Friday, May 31, 2013

Train right: Burn fats, not carbs

Training is not altogether that fun, especially when you’ve to do something out of your comfort zone, like training more hours and not fueling prior to workout.

But this discomfort is the very thing that’s pushing me to go to places I’ve never thought I could go, and do things I’ve never thought I could.

Let me explain. Prior to this, it would be impossible for me to train without first having a pre-workout bite, even if it’s small, like a piece of plain bread or a small bowl of oatmeal. I have experienced sessions where I’d start a workout on an empty stomach and my training would be highly compromised because I would be dizzy with lack of food and fall short in my speed during training - in other words, I wouldn’t be able to perform to a level that I would be capable of.

Thus this concept of the need to fuel prior to a workout became an important backbone in my training philosophy. I could never understand how some of my other triathlete friends could start a long bike without first having breakfast - I’d need at least 2 slices of toast with thick peanut butter spread, at the least, else I wouldn’t last the first hour of the ride.

When my new coach came along and insisted that I start my workout on an empty stomach, with only water for the first hour up till 1.5 hours, I was obedient to the tee and eradicated all temptation to fuel during the first 1-1.5 hours. Only after 1.5 hours did I consume energy bars to fuel me for the rest of the usually 3-4-hour workout.

I surprised myself but how my body actually adapted to this new practice so quickly. From day 1 of training, I strictly practiced this method and not only was I able to go through the whole workout with little trouble, I was effectively teaching my body to burn fats instead of carbs - thus becoming a more efficient endurance athlete, which is super important in the sport of triathlon. I also noticed that after a workout, I wasn’t crazily famished and ready to chew off my arm as I was previously on a high-carb diet pre, during and post workout. Now, after a workout, I could go on without food for another 2 hours before I have my meal.

It’s fascinating what the body is capable of doing when our mind understands the right sciences and endeavors to do it right.

For change to happen, it first must happen in the mind - the mind must first comprehend, only then will the body co-operate and perform accordingly.

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