What To Eat Before Cardio

One dilemma facing athletes is whether to eat anything before cardio, and if so, what. A recent study sheds some light on this and suggests the best option. (1).

The rationale for cardio on an empty stomach is obviously to increase fat burning. When carbs are taken in before exercise the carbs are preferentially used for fuel, sparing fat. On the other hand exercising on an empty stomach elevates cortisol levels which break down not only fats but muscle for fuel.

The other option is ingesting protein before exercise. This may spare muscle, but does it inhibit fat burning? Surprisingly, according to the study, it depends on the type of protein.

Rats were exercised under 4 different conditions. (1) Fasting. (2) Glucose meal before exercise. (3) whole milk protein before exercise (4) lactalbumin enriched whey before exercise.

At the end of the study, the glucose and milk protein fed rats gained fat mass, showing that these diets blunted the fat burning from exercise. The fasted rats lost both muscle and fat, whereas the whey fed rats lost just as much fat as the fasted rats, but gained muscle.

The moral is to burn fat and actually build muscle while doing cardio, ingest whey protein beforehand.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2002 Sep;283(3):E565-72

A preexercise alpha-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and decreases adiposity in rats.

Bouthegourd JC, Roseau SM, Makarios-Lahham L, Leruyet PM, Tome DG, Even PC.

Unite Mixte de recherche de Physiologie de la Nutrition et du comportement alimentaire, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, F75231 Paris, France.

9 Steps to Perfect Health – #7: Move Like Your Ancestors

There’s no question that regular exercise is essential to health. Our paleolithic ancestors had a different word for exercise: life. For the vast majority of our evolutionary history, humans had to exert ourselves – often quite strenuously – to get food. We naturally spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun, walking, hunting, gathering, and performing various other physically-oriented tasks. We had no concept of this as “exercise” or “working out”. It was just life. (more…)

A long slow walk to nowhere

I hate the term cardio.
Most of the people I saw in the gym the day I where on what I like to
call “the long slow walk to nowhere”. Even if I liked the term cardio,
what these people were doing would best be qualified as Ultra Low
Intensity Calorie Burning (ULICB) or Ultra Low Intensity Cardio Training
(ULICT). Just figured I’d make up my own acronyms. Everyone else does.
I have trouble believing that anyone walking on a treadmill, while
holding on no less, is getting much of a cardiovascular workout.
  (more…)