Several weeks ago, I experienced a significant breakthrough in my training. It was during a 16-mile run when I decided to try something new: fueling during the workout. Let me share with you how incorporating energy gels and carbohydrates as intra-workout fuel made a noticeable difference in my performance.
Immediate Energy Boost with Energy Gels
About an hour into my run, I consumed a popular energy gel called “GU.” These gels are specifically designed to provide quick and immediate energy. What sets them apart is their high maltodextrin content, which ranks higher than sugar on the glycemic index. This means that the energy-boosting effects are felt almost instantly, providing a much-needed surge of stamina to push through challenging workouts.
Enhanced Endurance during Combined Strength Training & Running
I also discovered the remarkable benefits of mid-workout fuel when I incorporated it into my routine on days involving both strength training and running. After completing a 6-mile run, I transitioned into my strength training session, consuming a GU in between. The difference was remarkable. Despite just having completed a run, my strength was preserved, and I felt energetic throughout the entire workout. Gone were the days of feeling tired and weak after running and heading straight to lifting weights. The secret? Mid-workout fueling.
Replenishing Glycogen Stores for Sustained Energy
One of the primary objectives of intra-workout fueling is to replenish glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates in your muscles and liver. During exercise, your body relies on glycogen as a primary fuel source. By consuming carbohydrates during your workout, you can maintain optimal glycogen levels, preventing fatigue and boosting your endurance.
Stabilizing Blood Sugar Levels and Enhancing Performance
Easily digestible sources of carbohydrates, such as sports drinks, gels, or fruit, can be rapidly absorbed and converted into glucose, which is used by your muscles for energy. This glucose not only fuels your working muscles but also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing dizziness, lightheadedness, and performance declines.
Supporting Muscle Repair and Growth
Intra-workout fueling goes beyond carbohydrates. It can also provide essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, which are crucial for muscle repair and growth. Incorporating a protein source, like a protein shake or a small amount of protein-rich food, during your workout supports muscle protein synthesis and enhances recovery.
Incorporating intra-workout fueling into your training regimen can have a significant impact on your performance and energy levels. By replenishing glycogen stores, preventing fatigue, and optimizing performance, you can achieve your fitness goals more effectively. If you find yourself feeling fatigued during workouts, consider incorporating energy gels or chews as mid-workout fuel. Even for shorter training sessions, a quick-digesting carbohydrate source can provide the much-needed fuel to help you crush your workout. Give it a try and experience the difference firsthand!
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