Quick Note on Training Once Carb Depleted. What Not To Do.

While speaking to a group yesterday on Sports Nutrition, once again we hit the topic of training in the “fat burning zone” to lose weight.

The comment was that this person had clients train with weights in the gym until they depleted their carbohydrates and then do their cardio activity. The point in their words was along the lines of “they will burn more body fat and get leaner, since now they are burning more fat as fuel since there are no carbs left to burn”.

To re visit this topic, as an athlete this is not a good approach to training. Nor a good approach to weight loss. Here is why, as briefly as possible.

First off, if you want to get faster and stronger, you don’t train while you are carbohydrate depleted. NO quality intervals are coming your way in this state. Carbohydrate depleted athletes can’t run/ride at high intensities and will feel mentally awful and exhausted. This is not empowering any athlete to feel good about their training, nor will they get quality training.

Secondly, just because you burn a larger ‘percentage’ of fatty acids when you exercise at lower intensity, it doesn’t mean you burn more CALORIES. If you keep your carbohydrates coming in during 90 minute or longer training sessions you will be able to sustain harder efforts for a longer period of time and reduce the time to reaching fatigue. And while you are able to push harder you will burn more OVERALL calories”. If body composition changes are the goal, this is what matters.

Lastly, by putting clients into a state of being totally depleting and continuing to train, you will likely send them home ravenous at which point they will overeat and pick food that they crave, which tend to be carbohydrates higher in fat. Low blood sugar = POOR CHOICES. Don’t get there on purpose! Better to eat a bit of carbohydrate during the longer workout and have a strong cardio session, going home with a sensible mind to make a healthy recovery meal.

NSAG – Keeping it real and simple

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