What you eat before you suit up for the gym can have a profound effect on your performance and results. There’s no shortage of pre-workout supplements out there that all claim to help you build muscle, gain strength, or burn body fat. But do any of those workout boosters you see in muscle magazines actually benefit your muscles?
In my previous interviews with nutrition savant, Ori Hofmekler, we covered post-workout nutrition and thyroid health. So now it’s time for Ori to set the record straight with regard to pre-workout nutrition. Get ready for some surprising revelations!
CW: Ori, is it true that you’ll burn more fat if you train in a fasted state? Is this equally true for cardio and strength training?
Ori: In theory, fat burning is maximized when you train in a fasting state. That’s because exercise while fasting forces a fast depletion of glycogen and an increased utilization of fatty acids for energy. Furthermore, this regimen improves insulin sensitivity, which is essential for burning fat and maintaining a lean body. Nonetheless, training while fasting has a serious drawback: it compromises your peak strength and durability. Apparently with a more profound effect on strength.
Last week I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil to teach trainers, athletes and fitness buffs how to build a better body. On my day off I flew to Rio de Janeiro to check out the sun, surf, and bikinis.
While I was roaming around Ipanema Beach in a somewhat dehydrated state, I was relieved to see a cool little stand that sold coconut water, straight from the source. After mumbling through enough Portuguese to get my order across to the distracted Brazilian dude working the hut, he grabbed a young coconut, chopped off the top with what appeared to be a machete, and stuck a straw in the opening. I handed him a few reais and off I went because I didn’t want to find out what other uses he might have for that machete.
Coconut water is readily available in Rio and it’s as much a part of their culture as iced tea is to America. In Brazil, there aren’t any outrageous claims with regard to the purported health benefits, and that was a refreshing change from what I’ve been seeing around Los Angeles.
I’ve been prescribing fresh coconut water as part of my athlete’s daily nutrition program for years and the results have been excellent. But as soon as marketers get their hands on a product with a few health benefits, everything goes to hell.