If you’re a late night nibbler, new research warns that you may want to quit the habit if you’re also an endurance athlete. It turns out that snacking before bed isn’t such a good idea. Forgoing the cheese and crackers or milk and cookies could very well lead to a more effective workout the next morning says a new Globe and Mail report.
Researchers from RMIT University in Australia recently did a study which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Their findings show that when athletes eat is a (much ignored) factor that athletic people need to consider.
In their study, they had cyclists perform a hard workout in the evening at around 7:00 or 8:00 pm. Afterwards, the athletes went to bed without eating a recovery meal or snack. In the morning, they did a light session before having breakfast. This means that the endurance athletes were in a carb depleted state for the morning work.
Many recognize this method as the train low, race high approach referring to training in a low-carb state and racing in full stores. The idea behind this tactic is to get the body used to performing in tough physical conditions. Then, when performing fully fuelled, it is that much better at taking advantage of not being depleted. By not eating before bed, the cyclists did not have to go through the day in the depleted state since they were sleeping for most of the time.
The study did conclude that the cyclists burned more fat during the morning ride than they did when they snacked the night before. In both cases, the same amount of calories were consumed throughout the day. Just the timing differed. At the same time, runners need to consider these results wisely. Even an easier workout is much harder to do when not properly fuelled and runners therefore may not get the full benefit. It does however prove the point that triathletes need to consider when to eat just as much as we consider WHAT to eat.