Exercise is highly beneficial when it comes to assisting with weight loss and it becomes even more important when you are trying to maintain your new healthy weight. It is, however, important to understand how to properly plan your meals around your workouts to ensure that you are not consuming too many or too few calories to stay on track with your weight goals.
A general rule when it comes to exercise and calories are that the more you are physically active, the more calories your body needs above your basal calorie requirements. Your basal metabolic rate (or BMR) reflects the number of calories your body requires to function at rest. But of course, the majority of us do not spend our days lying in bed, and your body will require more calories than that of your BMR to function. The more activity you do, the more calories you will require. On days that you are exercising it is a good idea to increase your calories to compensate for what you are burning. Your Health Coach can help you determine how many additional calories you should eat on your exercise days.
Whether or not you should eat before your exercise sessions and what you eat depends on a number of factors that can increase your need for carbohydrates during training:
- Whether or not the activity is high intensity.
- Whether or not you will be exercising for a long period of time (e.g., over an hour).
- The temperature of the environment in which you will be exercising (either hot or cold).
- Your age
If you are doing any type of endurance training and are in great physical condition then your need for carbohydrates during training is lower.
There are different guidelines available regarding pre- and post-workout nutrition and many of them depend on your specific goal. In general, for weight loss and overall fitness, consuming a snack that is balanced to optimal protein-carbohydrate-fat ratios, as advised by your Health Coach, one to two hours before your workout can help improve energy and performance and minimize fatigue while exercising.
Cardiovascular training on an empty stomach can be beneficial to fat loss and you may consider going this route as well. However, weight training tends to rely on carbohydrates as a fuel source so it is important to consume some carbohydrates before a weight training session.
It is important to consume a balanced, low-glycemic Our Weight Loss meal within two hours after your workout. Glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrates in the muscles and the liver. During exercise, your muscles convert glycogen into glucose to provide energy for the exercising muscle. Consequently, glycogen stores are typically lower after you exercise. Eating a meal within the two-hour window after a workout is important because the enzymes that are responsible for glycogen storage are usually high within this timeframe. The low glycemic content ensures that insulin levels do not increase rapidly, however, and prevents the storage of excess fat.
These are basic guidelines and a more specific program can be developed with your Health Coach taking into consideration your goals, results, energy levels and appetite after exercise.