Wellness Wednesday – Week 11

You may think it’s contrary to your goals to put more calories into your system when you’re sweating it out to burn them off, but exercise is the time your body most needs fuel.  Trying to exercise without energy in your system is like trying to coax your car to run when it’s out of gas; you may be able to coast a bit (if you are faced downhill), but you certainly won’t get any power. If you deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to repair and refuel post-workout, you may find that your body does not perform the way you want it the next time you head to the gym.  Although some exceptions exist, you are best off eating a healthy snack before and after your workout in order to lose weight.

Before a workout – a real sweat-inducing workout that lasts 45 minutes or longer, not a 20-minute stroll around the block – you need energy, preferably in the form of carbohydrates to get you moving.  Carbs are the primary fuel source for the body.  Without them, your body doesn’t suddenly start burning a whole lot of fat; instead, it turns to burning lean muscle.  A meta analysis published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in February 2011 examined multiple studies on the topic of exercising in a unfed state.  The analysis concluded that you will burn about the same amount of fat whether you eat before or after exercising.  However, if you don’t eat, your body is more likely to burn muscle in addition to fat, and your intensity and total calorie burn will reduced.  Regularly burning off muscle can lower your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.  Having a snack doesn’t have to be huge – 100 to 200 calories will do.  Aim for food that is mostly carbohydrates with a little high-quality protein, especially if you plan to do cardio.  Some examples are half of a whole-wheat bagel topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter; a banana with some low-fat yogurt; or a few almonds and an apple.

For more information on this article, visit: http://www.livestrong.com/article/399834-is-it-better-to-eat-before-or-after-a-workout-to-lose-weight/

How many calories does physical activity use?

A 154-pound man (5′ 10″) will use up about the number of calories listed doing each activity below.  Those who weigh more will use more calories, and those who weigh less will use fewer.  The calorie values listed include both calories used by the activity and the calories used for normal body functioning.

wellness image

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