Calorie Intake: Before, During and After Workout
The road of health and fitness is not an easy one to travel, and requires as much careful planning as it does strenuous exertion. Energy levels must be maintained, so that your 30-60 minutes or more of daily workout time produce maximum effects on your overall wellness.
Keys to losing weight, building and toning muscle, and becoming an all-around “fit” person are simple to remember, but harder to practice because it involves the human will, which can often become easily tempted and discouraged. Bottom line is this: eat enough calories to energize your metabolism, but fewer than you burn in a given day, and in time you will feel better and look better.
But working out often presents a problem in itself, especially if you’re just stepping back into the fitness pool. Nothing is more discouraging when you feel like you’ve really pushed it, and you look down at the treadmill to see you’ve only burned 300 calories in 30 minutes of exercise. Such scenarios tax your energy levels, and could burn you out more quickly.
No worries, there are ways to take control of your energy levels before and during a workout that will elevate your performance and burn more calories. It involves two things: dieting and timing.
What to Eat Before Workout
Within an hour before a workout, it is a good idea to have a small 100-300 calorie snack that is high in complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates – in other words, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and grains – are the building blocks of a successful workout. It takes only 1-2 hours for complex carbohydrates to exit the stomach, making them ideal energy sources for a pre-workout meal. Regarding calories, men should stick with 200-300 calorie snacks, while women should err toward the lower end at 100-200.
Intake During Workout
During a workout, hydration is key. Calorie intake during a workout is similar to pumping gas while your car is still running. Doesn’t necessarily do a lot of harm, but what good does it do? Your workout’s main objective is to burn calories, just like your car’s is to burn gasoline. Doing something counterproductive to this purpose doesn’t make a lot of sense. So stick with water. Typical suggestion for a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet is 8 cups, or 64 ounces. More doesn’t hurt, and 20-40 ounces during a workout has always worked for me. Know your body, and adjust accordingly.
Calories After Workout
The rule to stay hydrated is just as essential after the workout as it is during. Make sure you’re drinking your allotted amount each day. No serious penalties for overdoing it, but try not to fall in under the 64-ounce mark. In addition to hydration, it is also a good idea to add protein within 30 minutes of finishing a workout. Whey protein shakes are excellent sources, and highly affordable if bought in the powder form.
Remember that careful planning and diligent exercise go hand-in-hand if fitness and wellness are your goals. With a little thought and faithful execution, those goals can be reached sooner than you might think.