Pre-Workout Nutrition is a tricky subject. It can be further complicated if your goal is to reduce fat. From previous articles we all know that lifting weights for weight loss is a recipe for success but if you are lifting weights and trying to lose weight what should you eat? You have probably also heard that working out on an empty stomach helps to increase the rate of fat loss. So if lifting weights is good for losing weight, and working out on an empty stomach is good for fat loss it would stand to reason that you should lift weights on an empty stomach. Not quite so easy, let me explain.
Pre-Workout Nutrition and Lifting on an Empty Stomach When you lift weights what you are doing is breaking down your muscles so that they can repair themselves bigger and stronger for the next workout. In order to do this your body requires protein to repair the damaged muscles and to give them strength during the workout. So protein is very important for pre-workout nutrition. That is different than how your body uses carbs. Your body uses carbs for energy. When you run out of carbs your body taps into its carbohydrate reserves called muscle glycogen. As your body depletes its glycogen supplies fat burning increases. This is not a pleasant state for your body so working out without carbs will leave you feeling wiped out and weak. After a week or two you will adjust to this condition and be okay so push through it. So the best way to approach weight lifting on an empty stomach is to consume about 20 grams of whey protein prior to your workout, train hard then replenish your body with some quality protein and carbs.
The best time for cardio and weight lifting. The best time to do cardio is in the morning after your all night fasting. So for proper pre-workout nutrition you can wake up, consume a whey protein shake and then hit the gym for some weight lifting and/or cardio. The best time to lift weights is mid-afternoon or evening when your body is strongest. That is not to say you can't lift weights in the morning as part of your workout just strictly taking about the best time to lift. If you follow the other advice on this site you will be doing full body workouts immediately followed by cardio so you end up with a schedule that looks something like this.
- Wake up
- Consume whey protein
- Do full body weight lifting routine
- Do 15-30 minutes of cardio
- Consume quality protein and carbs
- Enjoy rest of day eating about 4 more times every 3 hours