We all want energy. We want energy for our workouts, our jobs, our kids, our family reunions, you name it. We want more energy so that we can do the things we love.
However, you’re more than likely here for the workout side of things. So, what’s going to be your best bet when looking to improve your energy levels during exercise? We know that carbs are a form of fuel, and we know that caffeine gives us that push we often seek. Which one is best?
In this article, we’ll break down how they both help us with energy as well as ways in which you can use them together for the best results!
Carbs for Energy
Carbs are stored in the body as glycogen. This is our body’s preferred form of energy, and yes, you can use fats for fuel as well. However, the body is ready to pull from these stores and burn it quickly. The process is much faster and efficient, and this is something the body strives to achieve.
As you consume carbs, they can be used right then and there if you’re doing something that requires them, or they can be stored in the body for later use. As you begin physically challenging activities, these carbs are broken down to produce ATP. This is the gasoline for movement in our bodies.
So long as you’re being active and using these carbs then carbs are amazing! The less active you are, then the less carbs you need. In an exercise setting, where you’re trying to have more energy for the awesome things you do, carbs are your friend, and you should be using them.
Caffeine for Energy
Caffeine is a compound that is found in a few sources. One of the most common is coffee. It’s also found concentrated in the form of caffeine anhydrous, which you may commonly see in various pre-workout supplements. Caffeine acts as a stimulant for the nervous system which signals you to be less tired and more awake. This is why many people start the day with it and use it before a workout. You want to shake the need to take a nap and get things done.
Not only does it make you feel more alert, but it can also help improve your maximum muscle force. This goes hand in hand with making those gains in the gym.
What’s Better? If You Had to Choose
There isn’t necessarily one better than the other, they just work a little different. Carbs are a fuel source and literally fuel the body to move. While caffeine works to lower the amount of fatigue you experience and keep you alert. Instead of the question around which is better, it’s more important to look at how great they are together!
However, if you had to choose one or the other. Carbs would be the number one pick. This is just due to the fact that you need them to literally fuel your movements. You can’t create ATP based off of just caffeine, whereas you can with carbohydrates!
If you were choosing a supplement and you could go with something caffeine based or something carb based, then carb based would be a good choice. Using something like our Fuel 5 prior to your session would give you the quick energy boost you needed to get through it.
Using Them Together
The combo of carbs plus caffeine will do numbers for a workout. Ensuring that you consume enough carbohydrates in your diet to match your activity levels, plus a little pick-me-up from caffeine will lead to high energy levels. Matching the two can lead to a higher level of performance in the gym, and let’s be honest, that’s what you came to find out!
So, carbs are more important than just caffeine in the totality of it all. You need them in your diet to fuel those intense exercises. That’s not to say that they can’t be used in tandem to improve your numbers and performance across the board.