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Fuelling your Exercise

June 2019

There are so many supplements on the market today, with suppliers telling you that you need it for fuelling your exercise. So I thought I’d break it down a little for you, so you can work out (see what I did there) if you need them or not.

Do I need a pre-workout for fuelling exercise?

Unless you’re training for over 1hr you do not need a pre-workout supplement for fuelling exercise. Pre-workout supplements are usually some form of amino acids combination and usually always caffeine (yes I’m generalising, product specific research should always be done). In a double blind study (fancy words for a good research study) it was found that the supplement did not significantly improve body composition or performance.

The food you eat during the day should power you through your work out. Once the glucose within our blood is used, your body will use the energy stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. If you train first thing in the morning and you can stomach food pre-training have a banana or something else small. Otherwise, hydration should be your main focus.

The exception to the rule: like everything in nutrition, one size does not fit all. So if you’re training for something in particular, and it means you are exercising twice per day; you may need a pre-workout to help you get through your session.

Is food required during?

Again unless you’re training for over an hour you do not need to be fuel your body during a training session. If you participate or train for marathons or ironman or any other form of longer exercise sessions, then you need to fuel every hour after the first hour.

Where do I make the most gain?

We’ve covered fuelling exercise, now let’s chat recovery. Post exercise is where all us “general exercisers” (general exercisers: we’re the exercise for no more than an hour per day, 3-5 times per week kind of people) make the most of our nutrition. There are five goals when it comes to post training nutrition:
– recover
– rehydrate
– refuel
– build muscle
– improve future performance

Protein is the building block of our body and as such it aids in the repair of our muscles post exercise. Which means protein consumption after training (ideally within 60minutes) enhances muscle uptake and retention of the amino acids within that protein source, and gets straight to work on the repair and recovery of your muscles.

However, it’s not all straight pumping iron and protein shakes (did you get an Arnold Schwarzenegger picture in your head too?). Your protein intake is almost useless unless you combine it with carbohydrate. The sugar from the carbohydrates means that the pancreas will release insulin and thus the insulin receptors on our cells help our body to also transport the amino acid into the cell so it can be used.

I hope the above clears up some misconceptions about fuelling exercise. I’m not going to lie, I geek out on this stuff. It is what I love about nutrition. How amazing our body’s are and what food can do to support it.

It’s also probably also why I am not a millionaire!

I haven’t created a protein powder or workout supplement to sell to the masses; instead I want to explain to you “the why”, so you can make an informed decision about your body.

Until next time… x



Written by Jessica Worth Nutrition, Nutritionist, Sydney, Northern Beaches, Mona Vale

Jess is a realistic nutritionist who loves helping women achieve their health goals. She provides simple, realistic and achievable nutrition advice.

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