Muscle Building Pre Workout Meal
(Breakfast, starting your day with a training session)
- 120 g millets
- 150 ml almond milk
- 150 ml water
- 2 apples
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 handful almonds
- Maple syrup according to personal taste
- Step 1: Put the millets in a sieve and wash them thoroughly. Then place in a small saucepan with almond milk and water. Bring it to boil, then simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Step 2: In the meantime, cut apples into pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and fry the apples in it with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for a few minutes. Chop the almonds, add and fry them briefly.
- Step 3: Once the millet has completely absorbed the liquid, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Fold in half of the cinnamon apples.
- Step 4: Divide between two bowls and serve with the remaining apples and maple syrup according to personal preference.
Nutrition is complex
Regardless of what goals you want to achieve in your training sessions, nutrition makes a crucial contribution to your personal success.
Do you think a perfect training plan without including your nutrition to it is enough? Not at all. Because what, when and how much you eat is just as important as your training itself. Without the right nutrition, you can lift as many weights or run as many miles, as you want, but you will limit yourself and never reach your maximum individual performance.
Nutrition is complex. Figuring out what to eat before, during and after a workout or training session can be one of the biggest struggles. Especially for muscle building, the right nutrition plan is crucial to reach your desired goal. The now persistent trend of “fasted workouts” (training on an empty stomach) which promises to reach your goals faster can be denied at this point. In a rough form, you can see the body like a car. Cars need gas to drive, which is also the case with the human body, which needs food to perform at its full potential. Regardless of the goal, you should eat before you start a workout.
Importance of the pre workout meal
Although nutrition plays an important role in professional sport, especially in weight training, attention is paid to proper and adequate nutritional intake. In the muscle-building phase, nutrition should be seen as a 24-hour cycle that is divided into different periods. Special importance is given to the pre-workout and post-workout snack or meal. If we focus on pre-workout nutrition, studies have shown that the right amount of food as well as the individual foods are crucial to building the muscle mass you desire. Workouts in muscle building are often strenuous and intense and even if they only consist of 3-4 repetitions per set, the body still needs a lot of energy to perform them. Whether it's for maximal strength training, hypertrophy training, or exercises that go to maximum exhaustion, the body needs to be able to draw on reserves to withstand the load over a long period of time. Although these factors are logically understandable, the meal before training is often neglected.
In summary, pre-workout nutrition is extremely important. But what does it consist of? What foods should I eat and when to eat them to get the best results?
Time to eat before a workout
From a general point of view, the period of 30 minutes to 3 hours is optimal to consume food. At that moment, the body has time to digest the appropriate food until the workout but still has enough energy to provide the maximum performance in the training session. However, it is important to pay attention to the amount of food. It makes little sense to eat a huge meal size 30 minutes before the workout. In addition, the size of the portion must be adjusted individually, because each of us is unique and metabolizes the food differently.
What to eat
The correct macronutrient ratio is key when trying to build up muscles. The ultimate pre- workout meal should contain high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition to those key components, the integration of vitamins and minerals can be an additional benefit for your workout.
Regardless of the period, proteins are needed to support the body during and after exercises and are an important factor when it comes to regeneration. Proteins consist of various essential and semi-essential amino acids and are the foundation for muscle growth. During the pre-workout window, it is best to choose a protein source that has an adequate amount of fast-digesting protein (approximately 20-30 grams). Consuming animal proteins need a longer digestion in general compared to natural products and should therefore be eaten 2-3 hours before you hit the gym to not interrupt your workout flow.
Even though it is often said that carbohydrates are the main catalyst of energy production, proteins are equally important in muscle building.
Complex carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your muscles. Only with a sufficient carbohydrate intake, you can maintain the intensity in your training session (consistent weight increase). If you consume more carbohydrates than you need, your muscles store the remaining sugar in the form of glycogen. During intense workouts in particular, your body can tap into these energy reserves. Whole grains, brown rice or oatmeal are best practices of excellent foods before a workout. Short-chain carbohydrates like clean sugar should be avoided, as they are raising the blood sugar level quickly but lower it again at the same pace.
How much carbohydrates you should consume before your workout depends on several factors like age, body weight or height for example. General recommendations are indicating that the pre-workout meal should contain 20-40% of the total carb intake. Even though carbs are not primarily for building up muscles, they make sure that you have enough energy to consistently perform your workout.
Not as important as proteins or carbs, fats are a good supplement to pay attention to when building up muscles. Plant oils (flax oil, organic coconut oil), fish (cod, salmon), avocado or walnuts are good sources for unsaturated fatty acids that have beneficial characteristics compared to their counterparts (saturated fats).
Concerning the pre-workout meal, fats should also be used in small doses as it delays the food from leaving the stomach and can influence the uptake of nutrients. Fats should rather be present in other meals, which are consumed at different times of the day.
Oats vs Millets
As already mentioned, oats combined with different foods are an ideal meal that can be eaten before a workout. Oats are a great form of carbohydrate, which is incredibly beneficial for preparing our muscles to workout. As oats contain complex carbohydrates they are digested at a slow pace so that you will experience a longer pay off during extended workouts. Beta-glucan fibre is responsible for the slow release and helps to regulate the blood sugar level. In addition to that, oats are a good source of vegetable protein: with 10.7 g protein per 100 g, they are a powerhouse of nutrition. Besides that, oats contain mostly unsaturated fats and essentials fats that support the joints.
Studies have shown that eating oats before a workout is beneficial to enhance the existing performance sustainably.
Eating oats every day might be boring after a certain time. Is there an alternative to this power food? Yes, there is! Millets are an ideal substitute, which have mostly the same characteristics as oats.
With 72 g per 100 g Millets contain more carbohydrates than oats (55 g per 100 g). Further, they have approximately as much protein (11 g per 100 g) as oats but have a lower amount of fat (Millets: 4 g per 100 g; Oats: 7 g per 100 g).
More benefits of Millets are certainly the amount of iron, which is important for blood formation and oxygen transport, but also plays an important role in the ability to regenerate and is also good for the immune system. Magnesium, a mineral that is usually neglected in the average nutrition, is one of the main elements in millets. Especially when doing a lot of sport, magnesium is needed to have a faster recovery. Another important component of millets is silicon, which is helpful when suffering from knee or other joint problems. To conclude the topic, one final interesting aspect is that millets are free of gluten, which is especially important for allergic sufferers.
Pimp your Porridge
Summarizing all the information we can say, that millets are a great alternative when you are tired of eating oats before every workout. Besides millets, “pimp your porridge” contains other foods like apples, almond milk and coconut oil. Apples are a real vitamin bomb and almond milk contains amino acids, which help to build up muscles and tissue. Coconut oil is a good source of unsaturated fat, but should be consumed in limited amounts.
Taking all the ingredients together into one meal this is a perfect alternative for consuming it before a workout and is beneficial for building up muscles.
The Apple is a pome fruit of the domesticated tree Malus domestica (family Rosaceae), one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The classic apple tree originates from Central and Western Asia but today the growing areas are located all over the world in regions wherever there is a temperate climate. After citrus fruits, bananas and grapes, apples are in fourth place in the world production ranking for fruit varieties and are one of the most consumed fruits in the world.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away" - Due to its numerous vitamins and trace elements, this saying is emblematic of the apple. But remember, about 70% of these important nutrients are contained in the skin! The apple consists of 85% water and only has 45 - 60 kilocalories per 100 grams, which contributes significantly to a healthy lifestyle. The pectin contained in the apple lowers cholesterol levels, binds harmful substances and flushes them out again with the bacteria of the colon. In addition, it keeps the blood sugar level constant, so that the feeling of hunger is delayed.
Almond milk is a vegan and plant-based alternative to animal cow's milk. The basis for almond milk are almonds that originate from almond trees, which prefer sunny slopes and are therefore planted mainly in California or Mediterranean areas (France, Spain, Italy). For the production of almond milk, almonds are first roasted and then ground into almond powder. The powder is mixed well with water and the subsequent resting period provides the milk-like consistency.
Almond milk is largely free of potentially allergenic substances. It contains no lactose, no soy proteins, no milk protein and no gluten, which is very beneficial for allergy sufferers. Additionally it is rich in fiber and contains important trace elements such as iron, magnesium or zinc. The amino acids contained, can be optimally absorbed by the body and help to build muscle and tissue.
Substances, such as calcium or vitamin D, are artificially added to almond milk in the manufacturing process. In terms of sustainability, almonds have a very negative eco-balance. Approximately 4 liters of water are required for one mature almond. In addition to this questionable amount, almond trees are grown in regions that are already affected by droughts and water shortages.
Millets are small, round whole grains that belong to the Poaceae family even though they differ in color, appearance and species. They are traditionally grown in India, Nigeria and other Asian and African countries and were long tagged as “poor man’s food grain” due to its sheer affordability. In general there are two broad categories of Millets:
- Naked Grains: just need to be cleaned after they are harvested for human consumption
- Husked Grains: contains an indigestible seed coat so that the husk needs to be removed before eating it
Millets are rich in antioxidants, which prevent the body from oxidative stress. Darker colors contain more antioxidants than their white and yellow counterparts do. Due to the low glycemic index and the richness in fiber and non-starchy polysaccharides, it can help to keep the blood sugar level low. Additionally millets contain essential fats, which helps to prevent excess fat from being deposited over our muscles, which in turn lowers the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Clearly marked as “superfood”, coconut oil is derived from – you guessed it – the flesh of coconuts. With 42% of world exports the Philippines is the major exporter of coconut oil, followed by Indonesia with 28%. Concerning the manufacturing process, coconut oil can be either virgin, refined or partially hydrogenated:
- Virgin: made directly from the white part of the coconut
- Refined: made from dried coconut flesh that is chemically bleached and deodorized
- Partially hydrogenated: refined coconut oil can be further processed and hydrogenated to increase the melting point which makes it suitable to produce snacks for example
Coconut oil contains a large amount of saturated fats that increase HDL (good cholesterol) and makes LDL (bad cholesterol) less harmful. It contains some medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which are short fatty acid chains. MCT´s may reduce hunger and encourage fat burning because short fatty acid chains increase the number of calories the body burns compared to longer chain fatty acids
Even though coconut oil can have many benefits, it contains high doses of fat. With 117 calories and a total fat of 14 grams in one tablespoon, it should only be used in little amounts and in a targeted manner, to prevent the increase of the overall body fat.