In this three-part series we’re going to look at exactly what you should be eating and drinking before, during, and after your workouts to ensure the utmost in training performance, recovery, and overall progress.

We’re going to utilize foods and supplements in an intelligently timed manner to illicit the greatest response in terms of protein synthesis and insulin secretion as this is what will maximize your gains over time.

60 – 90 Minutes Pre-Workout

This is the point at which you’ll want to start eating your pre-workout meal, but the exact timing will depend on your own digestion; some people prefer to eat 30 minutes before training while others need a full two hours to avoid discomfort caused by a full stomach.

In this meal you’ll want to include some complex carbohydrates, easily digested protein, and a small amount of fat to slow digestion and keep your blood sugar levels stable while you train.

A personal favorite of this author is ½ – 1 cup of oatmeal with 2 scoops of chocolate-flavored whey protein powder mixed in and of course a dollop of natural peanut or almond butter as the fat source – delicious and exactly the nutrients we’re looking for.

The goal here is to supply your body with carbs and proteins with foods that you tolerate well, so if you would prefer something like Ezekiel bread with a dab of grass-fed butter or some brown rice and extra virgin olive oil then this is also acceptable.

10 Minutes Pre-Workout

The timing here doesn’t need to be exact but you’ll want to start sipping on your intra-workout drink on your way to the gym or while you’re stashing your clothes away in the changing rooms.

We will be taking a close look at what to include in your intra-workout drink in part two of this series but if you choose not to use an intra-workout drink then it would be wise to at least use some form of supplementation before you train.

In its most basic form, this could be a simple 5 – 10g dose of BCAA to stimulate protein synthesis and reduce the potential catabolic effects of hard training.

If you would prefer to use a pre-workout formula then ensure you opt for one that contains ingredients such as creatine monohydrate (or ethyl ester), citrulline malate, and beta alanine. Having said this, BCAA is the most important ingredient at this stage.

It’s Time to Rock and Roll!

Now it’s time to hit the weight room and do some serious damage.

If you’re really looking to up your training intensity and / or volume then you would be very wise to use an intra-workout drink with fast-digesting carbs, free form amino acids, and perhaps one or two other ergogenic products.

In part two of this series we’re going to look at exactly what to include in your intra-workout drink to take your training to new heights.

SEE ALSO: Peri-Workout Protocol Part 2: Intra-Workout Nutrition