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The Best Pre-Workout Meals for Focus and Strength

bear with salmon
Mmm…some tasty salmon

If you are struggling to make it through your workouts and you feel low on energy, make sure your pre-workout meal is setting you up for success.  Here are three rules to follow to make sure you are getting the most out of your pre-workout meal:

1. Choose a high quality source of protein
Having a high quality protein source in your pre-workout meal is essential for a great workout. The amino acids that your body gets from the protein are used to synthesize neurotransmitters such as dopamine and acetylcholine which improve energy, focus, and attention span.  Some excellent choices are grass-fed beef or lamb, eggs, duck, buffalo, salmon, sardines, and shellfish.

2. Eat the right fats
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids contain DHA which is an important nutrient for the brain.

Getting sufficient amounts of DHA in your pre-workout meal may improve your mental focus as you prepare for your workout.  Having enough fat in your pre-workout meal is also beneficial for regulating your blood sugar so that your energy levels are even throughout the workout.  In addition to the animal proteins listed above, foods such as avocados, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are good sources of fat.

3.  Eat nutrient dense, low glycemic-load carbs
Some people mistakenly load up on high carbohydrate foods such as oatmeal or rice before workouts, but these are actually more beneficial for replenishing glycogen 
after a workout.  Instead, low glycemic-load carbs like berries and leafy greens are ideal choices.  Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and greens including kale, collard greens, and spinach all provide a wide array of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and the greens have the added benefit of alkalizing the body which can improve your rate of recovery during your workout.

Give yourself about an hour to digest before working out.  If you are a bit short on time, fish tends to be quicker digesting than other meats.  Below are a couple of sample meals:

Steak Salad:
6oz-16 oz sliced grass-fed steak (skirt, filet, ribeye, flank)
1 avocado
Romaine lettuce
Sliced Tomato
Diced red onion
Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

Salmon with Fruit Salad:
Salmon filet (baked, steamed, or pan fried)
1c blueberries, 1c raspberries, and cubed cantaloupe combined in a bowl

Happy eating!

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