How to Eat for Longer Workouts

Many people had a hard time doing training with a reasonable duration while the gyms were closed, and now they want to make the most of its reopening. Alternatively, you may have had enough additional free time in these months and now you can run or cycle for miles.

Whatever your preferred type of training, it is important that your body is properly fed, so that there are no power outages.

The carbohydrate reserve

On average, we store enough carbohydrates to provide energy for a 60- to 90-minute workout. Anything beyond this limit generally means that the body will use additional fuel in a form other than carbohydrates.

That’s why we talk about the reserve or “bank” of carbohydrates – essentially, we convert the glycogen (that is, the carbohydrates) in our body into energy, and when it runs out, the organism moves on to other sources, such as fat.

When glycogen stores are depleted, the fat stored in the body is broken down into fatty acids, which are used as fuel. This process occurs relatively slowly, as opposed to carbohydrate metabolism, providing fuel for more prolonged physical activity.

And what does all this mean depending on the type of exercise we do?

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Cardiovascular training

Resistance exercises tend more easily to extend beyond the 90-minute mark.

First of all, let’s make sure that the carbohydrate reserves are full. This means consuming carbohydrates the day before training, as well as breakfast on training day.

There is no need to overdo the amount, as our bodies can only handle a limited dose of carbohydrates at a time. We recommend a large bowl of wholegrain pasta the night before, porridge or oat products for breakfast and a small snack rich in carbohydrates, like a banana, before you start. p>

Take something to eat with you during extended workouts that is rich in simple sugars, like bars or energy drinks, and start eating before you feel fatigue, in advance. That way you will give your body more time to digest and process nutrients.

We have, in general, fat stored in our bodies in sufficient doses for resistance training, so it is not necessary to increase the consumption of fat in the pre-workout, but to add a source of healthy fats to your meals and snacks will help ensure a reserve of fat available for energy.

Gym training

A longer weightlifting session is not an uncommon phenomenon, but it is worth noting that you should ensure that your muscles have enough time to rest between sets to avoid overloading training.

If you plan to do a longer workout at the gym, try adding some cardiovascular or conditioning exercises. This will prevent the muscles from being exhausted, helping to prevent injuries from overexertion.

Although you can usually not eat before training, a longer session makes it more important to take care of that beforehand. If you don’t want to eat an entire meal, divide your food into smaller portions – one about two hours before you go to the gym and another snack take just before.

A longer session, which includes cardiovascular exercise, means that you will benefit from a previous source of carbohydrates.

While normally our recommendation is for a more balanced meal or a pre-workout shake, adding an extra carbohydrate source will ensure that your body will be prepared to deal with the resistance component of the workout.

Final Message

Take our recommendations into account when planning a longer workout, so you can be at your best.

Make sure you eat something before training and take some simple snacks with you so that your energy levels don’t break. Choose what you know in advance to work well for you, giving preference to easily digestible foods that will not leave you feeling lazy or wanting to go to sleep!

Choose the time for your meals and snacks so that you don’t end up training on an empty stomach, even if it means distributing the food in two smaller portions, to also prevent you from exercising with the uncomfortably stuffed stomach.

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