Contrary to what people may think, not all fuel is created equal. Although a calorie provides the same amount of energy no matter where it comes from, choosing the right fuel can make all the difference to your training. Depending on your training goal, you may way to adjust your food intake to match performance goals.
What Is The Right Fuel?
Depending on the type of activity your doing, your body needs a different fuels to perform at its best. Choosing the right fuel can make all the difference. Following on from the articles over the past few weeks, strength training requires different fuel for optimal performance than endurance.
Training for strength, which is primarily a neural activity, doesn’t require loads of carbohydrates to get the job done. Where most people equate strength training with carbs, they’d actually do better having a higher fat meal to fuel their strength work. So save the carbs to after your workouts or later in the day.
However, if you’re training for endurance, you’re probably familiar with the term carb loading. Where endurance training is an activity that uses more carbs for fuel, it makes sense to have more of them to fuel that training. Even though carb loading has been the standard for some time, there are merits to the high fat approach too.
When choosing the right fuel for your workouts, think back to the article on energy systems and what fuels each type of training use. Then pick the appropriate fuel to get the job done; simple right?
Don’t Care About Performance? Be Flexible!
Performance training isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you just want to look great, so how can this help you? Even though optimising your performance in the gym will inadvertently lead to a better looking physique, there is a more direct way to go about it. That more direct way is called Metabolic Flexibility.
Metabolic Flexibility is the body’s ability to make what whatever fuel is most abundant the primary fuel used for energy. Meaning if you eat more fat your body will burn more fat and if you eat more carbs your body will burn more glucose. A great way to set yourself up to have a fat burning day is to start your day with a high fat breakfast.
Having a high fat breakfast means that you’ll burn fat as your main energy source for most of the day. And saving your carbs for dinner means that you only refuel the glucose that you used during the course of the day. This is of course the most simplistic version of metabolic flexibility and it can be manipulated for faster results. But that’s a more advanced topic for a future article.
Of course, sometimes we don’t care about these things and just want pancaked for breakfast. In which case, just go for it. Life’s too short to not treat yourself once in a while. As long as you don’t sideline your goals and are working towards them most of the time.