Fueling Fat Loss & Performance

Fueling Fat Loss & Performance The old school approach to cardio for cutting was to run on an empty stomach. Supposedly, running in the morning without eating breakfast forced your body to burn fat in the absence of carbohydrates. A study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal showed the opposite was true, due to the influence of hormone and enzyme activities. Researchers gave trained endurance athletes carbs or a placebo before exercise and found rates of fat burning to be identical. Only low-intensity effort lasting longer than 90 minutes burned more fat on an empty stomach.

Here's something else to consider. A summary of research printed in the NSCA's Performance Training Journal found that the fat you burn during exercise isn't as important as the long-term fat burning effects of exercise. Blood flow to fat tissue is reduced more during intense exercise. So moderate intensity exercise can burn more fat while you're working out. But people who exercise with intensity burn more fat over the long-term.

Now that you've made the decision to eat before exercise, think abut what you'll eat. Researchers found that runners who consumed lentils, a low-glycemic index (GI) bean, before endurance training had more capacity than runners who consumed high-GI white potatoes. But if you're among those athletes who like to load up on carbs before running, sprinters and even milers should know that carb loading is only effective for activities lasting longer than 90 minutes.

True Strength Moment: In addition to weighing what you should eat, when fueling up for a weight loss workout or performance training be sure to leave enough time for your meal to digest. We're all a little different, physiologically speaking, so one athlete's small meal 30-minutes before training might not produce the same results in someone who prefers a larger meal 2 or 3 hours before hitting the gym. Experiment with different foods and amounts of food to determine the best way to fuel your goals.
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