With the holiday season weight loss mania already setting in, I can see flocks of people rushing to the gym, running for hours till they drop, lifting weights more than their body weight with a sole purpose to look slimmer and fitter than the last holiday season!! Yeah!! Why not?? I am also one of them!

Been said a million times all over, it is very clear that correct nutrition is very essential even when workout regimes are a part of your daily chores.  Depending on the kind of physical activity you are about to perform, it is necessary to replenish your muscles first so that it can help you expend the energy and burn calories for you. Whether you meditate and stretch with yoga or dance the Zumba style, all require constant supply of energy to sustain the activity for long.

 High Intensity Short Duration Workout:

Work out right.

Depending upon the duration and intensity of workout, our body will use the available sources of fuel. Any high intensity, short duration activity like weight lifting, sprinting, competitive running, rock climbing, swimming, circuit training and boxing will require spontaneous flow of energy. Such activities utilize the stored energy from muscles. These activities may burn fewer calories, since the body does not have to do much to supply energy. Energy is readily available from the muscles. However, such activities do not continue for long without a break since muscles cannot store enough energy to sustain activities for longer durations.  The advantage of such activities is it strengthens your muscles and helps to tone and define a shape thereby giving your body perfect cuts and curves.  Besides, it charges up the muscles to such an extent that even after the workout, your muscles are constantly working to burn energy though in smaller amounts. This is why strength exercise is believed to boost your metabolism since it keeps the cells burning for long.

Since high intensity workout requires instant flow of energy along with strong muscles, your pre workout meal must supply a combination of carbohydrates and proteins. Carbohydrates will provide instant energy for example whole fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, pear or even a boiled potato. Proteins will prevent and replenish any muscle damage and increase the strength. Best sources will be whole eggs.  If you choose to have an energy bar, ensure it must supply more of carbohydrates than proteins and fats. Consuming milkshakes is a bad idea since they make you feel blotted and hinder in high intensity performance.  Fruit juices do provide instant energy but this energy is utilized very fast and you may run at a risk of energy depletion in middle of your performance.

Medium/ Low Intensity Long Duration Workout:

Eat right before you run.

Depending upon the duration of the activity, the body will first consume energy from muscles just like the high intensity workout. However, within minutes of activity, the body will switch over the source of fuel and now start utilizing stored fats as the source of energy. Activities like low pace running, prolonged jogging, brisk walk, skipping, aerobics, zumba dance, salsa etc fall in this category. Such activity is best suited for people who target to lose fat percent. When the body is working out for longer duration with medium intensity, there is certainly increased intake of oxygen.  It is in presence of this increased oxygen, that the body switches the source of fuel from carbohydrates to stored fats. As a result, the body now burns fat to produce energy. Interestingly, 1 gm of fat will produce 9 kcal almost double of what 1 gm of carbohydrate can produce.  Such activity is good for people who want to increase their heart capacity, lose excess fat, and increase endurance. It is very true that once you tune your body to cardio activity, you feel more energetic to perform after 20 mins of sustained exercise. This is because, by this time the body has switched to fats which produces more energy than carbohydrates with increased amount of oxygen running in your system which energizes you to perform for longer.

The best pre workout meal for such activities will be a whole fruit or any source of simple carbohydrates like dates, just before the workout. Again, fruit juices should be avoided since it will be easily utilized in first few minutes and the liquid form will hinder in performance.

Right amounts of carbohydrate and proteins are very essential to help the body to switch over the right source of fuel during out performance. Pre workout meal is not just about carbohydrates and proteins. Certainly it requires combinations of vitamins and minerals as well.  Pre workout meals are available in the market in the form of sports bar, energy drinks and sometime even power packed tablets. It is advisable to evaluate your level and intensity of workout before you start consuming them. To know more about pre workout and post workout meals, and customize one for you write to myplate@gmail.com.