Staying active is an essential step to staying healthy at every stage of life. Anything that keeps your body moving and speeds up your breath and heart rate is considered a form of exercise or workout (1).
If you’re looking to start a workout regime or are in the middle of improving your current one, a couple of ways to amp up your workout experience includes planning ahead, and consuming a pre-workout meal. Let’s take a closer look at how you can go about this.
Working out for good health
A good workout plan can help you direct your energy toward your fitness goals. There are certain types of exercises you can explore as you build the right plan for yourself:
- Aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling, or running, helps in cardiovascular conditioning and helps to minimise the risk of many diseases. It improves lung function, helps control blood sugar, and lowers our blood pressure (2).
- Resistance exercise, such as using free weights and weight machines, and exercising with your own body weight, increases muscle strength, joint function and bone density (3).
- Stretching exercises, which can be static or dynamic stretching, engage your body’s full length and are an integral part of a well-rounded fitness routine. Stretching is required before and after exercise as it gets the body ready for strenuous action (4).
A well-balanced workout routine is a healthy combination of these exercises. Incorporating different kinds of exercises that target different parts of your body can help ensure your workouts are engaging, safe and effective (5). In addition, working out can be done at home, in designated workout places such as outdoor activity areas and gyms, without the need for fancy equipment.
Your body needs the right amount of energy to execute your workout plan well. Following this, a well-timed and tailored pre-workout plan can boost your fitness routine exponentially (6). Read on to find out how you can start planning your own pre-workout routine.
Pre-workout and you
Nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand. What and when you eat can significantly affect your workout experience (6). Fueling and hydrating your body throughout exercise will help you maximise the session—a pre-workout meal helps provide the energy your body needs for the workout, and post-workout meal helps your body recover (7).
Getting your pre-workout nutrition plans wrong can lead to the following issues:
- Experience fatigue earlier,
- Reduced speed during workouts,
- Reduced endurance, and
- Decreased concentration and decision-making skills (8)
It’s essential to load up with a healthy but reasonably-sized meal before a workout. Here are some tips on how to maximise your workouts with good food and nutrition:
- Eat a well-balanced meal two to three hours before your workout. It is important to give your body time to digest your meal before working out9.
- If your schedule doesn’t permit eating a few hours before working out, portioning your meals and snacking can help. Depending on the intensity of your workout, healthy snacks like a banana, some nuts and seeds, a smoothie or a low-sugar granola bar can help boost your energy before a workout (7).
- Hydration is just as important as eating. Drinking water is the best way to replace the fluids your body loses when exercising. Drinking low sugar coconut water or water with a pinch of Himalayan salt can also help maintain the electrolytes that your body needs to keep moving (7).
Loading your body up with the right vitamins and minerals can be a big help in maximising your fitness routine too.
Vitamins and minerals for pre-workout
Aside from healthy and well-balanced meals, vitamin supplements that are tailored to your needs can help boost your energy for exercise. Here are some vitamins and minerals you can consider adding to your supplementation plan for an added energy boost for your workouts:
Iron is a part of hundreds of proteins and enzymes that are essential components of biological functions such as oxygen transport, energy production, and DNA synthesis (10). Taking iron supplements for an energy boost can help maintain and support energy production, perfect for your pre-workout needs.
*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine system of India. Traditionally, Ashwagandha has been used to promote energy levels, as it has mild anxiety-reducing effects that can help improve energy levels and promote overall health (11).
Magnesium is a mineral that is naturally present in our bodies. It is essential in many enzyme systems in our body that are responsible for the growth and production of energy (12). Adding magnesium supplements to your body can also help you support your pre-workout nutrition needs.
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex is a group of eight water-soluble vitamins essential for various processes in the body involving metabolism. The body lacks energy without B group vitamins as they are needed to use the energy-yielding nutrients in our body (13). You can choose to support your energy levels for your pre-workout needs with vitamin B complex supplements.
Acetyl L-carnitine can be found in nearly every cell in our bodies and plays an important role in energy production. It transports the necessary fatty acids to the mitochondria to produce energy and is concentrated in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscles (14) necessary for exercise.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is involved in many metabolic functions in the body (15). So while our body can produce vitamin C, if you feel like you need an energy boost, supplementation can help support energy production (16).
Vitamin B12 is involved in many functions of the body, including the processing of food to energy (17). Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin and is part of transforming fatty acids into energy (16) that can help provide a boost for your workout routine. Consider maintaining your pre-workout energy levels with Vitamin B12 supplements.
Maintaining a healthy diet is necessary for planning your pre-workout routines, which can help maximise your fitness and provide you with life-long health benefits. Staying active can be fun and healthy if you have more time to focus on what works best for you. Try to achieve this by planning your pre-workout nutrition with the best vitamins supplements for your energy needs.
Vitable offers a daily vitamin subscription that can be delivered right to your doorstep. Our vitamin delivery service contains multivitamin packs that are personalised for your pre-workout needs and beyond.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Australian Government Department of Health Content Team. “About physical activity and exercise”. Australian Government Department of Health: Health.Gov.Au. Published May 6, 2021 on https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/about-physical-activity-and-exercise. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Cleveland Clinic Content Team. “Aerobic Exercise”. Cleveland Clinic: My.ClevelandClinic.Org. Published July 16, 2019 on https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7050-aerobic-exercise. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Better Health Channel Content Team. “Resistance Training - Health Benefits”. Better Health Channel: Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published August 26, 2018 on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits /. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Karungi, Z. “Stretch your way to fitness”. Fitness Australia: Fitness.Org.Au. Published August 21, 2018 on https://fitness.org.au/articles/most-recent/stretch-your-way-to-fitness/50/1552/184. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Mayo Health Clinic Content Team. “Fitness Training: Elements of a well-rounded routine”. Mayo Health Clinic: MayoClinic.Org. Published September 22, 2020 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness-training/art-20044792. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Mayo Health Clinic Content Team. “Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts”. Mayo Health Clinic: MayoClinic.Org. Published October 17, 2019 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045506. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Cleveland Clinic Content Team. “Should You Eat Before or After a Workout?” Cleveland Clinic: Health.CleavelandClinic.Org. Published September 30, 2021 on https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-to-eat-before-and-after-a-workout/. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Purcell, L. “Sport nutrition for young athletes. Paediatrics & Child Health”. National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published April 18, 2013 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805623/. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Mohr, C. “Timing Your Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition”. Academy of Nutrition and Dietics: Nrv.Gov.Au. Nih.Gov. Published April 9, 2014 on https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center Content Team. “Iron”. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Lpi.OregonState.Edu. Published June 5, 2016 on https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iron. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. “An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda”. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Nih.Gov. Published July 3, 2011 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Nutrients Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Content Team. “Magnesium”. Ministry of Health, Nutrients Reference Values: Nrv.Gov.Au. Nih.Gov. Published April 9, 2014 on https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Better Health Content Team. “Vitamin B - Better Health Channel”. Better Health Channel: BetterHealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published May 14, 2020 on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-b#vitamin-b-supplements. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements Content Team. “Carnitine”. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Ods.Od.Nih.Gov. Published March 29 2021 on https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Content Team. “Vitamin C”. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand: Nrv.Gov.Au. Published January 3, 2017 on https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-c. Accessed November 20, 2021
- Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., & Scholey, A. “Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence”. National Library of Medicine: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published January 12, 2020 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019700/. Accessed November 20, 2021.
- National Health Service Content Team. “B vitamins and folic acid”. National Health Service: Nhs.Uk. Published August 3, 2020 on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/. Accessed November 20, 2021.