FUEL your workouts!

May 14th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I have been there; the I’m-trying-to-lose-weight-so-I-need-to-eat-less-and-that-includes-when-I-exercise place.

But here’s the thing. Kind of like “fake it til you make it” you MUST eat if you want to really burn your calories when you exercise

You need to BURN while you exercise—that means sweaty effort—if you want to see changes in your body.    Study after study has shown that if you are hungry or do not have food in your system when you exercise, your perceived exertion is much higher and your effort output is diminished compared to when you exercise when properly fueled. 

Calories in, calories out is true.  You need to get those calories OUT, though, and the only way to do that is to exercise at an intense level.  The only way to reach that level is through proper fuel IN.

Because you want to get the most out of your exercise time as you can, if you aren’t properly fueled you are in a sense wasting your time because you just can’t bring a good level of energy to the session when you haven’t eaten.

Nature being what it is, you need to eat properly as much of the time as possible.  Know that I am not preaching here, and I understand.  (My greatest weaknesses are nachos and Cheez-its.)  But no one champions over adversity on a breakfast of Cheez-its.

So do your best to eat right (fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains) as often as possible.  Try to stop eating things that come out of boxes. 

And when you eat, think about the calories you consume as fuel rather than as food.  Do you want to run that 3 miles today on a breakfast of Hershey’s kisses or on a bowl of oatmeal with banana slices?  (I assure you, the run will go much MUCH better on the oatmeal.)

Experiment with what works for you and your exercise.  If you roll out of bed and head to the gym, munch on half a banana in the car on the way.  If you exercise after work, snack on a couple crackers with peanut butter in the middle of the afternoon.  You’re shooting for 100-250 calories, 15-30 grams of carbohydrate.

These are the calories that you will put to work when you exercise.  Make sure they are good ones and make sure you reach that sweaty effort in your workouts.

You are worth it.

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