Perhaps some of the most important information you can learn is what to fuel your body with before you begin exercising, while you are exercising, and after exercise.

Sports drinks, bars, and gels provide easily digestible carbohydrates that are optimal during performance.

The fastest acting and most digestible forms of carbohydrates are glucose, sucrose, and maltodextrin.

These are the best forms of carbohydrate to consume during exercise because they absorb quicker than other forms.

A common misconception I hear is that someone has an apple, or a citrus fruit before their workout to give them fast acting sugar.

Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, should be avoided because it is harder to break down than the previously mentioned sugars and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Many sports drinks and gels contain only carbohydrates and electrolytes, while some also contain protein.

For endurance athletes, consuming both carbohydrate and protein during exercise has been shown to improve net protein balance at rest as well as during exercise and post-exercise recovery.

This net balance will, in turn, have a positive effect on muscle maintenance and growth.

This makes sense since exercise of any type will require glucose in order for the muscles to contract.

If the glucose isn’t available, then the body will begin to run on different energy sources, including pyruvate, lactic acid, ketones, and glucogenic amino acids.

In particular, the glucogenic amino acids are the highest concern.

The body will take the glucose from these glucogenic amino acids and turn them into energy.

Since protein doesn’t store the same way carbohydrates do, glucose will be pulled from the muscles and organs unless protein is readily available in the diet.

This highlights some of the important reasons for having carbohydrates and proteins before, during, and after exercise.

More on this topic is on the way!

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