When it comes to health and fitness, one of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt (again and again I might add) is listen to your body. It’s all well and good to have a plan of attack and a list of what to eat, drink, exercise and how to stretch, but take into account that some days we are more fragile than others, some days we are hungrier than others, and some days we are more tired than others. So learn to tune in and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.
With regards to eating differently for the various training sessions that you may partake in, yes you should be. On a day that you are practicing yoga, you won’t need as much fuel to replenish your stores compared to when you go for a long run. On the days that you train legs, you will need to eat more than on days that you train your upper body because you are working bigger muscle groups, which means that you will have to do more to recover.
First things first
The first thing you need to know is that glycogen is the body’s storage of energy, which is predominantly found in the muscles as well as smaller amounts in the liver. Among the macronutrients: carbohydrates and lipids can be stored; however, protein must be replenished daily. These macronutrients are essential for physical activity and each play a role in performance. Carbohydrates for example are a great source of quick energy for short bursts of expenditure such as sprinting, tabata etc.
Whereas, lipids and proteins are useful for endurance exercise which are converted to glucose molecules and used for energy. Protein is also especially important post-exercise as it helps to repair and replenish muscles.
Therefore, if you train on an empty stomach, your body will access stored glycogen for energy expenditure (hence why I like to train in the morning and why I occasionally fast).
I prefer to complete my cardio sessions earlier in the day on an empty stomach as it helps me to tap into my fat stores (great in the lead up to summer). If I’m wanting to drop some kilos I’ll adopt a diet high in good fats and low in carbohydrates (I somewhat follow a keto style diet), which will send my body into ketosis. This is where the body converts non-carbohydrate sources, such as lipids and amino acids into glucose and subsequently energy. Your body uses large amounts of energy during cardio which can often leaving you feeling ravenous post workout. It’s important not to gauge yourself on foods that may be hi GI or processed which are essentially empty calories.
After my cardio workouts, I replenish with BCAAs as well as glutamine which maintains an anabolic state but also helps reduce cortisol. In fact, I generally bring these two supplements with me everywhere I go.
SQUATS AND LIFTS
As mentioned above, squats and lifts require nearly every muscle in your body. If you choose to add weights you can guarantee that the intensity will draw on more reserves. In turn, this will increase your metabolism in the aim to generate more energy to facilitate the demands. On the days that I do these exercises, I eat a little more fat and protein, but as I am always on the go, I also supplement my body with a lean protein powder, such as the Hydroxyburn Lean 5 which contains a complete amino acid profile to help build and maintain lean muscle as well as aid recovery. This formula is also low in carbohydrates and fat and it contains Digezyme, which supports good gut health.
Since I am building muscle, my BCAAs – branch chain amino acids will also come into play here to help to prevent my muscles from breaking down. BCAA’s also help to hydrate and replenish muscles after strenuous exercise like squats and lifts where I incorporate weights because keep in mind that when you lift weights, your muscles tear and they need to be refueled to help them recover properly.
Whether it be a restorative yoga class or a light walk, gentle restorative exercises are great to keep the body moving, but you won’t need to do as much to refuel, replenish and recover. On these days, I tend to eat less and even cleaner (although I always eat pretty clean), i.e. nothing refined, nothing processed and nothing hi GI. It’s okay to have these days as they’re really important for the body to recover. The more we push ourselves the more stress and inflammation we create in the body. It’s also important not to stress over having an inactive day. After all, too much stress produces cortisol which tells your body it is in a state of danger.
Body Science’s latest ambassador Dan Conn is not only a popular fixture on the fitness + social media scenes, but more recently he has focused his sights on helping others who are battling depression + mental illness through his relationships with Lifeline, R U Ok, Collective Wellness Group and Body Science. Due to these relationships, Dan now the ability to reach over a million Aussies and his goal is now growing these brands into the BEST health franchises in each of their markets, while using them to increase mental health awareness. (something that is very close to Dan’s heart as he suffers from depression himself. Dan played in the NRL for seven years before being forced into retirement due to a neck injury. After that he helped build up the incredibly popular F45 franchises before moving onto Collective Wellness Group.