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Sunday morning, bike ride with friends. Time for lunch. One of your teammates takes out two cereal bars or muesli, and another one a banana and a mixture of dried fruits. When we lead an active life when it comes to exercise, our body is in ceaseless movement and, therefore, in incessant need of energy. We can opt for either calories to recharge the comburent, as with the bars, or for thick nutrients, as with bananas and nuts, which is better?

Specialists have been insisting for decades that to lose weight or achieve a better physical appearance we must cut calories. Other specialists stress the need to choose the right calories to achieve this. That's when the thousand and one doubts arise about how to achieve the balance between supporting your weight and eating properly to recover from physical exhaustion and be at unbeatable levels to, for example, compete in the beginner circuit, cycling tourism or participate in races or marathons or half marathons.

Before going any further, keep in mind that this article is aimed at athletes or very active athletes who train regularly and are interested in losing weight for performance reasons. People who do not follow an intensive training program and simply seek to lose weight cannot adjust to these tips, as they differ completely from the rules and practices that should be followed.

At first glance, energy in the form of nutrients seems to be the best choice. We must then estimate the volume of training and what is spent through the exercise. This way we can determine whether or not a calorie-rich diet may be the best option. Things get even more confusing when we start to look at what kind of energies are burned throughout the training and throughout the Sabbaths.

For example, we know that when we train at higher intensities we need more carbohydrates, so in such a case, opting for high-density nutrients would not work. If we train at a lower intensity, and want to burn fat, thick calories are not the best option for weight loss.

The answer to this question lies in the balance between the two: we need thick nutrients and calories.

Why do we need nutrient-rich foods?

If you look at how your body processes calories, blood sugar plays a key role in determining whether to use or store excess calories as fat. Science tells us that if blood sugar levels can be kept stable, insulin will not be produced so quickly that calories are stored as fat.

Nutrient-rich foods help create an environment that makes our body more dependent on stored fat, while we are not supplying it with superfluous carbohydrates.

In other words, if our blood sugar level continually needs to be recharged with starch or carbohydrates, insulin works by directing those calories to the muscles themselves for storage or, when they are supplied, to increase fat reserves. In this situation, higher levels of insulin prevent our body from being able to burn up the stores.

This is good reasoning to make sure we have the right thick nutrients in our bodies. But this is exactly what most people overlook: even though we can achieve our goals by consuming more thicker nutrients throughout the day, eliminating certain starches and refined foods, and then appreciating the results by achieving a slimmer waist, it will mean that we are sacrificing the quality of our workout... and that is where calories play an essential role.

Why do we need high-calorie foods?

So here's the crux of the matter: while they may not be as healthy as nutrient-rich foods, consuming calorific foods even before, during and after training can really help us lose weight and achieve better results. According to the duration and also the intensity of our training, high-calorie foods will help us to achieve a higher quality training, such as faster restoration.

As an ancillary benefit, they give us the ability to train over a longer period of time at a higher intensity, which will allow us to monitor excess weight even better. Calories should not be limited throughout training. Well, why wouldn't you fill up half your gas tank for a ten-hour trip?

After we have supplied our body with enough energy for our training, we can then begin to introduce more nutrient-rich foods to sustain a convenient flow of nutrients into the bloodstream. When this happens, our body rewards us by keeping our metabolism accelerated, which is known as post-metabolic blog burning. It is also what the article-training gives us when combined with a nutrient-rich diet: fat burning over hours after training.

Are you going to aim to lose weight with popular strategies like skipping breakfast or eating low-calorie groceries? Accordingly, you may be putting at risk the loss of your own precise muscle mass so that your body can train itself in an unbeatable way day by day, while tempting to increase physical exhaustion and pain, muscle fatigue, mental exhaustion and potential injuries.

In short, eating a lot of high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods even before, during and right after training is necessary and also essential. For the rest of the day, eat thick nutrients. This meal planning will progress your performance and let your body burn up excess fat.

Finding the perfect balance

So how do you manage a balanced nutritional strategy? We leave you with some good practices:

  1. Whatever you do, don't skip breakfast. The first meal of the day will jump-start your metabolism and help keep your blood sugar levels stable so you don't overeat for the rest of the day.
  2. Hydrate yourself constantly. Don't be afraid to use isotonic drinks to regain electrolyte levels if you're training hard every single day.
  3. Keep some fresh fruit and nuts in your desk drawer or in the glove compartment of your car. By the time you start paying attention to your blood sugar levels, you'll realize how often you need them.
  4. Don't train on an empty stomach. Try to eat a light snack an hour and a half or 2 hours before training. If you want to burn a clean slate, consume a little carbohydrates to light the fuse and stoke the fire.
  5. Concentrate most of your carbohydrate intake, such as starch or sugar, in the hours before and after training, so that your body has a fast source of energy to continue at its maximum.
  6. Find out about your basal metabolic rate, which is the daily calorific expenditure we need, regardless of the exercise we do. Try to understand the amount of calories you eat, don't try to guess.
  7. When preparing your 3 main meals each day, try to divide the dish into 3 equal parts: 1/3 protein, 1/3 healthy fat and 1/3 fruit, vegetables and grains. This is the nutrient-thick part of your day after day. Keep it stable and enjoy the energy it gives.
  8. When we recover after training, the rule of the thirds becomes more irrelevant. Choose healthy foods, but with carbohydrates and calories that are easier to digest, such as bananas or sports drinks. Find out what's right for your stomach.

If you work hard to achieve this balance and adopt it as a habit, you'll see that you can eat more (speaking in terms of calories), lose weight and give in to the limit.

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