The elevated appetite we experience after a gym session can falsely lead us to believe that we can eat whatever we want. However, this is not the case. No matter how hard we train, the concept of energy balance still applies whereby to maintain a healthy body weight, our energy expenditure needs to match our energy intake or to lose weight, our energy expenditure needs to exceed our energy intake. Our body/physique is approximately made up from 80% diet and 20% training. So your diet has by far the biggest contribution to your physique. Therefore, calculating how much energy you burn each day is critical to help you tailor your diet and energy intake to suit your lifestyle.
The health guidelines recommend that we consume 30% of our diet from fats, 30% from protein and 40% from carbohydrates. If you don’t eat enough protein and alternatively consume a higher portion of carbohydrates and fats, your body reduces the amount of lean mass it can built after your session and alternatively stores more fat. Therefore the types of foods you eat also need to be considered. For example if you consume a lot of fast foods such as fried chicken or a Big Mac and high sugary foods such as chocolate and sweets, not only can this deteriorate your motivation to exercise, but it can also impair the leanness of your body by increasing the volume of fat your body stores. These high fat and sugary foods are very energy dense which means that you would need to consume a lot smaller portion than a ‘healthy’ meal to maintain energy balance. The level of exercise you would need to complete after eating a Big Mac meal and milkshake is very difficult for the average human to achieve. Alternatively, try to choose lean meats and slow releasing carbohydrates such as rice and pasta for steady and consistent energy levels throughout the day.
Research has shown that those who track and plan their food are far more likely to be successful in achieving their goals. Keeping a food diary helps enhance your awareness of what, how much and why you are eating. Having a high protein as opposed to high sugar snack can also increase your satiety to limit your ‘want’ to overindulge
REMEMBER, cheat days are allowed, but be careful not to eat so many calories that your hard work throughout the week gets ruined. Consistency is key to achieving your goals