Do different types of fuel effect suit specific types of training?

Do different types of fuel effect suit specific types of training?

The consumption of fuel prior to training has been researched to be beneficial (within reason), but, does this apply to all forms of training? You may have heard of the classic fasted cardio, fasted general training, consumption of differing nutrients around your training etc.

But, are their specific types of fuel that may benefit us of large in our different styles of training? 

Majority of studies show that the consumption of carbohydrates prior to training is beneficial to training performance as carbohydrates are our primary source of energy. Depletion of carbohydrates before training generally forces our bodies to go to our reserve tanks for energy/fuel during training-this energy that our body finds is usually our fat stores. Not to say this isn’t ‘ideal’ for some (dependant on your goals) but it can run us dry, and result in side effects such as: tiredness, moodiness, excessive hunger (which can lead to over-consumption), loss of essential nutrients, low energy etc.

So, to ensure we are well fuelled before, during and after training, it is important to be prepared and know when and what you are going to consume around training so we don’t experience these challenges/side effects.

If you are someone who trains early in the morning, and are doing so fasted, this is completely fine (I am not implying fasted cardio = burn more calories, to be honest, it doesn’t), but, you must be prepared and organised to fuel your body after your morning session, at least 1 hour post training. This is to ensure your energy requirements are met and refuelled relatively soon after training, in order to give your body, the nutrients and energy to recover and get through the day!

Quick note on fasted cardio if you’re wondering why it doesn’t necessarily burn more calories-the benefits of it are generally that it has been a training style known to actively use fat stores for energy, rather than your carbohydrates stores, as these are relatively depleted first thing in the morning-so fasted cardio will commonly burn more fat-which can result in fat loss when done consistently and correctly!

Now, touching on high intensity training and fuelling your body around this type of energy output. Again, depending on the time of day and your lifestyle, everyone will be different to when, how and what they consume, but in terms of high intensity, as it puts our bodies into an over-drive state for an extended period of time with a consistently elevated heart rate, I will usually recommend having something small before performing this type of exercise. This can be as simple as a protein bar, piece of fruit, yoghurt etc, nothing heavy, just something to give your body a little kick before HIIT.

Weight-based training-I definitely encourage and push to consume carbohydrates around this type of training. Reason being, it puts our muscles under a lot of load and tension as it usually requires a lot of muscular strength (depending on the type of weight based training, but more usually than not). This is dependant on when you train ‘weights’ or ‘strength’ but, if it is anywhere around midday, I would recommend a small meal beforehand (could be something as simple as hardcore chicken and sweet potato from GMD) to something a bit more carbohydrate and energy dense POST training – something like chilli con carn from GMD!

 Basically, ensuring you are well fuelled around your training sessions is always optimal. You will understand how these differing types of fuel will affect your performance when you go without or if you are consuming possibly something a little less preferable to your bodies requirements. Consuming carbohydrates around your strength training will ensure optimal recovery to the muscles, and consuming a smaller snack type of food around shorter, harder bursts of training is optimal to give your body an extra kick of energy to again, perform optimally.

Trial and error is always a good way to start to allow yourself to feel the effects of different foods during and after training. Everyone is different and will always require slightly diverse foods to fuel their bodies, but a start point are the above points I have made, nonetheless!


- Bec B

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