Daily fit news: April 18

Ward off spring colds with a smart mid-workout nutrition plan.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, addresses some of the latest fitness research and news stories.

Today's Topic: Can consuming carbs during a workout really keep you healthier?

The Science: In The American Council on Exercise’s industry journal Certified, an article discussed the details of a recent study which found that eating carbs during intense or high volume (90 minutes or longer) exercise could give your immune system a boost.

EQX Expert Insight:One of the many benefits of regular exercise: it can help ward off all kinds of illness from colds to cancer. But,“we still need to recognize that exercise is a physical stressor on the body,” says Berenc. And that stress has the potential to have a negative impact on your immune system, making it more likely you’ll get sick, especially if you’re not recovering properly. (You can read more about how your workouts can make you sick here.) One way to mitigate that, according to this study: mid-workout carbs. “By ingesting carbohydrates, we are reducing the stress placed on the body by stabilizing blood sugar levels," Berenc explains. "This also helps to quickly replenish the glycogen stores (immediate energy source) in the muscles which accelerates the recovery process, allowing you to either maintain endurance levels or return to activity quicker."

The Bottom Line: Try it if your workout is high intensity (pushing to you limit) or high volume (90 minutes or more). To reap the benefits, Berenc suggested taking in 30 to 60 grams of carbs either during or following your workout. (Remember: this can be in the form of gels, real food, or even beverages.) “While proper nutrition is vital to support all types of activity and goals, the importance of carbohydrate and meal timing lessen if you are keeping your training more moderate in time or effort.”