There are a lot of myths surround how much should be eaten before, after and even during exercise. For example, many people don’t eat at all for the day until after they exercise. For some reason, people assume that they will burn off more fat that way, since the body won’t be able to draw on recent food supplies.
Some people choose to skip breakfast before their morning workouts, but for completely different reasons. For example, even some hard core athletes think that an empty stomach will actually help them work out, since their body won’t be wasting energy trying to digest food and can supposedly put more energy into working out. On the other hand, casual exercisers often think they shouldn’t eat before they exercise because it could cause uncomfortable stomach cramps that will cut their workouts short.
In fact, the reality of the situation is that those people are not doing themselves any favors. The body needs energy to function properly, especially after sleeping. After all, calories are burned, even while you are resting.
On average, people go about twelve hours between having supper at night and having breakfast in the morning. In that time, the body relies on carbohydrates and fats that have been stored to fuel most of the 1,100 or so calories that it burns. That energy supply needs to be restocked. People are not kidding when they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Although, it’s important to keep your food stores balanced throughout the day, too.
- Keeping the Balance
Now, during the day, you’re going to burn an average of 100 calories an hour when you’re just sitting around. Obviously, exercising is going to make you burn more calories. The trick is to balance how many calories you burn with how many calories you eat. That’s going to depend greatly on you, and how much exercise you do.
- The Snack Attack
So, the point here is to keep your body in balance. One good way to do that is to adjust your eating habits to your workout routines. For example, you may find it beneficial to eat a high-energy snack right before an intense workout. A good suggestion would be a piece of fruit or some pasta. That will make sure your glycogen supplies stay well-stocked while you exercise.
- The Refuelling Window
After a strenuous workout, there’s something known as the refuelling window. For about forty-five minutes, your body is better able to repair and replenish muscles. Also, the body is producing more insulin, which can be useful for restocking protein, but not without the proper fuel. So, it’s absolutely vital that you eat shortly after a major workout.
Sometimes, it’s not that convenient to eat right after a workout. So, it’s good to take energy drinks or energy bars with you, if you won’t be exercising at home. If you have access to a bigger variety of foods, though, you can have some fruits, a peanut butter sandwich, some yogurt, or even some pasta. Remember one thing, though. Just because you need to eat after an intense workout doesn’t mean that you need to eat a huge meal. It’s all about maintaining balance in your body.
Finally, remember that food isn’t all your body needs to be efficient. You also need to stay well hydrated before, during and after workouts. Not only can dehydration make you fell sick and tired, but it makes your body much less efficient during a workout. On top of that, being dehydrated can also make you more prone to injuries.
If you don’t maintain the balance, you could wind up in a state that is known as ketosis. For example, let’s say that after a good night of rest you burn 1,100 calories, as mentioned earlier. Now, pretend that you burn an additional 600 calories exercising and don’t eat in between. Your body is going to then go into a starvation and preservation mode. It’s called ketosis. During the ketosis mode, you’re unlikely to have much of an appetite, so you may put off eating even longer. At some point, your body is going to go out of ketosis and into total panic mode where it needs food immediately. That can cause you to binge on foods and wind up eating much more at one time than you should. That’s certainly not the way to make the most of your exercise routines.
So, now that you understand a bit more about food and exercise, you can be a bit more confident about your daily routines. However, it never hurts to talk to a doctor or nutritional expert. They can help you tailor a diet to your own personal exercise routine. After all, there’s a big difference between taking a 15-minute walk and running a marathon. So, the relationship between food and exercise is a bit different for every person.