Carbs or Proteins: What Should You Eat Before an Intense Workout?
What should you eat for an intense workout? (Photo Credits: Pexels)

The big question many of us ask ourselves before a workout is 'What to eat'. Many wonder what can help you efficiently carry out their workout session. There seems to be a confusion between the application of protein and carbohydrates for our body. Let us clear all our misconception related to the pre-workout meal and explore the best food, which can make your workout intense and healthy. Carb Loading: What are The Benefits of Increasing Carbohydrate Intake and How to Do It.

We must always ensure that we prepare our body in such a way that we don't get the feeling of sluggishness and tiredness during our workout session. The diet which we take prior to our workout plays a crucial role in deciding the intensity of the workout. Many people, nowadays, tend to be on a low-carb diet and follow the popular Keto diet, which is the buzz these days. There's nothing wrong in adopting a ketogenic diet. But the disadvantage associated with it is that it can ruin your workout session and may pull you back from developing strength as Keto food is linked with less carb and a high percentage of good fat.

What should you eat pre-workout?

You should include complex and starch carbs before your workout session. But make sure that you give a gap of at least 60 minutes between eating and starting your exercising session. Also, take carbs which are easily digestible, so that you don't feel heavy during your workout. The amount of glycogen stored in your liver and muscles depends upon your carb intake. Our body converts this glycogen into glucose which acts as a primary fuel for our workout. A vigorous strength training session lasts more than 60 minutes and our body should only use the glycogen to generate energy.

If our body has inadequate glycogen for a workout, it will burn our fat to generate energy, which will make us slow and tired in the middle of our workout. This is because the rate at which fat burns down is slow as compared to carbohydrates.

Popular fitness trainer Simran Khosla, in her post on Instagram, talks about strength training, where she states that carbohydrates are the best fuel for the workout because they efficiently use the oxygen. She also throws light on her statement by saying that carbs utilise less oxygen for every kilocalorie of energy produced when compared to protein or fat.

Healthy carbs which you must take before your workout session are sweet potatoes, potatoes, nuts, whole grains, whole fruits, legumes and quinoa. Carbohydrate foods which you must avoid are pasta, fruit juices, aerated drinks, white bread, fried foods and sugary foods.

What is the role of protein?

Protein helps in repairing your muscles after the workout. It must compulsorily be taken post workout to keep our body in the anabolic state. Protein intake helps in hypertrophy. When we exercise, our myocytes- type of cell found in muscle tissue - breaks down, which should be repaired by giving our body adequate sleep and consuming sufficient proteins. Therefore, protein should always be taken post workout for muscle gain.

We hope this clears your confusion related to the pre-workout meal. You can now easily figure out the best food for you before starting your workout session. It is essential to know the role of each macro-nutrient - carb, protein and fat - for our body. Always consult your dietitian before you chose any diet or food eating practice, because they know what best will suit your body.

(This article is written for an informative purpose and should not be substituted for medical advice. Kindly consult your doctor before trying any tips.)