On days you’ve signed up for your favorite spin class, should you consume more protein or carbohydrates? If you’re headed out for a run in between your spin workouts, are sports drink a good idea? Read on to find the answers to four common questions about how to fuel your workouts…both in and out of the saddle!
Will Extra Protein Make My Muscles Grow?
Protein is a key component for any healthy diet, but it’s important to understand that more protein doesn’t make you strong unless you put your muscles to work. Eating enough calories to build mass is required, and it’s important to note that you can get enough protein from food alone and do not need a supplement. Carbohydrates are needed, too, as they are the major fuel for muscles. Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, which helps muscles power your workouts.
Do Sports Drinks, Gels and Energy Bites Really Help?
There are numerous sports drinks, gels, protein bars and bites on the market, and it’s hard to understand all of them or what they are used for. It is important to replace lost fluids from a challenging spin class, and it’s important to consume carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose levels for workouts lasting over an hour, such as your longer runs while training for a race. But for some people, it’s too difficult to eat solid food in the middle of a workout. If this is the case, gels, chews or drinks may help. Just be sure to consider the duration and intensity of the workout.
Is It Best to Work Out on an Empty Stomach?
Your body needs fuel to function, especially if you’re heading out for a run, swimming laps, or lifting heavy weights. Don’t skip breakfast before a morning workout. Eating before exercise, as opposed to exercising in the fasted state, has been shown to improve exercise performance.
Eating in the morning helps replenish liver glycogen and steadies blood sugar levels. If it’s hard to stomach solid food first thing in the morning, try a fruit smoothie, and don’t forget to hydrate before, during, and after you exercise.
Does Regular Exercise Mean I Can Eat What I Want and Not Gain Weight?
Nope! Working out doesn’t give you the right to abandon portion sizes and healthy eating guidelines. It’s easy to overestimate the number of calories you burn while working out.
You should adjust your calorie intake if you’re engaging in serious training, such as for a triathlon, where you might be working out more than once a day. Recovery nutrition is necessary if you are an athlete participating in strenuous activity, especially if you are participating in multiple events in the same day. And remember – if Cycletique is your routine, and you enjoy 3-4 classes per week, a healthy and balanced diet is equally important.