Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle

Navigating the Fat vs. Carbs Debate: What Should Fuel Your Workout?

Navigating the Fat vs. Carbs Debate

While carbohydrates have long been touted as the go-to source of energy, fats have recently gained traction as a potential alternative. So, which one should you choose to power through your sweat session? Let's dive in and break it down.

Understanding Your Workout Type & Intensity

The first step in determining your ideal fuel source is understanding the nature of your workout:

  1. High-Intensity, Explosive Training: Activities like HIIT, cross-training, and intense cardio demand quick-access energy, making carbohydrates the preferred choice. These exercises push your heart rate to its peak, requiring readily available fuel for optimal performance. While some may praise fat burning during exercise as a goal, sustaining high-intensity efforts primarily relies on carbs. However, fuelling with carbs during these workouts can still lead to fat-burning later in the day.
  2. Lower Intensity Activities: On the flip side, lower-intensity activities like yoga, Pilates, and leisurely walks may benefit from fat as a fuel source, especially if you prefer to maintain a "fasted" state. In these scenarios, fats can provide a steady energy supply without causing spikes in blood sugar levels.

Timing & Form of Fuel

The timing and form of your pre-workout fuel play a crucial role in determining its effectiveness:

  • 30 Minutes Pre-Workout: If you're opting for fats, MCT oil stands out as a viable option due to its rapid metabolism. It's broken down quickly by the body, providing a swift energy boost.
  • 60-90 Minutes Pre-Workout: For those preferring whole food fats like nut butter or ceremonial cacao, allowing more time for digestion is key. While these options take longer to metabolise, they can still sustain energy levels throughout your workout.

Finding What Works for You

It's essential to recognise that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to pre-workout nutrition. While some individuals thrive on fat-fueled or fasted workouts, others may find themselves fatigued or hungry later in the day. If you're unsure which approach suits you best, consider experimenting with both and paying attention to how your body responds.

Ultimately, the decision between fuelling your workout with fats or carbs boils down to personal preference, workout intensity, and individual response. Whether you choose to power up with carbohydrates for high-octane sessions or opt for fats to maintain a fasted state during lower-intensity activities, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

The goal of pre-workout nutrition is to support your performance, enhance your energy levels, and maximise your results. 

Phoebe x