine source would be coffee. The optimal “dosage” is about 1.5 cups of coffee, but I feel great with just one cup of coffee or tea. When it is coffee, I take it black (I have no soul).
Protein: More specifically, whey protein, because it is fast absorbing and utilized quickly for your workout. Experts argue about when the best time to drink you protein shake is. My counter? Before AND after. I have two protein shakes per day and this timing ensures it is best utilized. Protein pre-workout is used for fuel because of those building blocks it is made from, AMINO ACIDS! It also increases protein synthesis, which will inhibit muscle breakdown and help with your pump.
Simple Carbohydrates: All of you flexible dieters should already know about this one because you should be planning those simple carbs around your workouts. This should be exciting for the poptart junkies! (myself included..) Simple carbs, sugars, are frowned upon because they are so quickly absorbed by your body and stored as fat if not used. BUT, this is actually a great thing before your workout because when it IS utilized, it’s immediately available fuel for your muscles. The most popular choice here is definitely the poptarts but I also mix in Gatorade and high carb fruits like bananas.
Put it all together: My personal pre-workout usually looks like this:
- A cup of Green Tea
- 1.5 scoops of Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Natural Whey
- 2 Blueberry Poptarts
- 32 Ounces of Gatorade
I know that’s a lot of sugar but I do utilize it and my diet requires almost 600g of carbs per day. The poptarts I’ll actually eat with my pre-workout and the Gatorade I’ll start drinking on the way to the gym and I’ll finish it throughout my workout.
Your pre-workout doesn’t have to, and probably won’t, look anything like mine. But you can take those basic outlines and plug in what you love and what you know works best for you. Use your outlined macros to figure out how much of each you need to best utilize them for a great workout.
If you don’t know your body’s specific macro needs, or have been interested in working with us, you can always contact us at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com
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Until next time,