We hear something from a friend, we adopt it as a rule or decide to try it.
We listen to a podcast and we adopt rules we learned from that and decide to try it.
We read some form of flyer at a clinic or appointment and adopt a rule or two there too.
And worst of all, we see someone’s instagram post and we adopt a rule from there.
The problem with this, is everyone has a different opinion, everyone will tell you something different, and it all get a little overwhelming right? Hard to know what’s right or wrong.. right?
Further to the above, the myth / topic that seems to be highly debated (and one of my most frequently asked questions!)
Should I eat before my workout or complete it fasted?
Let me share my opinion + personal experience.
First, can I start by saying.. with most nutrition topics the answer is always “it depends” – there are pros and cons, and always two sides, especially when it comes to both fasted and fed workouts.
Things that will determine the answer to the above are, you goals, the type of workout, the duration, your genetics, and any underlying health conditions you may have!
However in a nut shall, whether you’re an early riser, an afternoon-er or a night owl, what you eat (or don’t eat) before exercising can have a big impact on your energy levels, your focus, your strength and your performance, in general.⠀
When you exercise, your body uses glycogen as its main source of energy.
When you train fasted, you‘re asking your body to rely on fuel stores for energy. (eg, dinner the night prior)
Your body is put in a catabolic state, breaking down stored glycogen, fat + muscle protein to use for fuel.
Where do you get glucose from? Sweet, glorious, god-blessed carbs. #lol
So, eating carbs pre-workout can help increase our glycogen stores and in turn provide us more sustained energy during our workouts.
If you are doing high intensity exercise (that’s anything you can’t maintain a conversation while doing!) your body needs to use CARBS for fuel to produce ATP (energy) or won’t be able to maintain those high intensities.
Basically, that means if you don’t have some fuel/food in your tank, you won’t perform as well and won’t have as good as a training session
“But I train EARLY!!”… I hear you!! (this is me too!) Some of you might be into fasted training, and that’s OK, too! Some people report better performance first thing on an empty stomach, then refuelling (protein / carbs), afterwards – ultimately it comes down to preference, and, in my case “teaching my body” over time, to digest food that early in the morning.
The perfect pre-workout snack is lower in fibre + crazy on the carbs. We want easy-burning fuel that our bodies can access quickly, and we want to be eating it around 45 minutes before we need it, so we’re not feeling full and heavy when we start moving around. (A banana, a few dates, glass of fruit juice, a slice of toast or a protein ball are great options)
Coffee️ is another popular choice if you need a little pick-me-up and a bit of help with mental alertness. YAS CAFFEINE . There are plenty of supps that can help with this, too, some natural and some synthetic ~ it’s always worth doing your research before starting on any of these and maybe even speaking to your doctor to check for hidden nasties in the product, or sensitivities in yourself! ⠀⠀⠀⠀
Personally, I really love training with coffee + food in the belly, I’ve realised I am SO much stronger and perform better when I’ve eaten well before my session. (Yep, I eat at 4am, when I do a 5am session)
ALSO: If you don’t have a period, are newly returning to exercise after recovery from an eating disorder or are underweight, you should definitely NOT be training fasted…this does so much more harm than good on your body at this point in time. We want to take the stress off your body, not add more stress to it.
ALSO: Does fasted training support weight loss by burning extra calories? No evidence supports this! Lets nip that myth in the toosh.
If you’re not sure what to eat, how much and when, let me know!
This is Fika’s bread and butter.
Food is fuel and I love supporting people to properly care for their engines.⠀⠀⠀⠀