Why Haribo sweets could be the secret to your best workout
The best sugar foods to eat before a training session.
Sugar is one of the most misunderstood foods in sports nutrition. Some people think all sugar is bad, and others avoid eating sugar even when they’re training hard. Here’s why some sugars can actually be the secret to your best training session yet.
Is sugar good for workouts
When you think about sugar, what comes to mind? After all, there are different forms of sugar. Sweets, honey, rice, pasta, and fruits all contain sugar. And guess what, none of them are inherently bad for you. In fact if you train hard and want to get more out of your training sessions, sugar could be a big help.
Sugar is the body’s preferred form of fuel, especially when it’s under pressure. It takes a lot of effort to extract energy from dietary fats or body fat (and it’s not desirable to take energy from protein).
Sugars are a simple, fast-acting source of carbohydrates that will help your body perform better during workouts. But what kind of sugar is best for before or during training sessions?
Should you eat sweets before a workout
Sugar isn’t bad, but it’s important to understand how it works so you can choose the most appropriate time to eat it. Sugar in its simplest form is a fuel source that your body will use for energy.
That’s why foods that contain high sugars, with low or zero fats and fibre, are a good choice for hard training sessions. Dietary fats and fibre both slow down digestion (which is usually a good thing). So choosing high sugar, low fat, low fibre foods for training means your body can access the energy almost straight away.
Have you ever seen an athlete eating sugary sweets like Haribo or jelly babies during a workout or on competition day? They’re not being unhealthy! They just understand how sugar will help them perform at high intensity.
Best sugars to eat during a workout
Haribo and other similar sweets contain glucose, sucrose, and dextrose, making them a smart choice of sugar food to eat during a long or tough training session or on competition day. They’re small and easy to eat, so you can “dose” them accurately too.
Glucose is the simple monosaccharide sugar found in fruits, and it’s the form of sugar your body burns best. Glucose is digested straight into your bloodstream, so it’s a great choice for just before or during a tough workout.
Fructose is another monosaccharide, found in fruits. It breaks down in the liver before moving into the bloodstream and muscles. A good option for a pre-workout snack as you head to the gym.
Sucrose aka table sugar is a disaccharide that breaks down into glucose and fructose in the small intestine, before entering them bloodstream.
Lactose which is found in dairy products is also broken down into monosaccharides in the small intestine. Some people are lactose intolerant so it might not be a wise choice for a workout sugar.
Pros and cons of eating sugary food during training
Sugar is a fast and easy to digest form of energy for training
Sugar is fat free and 4kcals per gram
Sugar passes directly into the bloodstream to support intense training
Sugar is easy to overconsume so may lead to excess calories
Eating too much sugar has been linked to health issues
You’ll need self-control to eat an appropriate amount
How to structure peri workout nutrition
Peri workout nutrition is what you eat before, during, and after training. If your training sessions are long (over an hour), heavy, or intense you should think about peri workout nutrition.
Before training: fluids, perhaps some caffeine, protein and slower-digesting carbohydrates (sugars) like fruit, oats, rice cakes
During training: fluid and simple sugars like sweets or candy
After training: protein and a smaller amount of healthy fibre-rich carbohydrates like potato, rice, wholegrains.
What do you think about eating sugary foods during training? We’d love to hear your opinions – join the conversation at Gravity Fitness socials.
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