Carbs and Cardio: The Dynamic Duo

Carbs and cardio are the dynamic duo!

I hope you’re ready to learn something absolutely mind-blowing about carbs, because today I’m getting straight into it!

First of all, ever since I really got serious about living a healthier lifestyle, I have always put protein above everything!

Seriously. I loved protein the way Oprah. Loves. Bread.


And after becoming a vegetarian, my obsession with protein only intensified. I had to make sure I was getting plenty of protein for a two main reasons.

  1. My father is an adamant believer that you can’t possibly get all the protein you need on a vegetarian diet, so obviously I had to prove him wrong.
  2. I wasn’t willing to trade being active for being a vegetarian, so I had to make sure I had enough protein to be both.

So after becoming a vegetarian, I thought I had to eat tons of protein in order to keep doing cardio. But very recently, I was given a textbook on nutrition and my entire protein-obsessed world was completely shattered.

Here are just three of the things I learned about carbs and cardio from my new textbook.

Protein Doesn’t Give You Much Energy During Cardio

Protein is the building blocks of our cells, which makes it vitally important… except when it comes to cardio.

According to my new textbook, Contemporary Nutrition by Gordon M. Wardlaw and Anne M. Smith, while protein can be used to fuel muscles, its contribution is pretty small. In fact, only about 5% of our body’s general energy needs, including during exercise, is supplied by protein.

So, plainly put, protein builds our muscles, not fuels them.

Carbs Are King When It Comes To Cardio

Carbs are extremely important when it comes to cardio because it provides quick, essential fuel to our muscles. More specifically, blood glucose (sugar) is our body’s go-to source for fuel during a cardio workout.

Our bodies can metabolize glucose very quickly, and our body can utilize about 95% of the energy made from complete glucose metabolism.

Carb Up 30-60 Minutes Before Hitting The Gym

Studies suggest eating a post-workout meal consisting of mainly carbs 30-60 minutes before going to the gym gives your body the optimum fuel to power through a good workout.

So be sure to load up on whole grains, pasta, veggies, fruits and beans before tackling some cardio. But don’t forget protein and fats! Carbs may be king, but fat and protein are like the queen and Jack (and probably in that order) of a good pre-workout meal.


Man! That info just completely changed the way I look at my diet! Vegetarian diets are pretty much 99.999999% carbs anyways, but now I truly understand how important carbs are to my active lifestyle.

What about you? I’d love to hear some of your carb-tastic pre-workout meals! So drop a comment below or hit me up on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *