Right time for eating and exercise
There are many misconceptions in exercise and eating. There are many people that refrain from eating before working out because they believe that it may result to feeling nauseated or having cramps. On the other hand, some do not eat in the morning because they believe that they can burn more fat when they workout with an empty stomach.
There are some athletes who believe that there are positive effects in practicing with hungry stomach. This is because they think that all their body energy is diverted to the workout and not to the digestion.
But all these beliefs are not true. Truth is, extra energy is needed to be consumed to fuel the activity when you spend energy through the exercise. The amount of food to be consumed and the time to eat is dependent on the duration and type of the exercise and also the food include in the meals and the last time you ate.
Preferably, the amount of energy that you use or calories that you burn must be balanced with the amount of energy that your body takes on calories you eat in a day. Bear in mind that food is needed throughout a day because energy is not only needed when working out. Even when during rest and sleep, the body burns around 100 calories per hour. Upsetting the balance would cause extreme energy surpluses or deficits. This is caused by being highly active, eating big meals, or not eating for long periods.
When you wake up in the morning, it is highly possible that you are low on energy. Here’s how it works: if you ate dinner at 7pm at the night before and then eat nothing until you take breakfast at 7am, your body have been through 12 hours without added fuel. During this 12-hour period, your body might have burned about 1,100 calories. The fuel used for this is mostly coming from the glycogen or carbs and stored fat.
However, you only have limited supply of carbohydrates since they are only stored in small amounts. These are stored in the muscles and liver. Carbs are needed to be present even though there are many stored fats in the body to be burned or metabolized. Usually, the carbs stored in the liver are exhausted by the morning that is why most people are in a state of low energy when they wake up in the morning because no enough carbs are available to supply energy to help make fat.
Skipping breakfast and doing a rigid workout launches an exhausted body into greater exhaustion. If you burn about 500 calories when you are working out, you may have put yourself into about 1600 calories by the time you take food later that morning. That is about 1100 calories utilized while you sleep and another 500 from the workout. After that, your body is already starving for fuel although you may not feel hungry. This state is called ketosis. This occurs because the body shifted to the mode of starvation in order to preserve the resources.
One of the possible side effects is diminished hunger. Lacking of rumblings in the stomach does not mean that your body does not need fuel. In fact, it does and at some point in time, it may demand even more fuel. You will likely outburst and compensate a large energy surplus. In the end, you may have a roller-coaster calorie ride for your body.
On the other hand, over eating and being inactive at the same time will result to energy surplus. Say, you super sized your meals at dinner, maybe composed of fettuccini alfredo, dessert and a soda, and consumed 1000 calories out of this, you may end up having a larger surplus of about 1700 calories. In the evening, if you maintain doing nothing, you will burn not much of calories. When you wake up in the morning and get a large breakfast, your body will stay in a positive energy balance. This is recommended for persons who want to gain weight.
Calorie fluctuations from highs and lows are not good. Researchers from the University of Georgia studied the athletes’ eating patterns and learned that people whose eating patterns have dramatic highs and lows throughout the day had higher levels of fat in the body even if they are in the state of energy balance by the end of the day. Moreover, they process worse mass of muscle, lower levels of energy and poor focus of mind as compared to the athletes who consistently ate throughout the day. Athletes who eat small regular meals and consume more before, during and after extreme workout sessions, showed best performance in their sports and were the leanest.
Therefore, in getting optimum performance, you must balance you energy intake to the hourly energy needs. Naturally, you don’t have the ability to know the precise energy-balance status that is perfect for you. But you can still prevent extreme fluctuations in energy by eating moderate amount of meals for every 3 to 4 hours. If you will do extreme work outs, you will have to eat more before and during the sessions.
Never enter a work-out sessions in an empty stomach. Starting an exercise when you are in a state of energy deficit may cause your body to preserve fat and poorly perform. If you seem to be bonk-out in the middle of a very hard session, put the blame on the low energy. Carbs that quickly absorbs with a high glyceric index may provide you fast fuel. Therefore, before getting in a tough work session, having a juice, sport drink, bread, fruit or pasta to take in some calories is highly advisable. If you refrain from high-fiber foods during this time, you might be less likely to have a disordered stomach depending on the type and intensity of the workout activity. Or you may wait for an hour or two to digest first before starting the workout if you have them already. If minutes before workout, you would have to get some munch of snack, all you need to do is to chew it thoroughly and choose food that can be digested quickly. On the other hand, if you are about to go on a 45 minute moderate walk, you may not need extra food. Not unless you ate going to walk first thing in the morning.
But you will have to fuel up if you are about to do two spin classes, taking an 8-mile run or do something equally vigorous.
During the workout, same things are applied. The amount and things needed depends on what activity is being done. Extra fuel is probably needed when doing an intense workout that may last from 60-90 minutes or longer. The easiest absorbing solution is an energy gel or sports drink although juice, bread, energy bar or fruit may help too.
After an hour or easy walk, extra food is not needed. But if you went through an extreme workout of about 60 to 90 minutes or longer, it is important to eat afterwards. There is a “metabolic window” that occurs during the first 45 minutes immediately after exercise. This means that the enzymes that make the muscle carbs to bring back to fullness are at its peak. In addition to that, insulin, which regenerates protein, stores, as also at its highest levels.
So it is highly advisable at this point to eat a carb-protein mix like yogurt with fruit, peanut butter sandwich, a handful of nuts or bagel with cream cheese so as to maintain muscle, reduce the amount of stored fat in the body and replenish stored glycogen. If something more complex is not available, a piece of fruit or a sport drink is recommended. The calories that can be derived from these are less likely to be stored fat because these calories are needed for recover.
The posing problem here is the amount of the time that you have before having the chance to eat, especially for those who are at the gym and need to get a shower first before taking the long way home.
According to John Ivy, author of “Nutrient Timing” and an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas, absence of metabolic window results to negative effects. Delay in refueling can cause slow replenishment of carbs by 50% and repair of protein by 80%. Therefore, you may possibly feel fatigued and sluggish during the workout for the next day.
In some cases, the immediate side effect of intense workout is not feeling hungry even if you still need some calories. Drinking juice or sport drink is advisable at the very least. Be able to find the right combination of different foods that fits your stomach well and improve your performance, especially when experimenting with different food options.