How to Fuel Up for your Workout


If the weights ever feel heavy after your warmup sets, or you find yourself coming out of the gate too hard during the WOD, you’re not alone. Rather than crumple into a pile of gasps and sweat, maybe you should consider fueling up DURING your workout. 

We all know how important fuel is to building muscle. The right nutrition can heavily impact your path towards your goals, both negatively or positively. In this article, we’ll talk about the right way to approach your workout nutrition, depending on your fitness goals.

The body needs carbohydrates, proteins and fats in order to function. The body will use whatever fuel is available to keep functioning and get you through your workouts.

As we talk about what to sip on during your workout, your goals on how and what you want your body to use as fuel is important. But before we dive into some ideas to help you towards your goals, be sure you’re getting your nutrition on track overall.  Otherwise, getting into the specifics won’t really help you. Getting your nutrition right around your workouts has to be your first priority. If you’re not already eating well around your workouts, focus on the basics first before incorporating intra workout nutrition.

If performance or building muscle is your priority, this one’s for you.

In order to build muscle, your body needs enough calories for all of its normal daily functions, and then some. For those interested in building muscle, incorporating carbohydrates and protein during your workouts will ensure your body isn’t breaking down your valuable muscle to keep your workouts fueled.

Powders that are easily digestible will be easiest to take during your training sessions. There are many supplements out there with simple carbohydrates and protein.

For protein sources, look for whey protein isolates or hydroslates or even a high quality branched chain amino acids (BCAA) powder. Pair this with an easily digested carbohydrate source such as dextrose, maltodextrin, or glucose. A good rule of thumb is 30 grams of carbs per hour while strength training and 5-10 grams of protein or bcaa’s. Do your homework, stick to clean ingredients and avoid anything you can’t understand. If it sounds like a chemical, it probably is.

If your primary goal is to lose fat, and hopefully maintain the muscle mass you’ve got, your best bet is going to be to sip on BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during your workout. You want your primary fuel source to come from your fat stores, so adding a simple carbohydrate supplement won’t benefit you until you’ve lost the fat you’re looking to lose.

Taking BCAAs helps your body use those easily digested proteins for fuel before breaking down your muscles. Fat is hard to utilize during your workouts, so your body will have a tendency to try to break down what’s readily available, which in this case are your muscles.

Please don’t try to guzzle a shake before you jump into Fran or another high intensity metcon, either.  That will have you running to the bathroom. Your may become extremely nauseous since the body is trying to push fresh blood flow to your working muscles and can’t effectively digest at the same time.

Instead, sip on your shake during your power lifts and Olympic lifts then finish it off AFTER the metcon. 

Above all, always sip on water throughout your workouts and get real about the kind of work you’re doing. Giving your body what it needs to perform is essential to your goals. Be smart and do what’s right for you!

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