Tuesday, January 4, 2011

well, there you go.

Hmmm.  Interesting.  I was just reading my Real Simple magazine for January and I came across something that I have pondered in the past.

Q. I never know if I should eat before or after working out. Which one is it?

A. Eat afterward.  Most of the fuel you use during exercise doesn't come from the food you've recently eaten.  It comes from carbohydrates (called glycogen) and fat stored in cells in our muscles, liver, and elsewhere.  The glycogen and fat work in tandem to give you enough energy to power through one or two hours of intense exercise -- more than enough time for most people.  But if you tend to feel light-headed during a vigorous workout (blood sugar levels fall during the first 20 minutes of exercise), eat a small 150-calorie snack about 30 minutes prior to your session.  Try easily digested carbohydrates like juice, a banana, or a bagel (but avoid whole-wheat varieties, which are digested more slowly since they contain high amounts of fiber).

After a solid, heart-pumping workout, your body enters what is known as "the golden hour," where your muscles absorb the most nutrients and when glycogen is replaced most efficiently -- but only if you eat a little something.  If you don't take advantage of this brief window with a light snack, your body may not recover as quickly and you could feel a bit sluggish the next day.  Most experts suggest a post-exercise meal consisting of protein and carbohydrates, since studies show the addition of protein helps your body absorb carbohydrates more efficiently after exercise.  Try a peanut butter sandwich on multi-grain bread or yogurt topped with granola (Leave the raw eggs to the guy in the muscle shirt).

I've heard about the elusive 'golden hour' and the benefits of eating soon after exercise but now I know the reason behind it (I love nerdy factoids like this).  Also, I generally do not eat before I run in the morning unless I'm feeling sluggish or I'm going for a loooong-ish run (like more than 10 miles) and then I'll have a Clif bar or a glass of orange juice and then I bring an energy gel or two for the later part of the run.  Don't you just love learning about glycogen stores and the Kreb's cycle?

(I know this is random to have a picture of a dead coyote but I came across this while trail running this summer on the Upper Shoreline trail in SLC. It freaked me the eff out, I'll tell ya. And just around the corner from this guy was a half-eaten deer carcass!! Welcome to the wild, wild West!)

What time of day do you run/work out?  Do you eat before?  Have you ever seen a coyote this close before? (I pretended he was sleeping instead of dead... it made me feel better.)

1 comment:

  1. I usually exercise later in the day, around 4 or 5ish. Ahh learning about the Kreb cycle brings back bad biochem memories.


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