Exercise, when done properly is aimed at making progress. No matter if you are a lady who wants to shrink her waistline, or a guy who want’s to run faster or jump higher, training requires constant progress. You need to rest less, lift more or move faster!
Such training will take effort and energy. And it will need to be properly fueled.
There is a myth that carbohydrates are the best source of energy for training.
It’s true that carbohydrates are a large source of energy for your body, but that is because most people are saturated with refined carbohydrates and their bodies are desperately trying to burn them off so they don’t raise blood sugar to unhealthy levels.
There are some problems with using carbohydrates as a main source of energy.
1. You feel sleepy when you eat carbs. This is bad for training motivation and productivity at work.
2. You can’t burn fat when you are stuffed with carbs. Your body will use the carbs before touching your fat stores (which most people desperately want to burn!)
3. Refined carbs (white rice, all bread, chips, cakes etc) are a health problem causing diabetes, bad blood health, and even damage to DNA via glycation (making your cells sticky and unusable) and oxidation (rusting).
But why do most people recommend high carbohydrate pre-workout foods?
The myth starts from advice given by long distance athletes. This advice is given by world class long distance athletes. These guys are usually naturally thin — more suitable for their sport, and they also train for many hours a week. High carb diets work well for them.
Unless you are naturally veiny and lean AND you do lots of long distance activity this high carb pre-workout food is not the best idea for you.
Here is what works better.
1. Get “fat adapted”. That means, make your body prefer fat as a fuel instead of carbohydrates. To do this, cut down on carbs for at least 10 days. This forces your body to burn fat for fuel — the right kind of fuel (and we all have plenty of it!). To make up for the lowered carbohydrate intake, replace them with healthy fats like nuts, unprocessed animal fat, fish oil, butter and coconut oil.
2. Fuel workouts with healthy fats. A great fat for workouts is coconut oil. Once you are fat adapted, your body will love coconut oil as a pre-workout food. You can also take a protein + fat meal about 1-2 hours pre-workout. I like meat plus a handful of nuts. Remember this only works once you are fat adapted.
3. Eat your carbohydrates AFTER training. A sweet potato or a bowl of brown rice is a good choice. Carbs after training have the function of restoring muscle energy, as well as lowering stress levels which leads to better recovery. (This is why people eat cookies and cakes when they feel stressed, and is one of the reasons stress makes us fat)
There we have it! Some tips to fuel great workouts and get great results.