Monday, July 11, 2011

Food And Exercise

The ideal time for your pre workout meal is an hour before you start. This is to allow time for the food you consume to digest and be used readily during your workout. If you plan to work at a low intensity level, you should keep your pre workout meal down to 200 calories or so. If you plan to work at a high level of intensity, you will probably need your meal to be between 2,000 and 3,000 calories.

I would recommend consuming an approximate mix of 2/3 carbs and 1/3 protein before a cardio session. This will provide you longer sustained energy from the extra carbs with enough protein to keep your muscle from breaking down while you exercise.

Another practice you can consider is consuming simple carbohydrates (fruits, fruit juices) and/or protein shake 15 to 30 minutes before your workout to provide the body with an immediate energy source.
For resistance exercise, I would recommend a mixture of 1/3 carbs and 2/3 protein, as this will provide you enough energy from the carbs to perform each set and the extra protein will prevent muscle breakdown to a minimum while you exercise.

Your post workout meal is just as important as your pre workout meal. Anytime you exercise, whether its cardio or resistance, you deplete energy in the form of glycogen. The brain and central nervous system rely on glycogen as their main source of fuel, so if you don't replace it after you exercise, your body will begin to break down muscle tissue into amino acids, converting them into usable fuel for the brain and the central nervous system and that is what we do not want. We do not want to lose muscle tissue. Usually after a cardio session, you'll need to consume mainly carbohydrates, preferably those with high fiber such as rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and northern fruits. Try to also consume 30 - 50 grams of these types of carbs after you exercise. It is fine to consume food 5 - 10 minutes after your cardio workout.

Once you've finished a resistance workout, a combination of carbs and protein is what you need. Unlike cardio workouts, resistance workouts will break down muscle tissue by creating micro tears.
Protein is needed after a resistance workout to build up and repair these micro tears. The muscle can then increase in size and strength. The carbs will not only replace the lost muscle glycogen, but will also help to transfer protein into muscle cells so it can synthesize into structural protein, or the muscle itself.
After your resistance exercise, I would recommend consuming of food after 30 minutes so that blood won't be taken away from your muscles too fast. The blood in your muscles will help the repair process by removing the metabolic waste products.

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