Spend enough time asking professional runners, cyclist, yoga instructors and swimmers about nutrition, and they’ll hammer you with the importance of the “Metabolic Window”. The Metabolic Window is the 30--60 minute period immediately following your workout, in which nutrition can shift the body from a catabolic state to anabolic one. Meaning your muscles are particularly primed during this period for increased protein synthesis and recovery. So what you eat and when you eat it, plays a huge role in becoming more defined and lean. However, the absorption rate of food varies depending on its macronutrient content. High-glycemic sugars like fruit, rice, and white bread take 15 minutes to hit your blood stream, while proteins like chicken breast, fish and eggs take 2-3 hours, and fats can take-up to 7-8 hours. Since the Metabolic Window is so small and digesting anything more than simple sugar takes a considerable amount of time, it’s important to incorporate a pre-workout nutrition regimen into your routine. A good pre-workout meal is probably the most important, yet over-looked aspect of gaining lean mass. While the vast majority of gym-goers and fitness enthusiast spend little time considering what they eat before exercising, if you analyze the daily routines of professional athletes and figure models, you’ll notice that they put just as much thought, if not more, into their pre-workout meal than their post-workout meal.Prevent Pre-Workout Hunger With These 4 Foods Here is a list of 4 foods that will prevent pre-workout hunger and help you reach your goals faster. Rolled Oats (a.k.a. Oatmeal) Oatmeal is a great, low-glycemic carbohydrate that gets absorbed slower than most other carbohydrates. This prevents a huge spike in blood sugar for more sustained energy throughout the morning. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal are important, particularly right when you wake-up, because they’re converted to glycogen and stored in your muscles as energy. Muscle glycogen is the fuel that your muscles use during exercise, and by eating oatmeal, you increase the amount of time it takes to reach exhaustion during exercise. So instead of working out first and eating second, it’s important to have some form of carbohydrate early in the day. Since Oatmeal is a slow-digesting carb, it’s best to consume it 1-2 hours before exercise. Fruit Fruit is higher on the glycemic index than oatmeal, which means it has more of a dramatic effect on blood sugar and is absorbed faster. Therefore, if you’re an early morning riser with a short amount of time between waking-up and working out, fruit is one of your best options for a pre-work out snack. That fast absorption rate means you can eat fruit 45-60 minutes before exercising and be ready to go. Bananas are particularly beneficial because they contain potassium which plays a huge role in muscle recovery. Candy Yes, for the first time in the history of health blogs, you’re being told to eat candy. As mentioned above, simple sugars (like those found in candy) are the most readily absorbed by the body. It only takes a few minutes for them to enter your bloodstream and spike your blood sugar through the roof. Now, in most instances, you want to avoid blood sugar spikes like the plague, however prior to working out, this spike in blood sugar will create a highly efficient vacuum that will feed your glycogen stores for faster recovery. Particularly for those interested in becoming more toned, this is one of the most effective training methods you can incorporate. But there are a few rules: 1. No high-fructose corn syrup or other inflammation-causing-artificial-sweeteners. These can actually reverse the progress you make at the gym. SPOILER ALERT: Most popular candy products contain high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweetners, so grabbing a Snickers before hitting the gym is a big NO-NO! 2. Only consume 50-70 grams of carbohydrates from candy. That’s 200-280 calories from sugar alone, so check the nutrition label. Any more than that and you run the risk of spiking your blood sugar too much and crashing in the middle of your workout. Since simple sugar has such a fast absorption rate, candy should be consumed 15-30 minutes prior to exercise. Whey Protein Whey has been a staple of exercise recovery for years, and the reason it’s more popular than other protein sources is because it has an incredibly fast absorption rate. If you remember form our conversation above, protein typically takes a few hours to fully digest. Whey, however, creates a similar spike in blood sugar as sugar does, allowing it to be processed by your body much faster. However, consuming a protein shake prior to working out as opposed to after can significantly enhance your workout. For starters, pre-workout protein consumption increases amino acid delivery and uptake to the muscles as you exercise. The whole point of working out is to breakdown your muscles so that your body rebuilds them stronger than before. The amount of amino acids in your blood (the building blocks of proteins) during exercise actually determines the degree to which your body adapts to exercise. So while I tend to stay away from recommending supplements, whey protein is the exception.Say "No" To Fat! You’ll notice that fat isn’t given much love in the pre and post workout arena. That’s because of how long it takes our body to digest fat. Those on high fat diets run the risk of losing muscle mass if they don’t incorporate enough protein and carbohydrates into their diet. Not to mention that supplementing with protein and carbs pre-workout increases the concentration of growth hormone, IGF-1 (Insulin like growth factor), and decreases the amount of lactate in your muscles, (that burning sensation that you feel when lifting weights). So if you’re looking to take your work-outs to the next level, develop a pre-workout routine that incorporates fast digesting carbs and proteins to reach your goals faster.