Should you eat before you workout?

By Hannah - All Bodies Director and Accredited Practising Dietitian

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Should you fuel up with carbs or should you workout fasted? This is the question on every body’s lips.

The answer: I’d love to say "yes just fuel every workout with carbs" and although 90% of the time that may be true, it’s not that simple and you’re probably reading this because you want to know why you should eat before a workout.

To get to the heart of this we need to dive into fuel sources and energy systems.

1. Energy systems are metabolic pathways that your body uses to convert fuel sources (i.e. fats, carbs & amino acids) into energy. Your body will draw upon different fuel sources and energy systems for different types of training based on the demands of the workout.

2. Fuel sources aren’t equal. Your body is most efficient at using carbohydrates as a fuel source, meaning that you tend to be able to maintain higher intensities for a longer duration (aka workout harder for longer).

  • When carbohydrates are digested, they are stored in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. Your body draws on these stores during exercise to fuel your workouts.

  • Fats are stored as triglycerides predominantly in adipose tissue (fat cells) and some in your muscles. Your body can store greater amounts of energy in the form of fats. However, your body isn’t as efficient at converting stored fats into energy to be used in workouts.

There are 2 reasons why: