With so much information available today I am here to clear a few things up when it comes to fuelling your body for cardiovascular activity. Should you eat before a workout? Should you eat after? Should you eat nothing at all. Should you fast before cardio? What is going to get you the greatest results?
The first step is to determine your goal. Are you using cardio to strengthen your heart, lose weight/body fat or increase performance? Maybe just for mental wellness.
Cardiovascular activity will put our bodies in a catabolic state. Meaning it will break down tissue or muscle over time if not fuelling properly. Strength training puts our body in an anabolic state. A state of building muscle or tissue.
Every “body” is different but I will give you a few guidelines.
Weight loss: You may have heard of fasted cardio. Not eating breakfast then doing cardio. This is best when doing easy cardio such as walking or easy jogging. If you’re doing high intensity cycling or interval training chances are your blood sugar will be too low and you will not have enough energy to work at your max potential for the workout. By doing a half effort workout you will most likely take two steps backwards. What to do?
Fuel before your workout with a piece of fruit and a touch of nut butter to give you energy and keep you fuelled for your full workout so you will get the maximum benefit. Then fuel after your workout with protein and carbohydrate to allow the body to repair and recover so your next workout is just as good and it will give your body and muscles the proper nutrition to repair.
Remember your workouts are only as good as your recovery.
Another tactic to use if you find you are losing muscle mass when doing cardio in addition to fuelling properly is lifting weights prior to your cardio. This puts your body in the “building” state which will help offset the catabolic state or breakdown state of cardio on the tissue.
When it comes to performance, fuelling your body is critical pre, during and post workout to allow yourself to maximize your workouts.
Mental Clarity: If you are just using workouts to clear your mind and for mental wellbeing the same approach applies with fuelling your body because you will feel more energized and recovered if you fuel with clean nutrition after your workout opposed to having nothing.
No matter what your goals are fuelling your body is critical to your success.