Thursday, August 25, 2011

“I can’t eat THAT early…”

Mixed reviews on eating before an early workout session have been surfacing for quite some time now. In fact, I had the same mentality a while back of working out so early and not eating before the session. I didn’t want to work out while having food in my stomach. Pretty much negating all I was working for.

We have to fuel for our goal. If your goal is muscle building = more calories, testosterone, and volume. If your goal is weight loss = cardio, strength training, and a healthy, balanced, and clean diet. However, regardless of our goals, if we have no fuel in the tank, we use up our glycogen and then the body turns to protein for fuel, leading to muscle degradation. We would be ALL MUSCLE if we could tell our body what to use for fuel! We can "teach" our bodies to be more efficient utilizing one source to another, but we can't pick and choose one source to burn. How cool would THAT be, though? This has always been a favorite word of mine – gluconeogenesis. This is the process where our body synthesizes glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, which is what happens when we do not fuel before a workout. This is NOT the preferred state our body wants to be in with unappealing side effects (this is what happens to an individual on the Akins Diet).
Also, when fuel runs out, we enter a state of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which signals a stress response in the body and cortisol is released. Cortisol is catabolic in nature and works against us.
No fuel = No start.

In terms of per-exercise nutrient intake, aim for 30-60 grams of quick carbs that are low in fat and low in fiber (banana, 1 cup of low-fat milk, medium bagel) and 10-30 grams of high quality protein (eggs, whey, plant-based). This should be consumed 30-60 minutes before the exercise session. Be sure to intake adequate fluid throughout the day, as well, roughly half our body weight in fluid ounces.

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