When you are working out, it’s important to understand the nutritional needs your body is going through. The best way to understand this is to explain protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Carbohydrates, though derided by many popular diets (Atkins; South Beach) are easily burned during cardiovascular exercise. If you’ve ever heard the term, carb up, before working out – this is what they are referring to. When you work out without eating, you burn excess carbs stored in body fat. However, cutting out all carbohydrates when you work out is not a good idea. You will deplete your body of a vital energy source; this can lead to exhaustion and shorter workouts as your energy depletes too quickly.
Protein is important to your muscles. It’s the food source your muscles use to build mass, to repair and to grow stronger. Proteins supply your cells with energy and regenerative material to replicate them. In short, proteins are important. They also help your body burn food rather than storing it as fat.
Muscles require larger calorie amounts to sustain themselves, far more than fat does. When you are muscle building, protein will help build muscles, which will also burn more calories. Proteins are essential to fat burning, weight loss and muscle building. The average male will lose about 500 grams of muscle mass every year that he does not exercise regularly.
There are good fats and bad fats. Fat is another useful energy source for your body. It can be used to fuel cellular regeneration. It can be used as a stored energy source for times when you are facing starvation or famine. Nutritionally, you do need fats in your diet. Avoiding excessive negative fats is important to help avoid storing excess body fat.
However, it’s a misnomer that eliminating any one of these three vital energy sources is good. Elimination can result in deteriorating muscle mass, fatigue and illness.