Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Should you eat carbohydrates before exercise?

Carbohydrates have the reputation as energy foods. Therefore it would seem sensible to have them before a workout to boost performance. However, what most people don't realise is that carbohydrates also promote the release of seretonin. Seretonin acts as a relaxant, which is why you often feel tired after a big carb-based meal.

Everyone is different in regards to what works for them before an exercise session. I look to keep my blood sugar levels steady. There is nothing worse than not having enough energy for the workout itself. It's very important you plan ahead with a meal/snack in advance to make the session productive.

To keep my blood sugar levels steady, I tend to include protein and good fats. These allow a slow release of energy. I like a meal of oily fish and avacado about 90-120 minutes beforehand. If I were to snack just before the workout a good source of slow release fats are nuts.

If you need carbs to function, simply try adding some protein in to the meal. This will slow down the absorbtion of carbs and should allow for a more sustained release of energy.

Instead of 2 slices of toast, why not have 1 slice with an egg or add on some cashew/almond spread to boost protein.

Rather than a large jacket potato on its own, add some fish or meat and reduce the size of the potato.

Try some different combinations of meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, nuts, avacado before a workout and see how you feel. If you are struggling without the carbs, combine the above with some slow release carbs e.g. brown rice, sweet potato, wholemeal bread etc. Avoid white variations!


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