Why Are Carbohydrates Important Pre-Workout?

by Erik Tremblay

Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source due to the amount of cells that require the macromolecule, how efficient the process is to convert it to a useable energy source, and how much can be stored in your body.

Your body can easily store carbohydrates as it breaks them down into glucose (except cluster dextrin does not need to be broken down as it is already a simple carbohydrate) which is used to fuel the energy needs of the body. Glucose circulates in the blood and, through the use of insulin, the glucose enters cells where it is used for the cell to undergo cellular respiration and generate ATP to allow them to carry out their functions.

When there is an excess of carbohydrates, your body stores them as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscle tissue where they can be tapped into to generate ATP when the body is demanding more energy than is available in the current circulating glucose levels. However, the body can only store around 500g of glycogen before the storage is maxed out. This is one reason why your body prefers to use carbohydrates as an energy source over fats.

Although fats carry a higher energy potential (about 9 calories a gram compared to carbohydrates that carry about 4 calories a gram), your body can store almost all the extra fat you consume in adipose tissue. So while you max out storage of carbohydrates at 500g, 98% of the fats you eat can be stored no matter how much you consume. Your body can convert excess carbohydrates into fat, but would then have to turn it back into carbohydrates to use it for energy, making it a less efficient process than prioritizing the consumption of carbohydrates as the initial energy source.

Also, your brain cells require the most energy out of any cells and it is more efficient for your body to use carbohydrates as the energy source. Fats have to be broken down which converts them into ketones to be used as energy in brain cells. Not to mention the central nervous system must have glucose to operate and cannot use energy from fats, so while ketones provide an energy source for most of the body, carbohydrates fuel the entire body.

The demand of glucose to provide energy for your entire body is why it is vital to include in your pre-workout. Having the glucose source dextrin in the cyclical shape allows the carb source to pass into the small intestines and absorbed within 20 minutes, making it a pre-workout secret ingredient. It offers a noticeable difference in delaying muscle fatigue and improving “pumps.”

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