Article Summary: The Five Things That Happen to Your Body When You Quit Working Out

When you stop working out (even for just a week or two):

  1. Blood pressure increases (within a day, potentially!)
  2. You develop insulin resistance (body converts sugar into fat rather than using it as energy)
  3. Muscle size can shrink within a week (but not necessarily strength)
  4. VO2 max drops (ability to utilize oxygen well. “for every week you remain idle, it takes about three weeks to regain the lost adaptations” Yikes!)
  5. Grumipness takes over (“When you stop exercising, your body forgets how to handle stress. Because you’ve allowed your natural fight-or-flight response to atrophy, you’re less likely to experience something tough—whether an interval workout or a stressful workplace relationship—in a positive way. Instead, you get anxious.”)

 

The good news? They’re all pretty simple to reverse—or prevent entirely. Just keep moving! 😉

 

From <https://www.outsideonline.com/2175671/five-things-happen-your-body-when-you-quit-working-out

Fuel Up! Pre-Workout Eats

You lace up your sneakers, don your effects, and rush out the door to get to you workout. You start exuberantly, motivated, and energetic… but halfway through, you start to slow, and feel there’s just no wind in your sails. Or you finish, and you’re famished, entering that “hangry” state.

Did you skip a pre-exercise meal or snack?

The topic of what to eat before exercise can be confusing. A multitude of different organizations, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to the American College of Sports Nutrition, or Dietitians of Canada, and more, all have their own recommendations for what you should consume before you go workout, down the specific gram of carbs/proteins/fat to kilograms of your body weight. (We can dive deeper into that another time. The focus here today is just on some baseline ideas.)

Thankfully, they all agree on one important point: do what feels best for you! And it may take some trial and error.

“Training Low,” or intentionally training in a carb-depleted or fasted state, is starting to be studied more. But currently, it is not a typical recommendation. (Speak to your coach or dietitian to see if this is an individualized approach that can safely be done for you, if you are interested) Normally depleted stores are associated with fatigue, reduced work rates, impaired skill and concentration, and increased perception of effort. So generally it is recommended that you consume some proper foods before physical activity to help fuel you towards your goals of weight loss and/or muscle gain.

Having something to eat before going to workout can greatly enhance your efforts. Eating some carbohydrate-rich foods will give you more fuel in your body to help push harder in your workout. A little bit of protein will help with muscle feeding and repair. Hydration is also key, as even mild dehydration can cause drops in your performance, which usually means fewer calories burned or less weights moved. Why not get the most bang for your exercise buck?

It is the amounts, timing, and form of food that are highly dependent upon your own preferences and tolerances. The goal is to provide enough food and fuel before your workout that you can achieve a top-notch effort without feeling hungry, but not too much nor too close to the workout time as to cause cramping, nausea, or other stomach distress.

If you eat 3-4 hours before you exercise, you may do better with a more meal-sized intake. If you eat only 1-2 hours before, a snack will usually do. If you don’t have time to eat well ahead of the activity, a small snack or liquid form may sit best. Just make sure you’re not undoing your weight goals by consuming excess calories! Simply plan ahead to spread your food out around your workout time.

Pre-workout Meal Ideas:

  • Bowl of oatmeal with fruit or honey
  • Brown Rice and Veggie Stir Fry
  • Whole grain bagel with chicken and avocado
  • Salad topped with beans and corn or quinoa

Pre-workout Snack Ideas:

  • Handful of almonds and a cheese stick
  • Fruit and a ½ cup of yogurt
  • Slice or two of wheat toast with nut butter
  • Wheat pita and hummus

Pre-workout Drink Ideas:

  • Low fat milk (some people like chocolate milk, but there is added sugar, so decide if that is right for you)
  • Small fruit, protein powder, and milk/milk substitute smoothie
  • Meal-replacement drink that includes 15-30g Carbohydrate

Bonus Boost: having coffee about an hour before a workout has been shown to boost results! Caffeine is a common aid to help increase time to exhaustion in aerobic endurance exercise bought, decrease ratings of perceived exertion, and improve physical performance even during periods of sleep deprivation.


SOURCES:

American College of Sports Medicine, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, a Joint Position Statement. “Nutrition and Athletic Performance.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. (2016) 543-568. Print.

Campbell, Bill I., Spano, Marie A. NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Human Kinetics. 2011. Book.

Dunford, Marie; Macedonio, Michele. “A Step-by-step Process for Helping Athletes Achieve Optimal Performance Weight and Body Composition.” Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo. Nashville, TN. 4 Oct 2015. Conference Presentation.

Patgieter, S. “Sports Nutrition: A review of the latest guidelines for exercise and sport nutrition from the American College of Sport and Nutrition, the International Olympic Committee and the International Society for Sports Science” S Afr Journal of Clinical Nutrition 26.1 (2013). 6-16. Print.

“Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. March. 109.3 (2009): 509-527. Print.

Don’t Be Sabotaged by Sports Drinks

We’ve all seen them: the average gym-goer pumping away on the elliptical machine, sweating and striving towards their goals, and 15 minutes in, they pick up a neon-pink fluid and chug away. Bless their hearts, they really are trying to improve their health!

While I don’t think of sports drinks as necessary for anyone, really, and I think there are more natural ways of replenishing after a good workout, I know a lot of people still prefer to turn to an easy bottle after getting their sweat on at the gym. But even so, popular sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, are not usually necessary for the average person. Named after the Florida Gators, Gatorade was originally created to help re-hydrate and provide electrolytes for professional athletes who are training intensely for several hours.

If you’re a calorie counter, here are some numbers you may want to keep in mind:

1 bottle of a sports drink tends to contain 2.5  8-ounce servings, and packs an average of 150 to 160 calories.

  • 30 minutes of moderate walking (3 mph) burns: 100 calories
  • 30 minutes of elliptical machine: 210 calories
  • 30 minutes of moderate biking (12-13 mph): 250 calories
  • 30 minutes of jogging (6 mph): 310 calories

Replenishing drinks, if you drink them, are more for workouts that last longer than 30 minutes and if you have been working quite intensely and sweating heavily. If you only workout 30 minutes, water is sufficient for rehydrating – you won’t have lost enough electrolytes to even need anything more! Don’t let the calories of these drinks sabotage your workout. Be label savvy! 

Coconut water is being looked at more and more as a natural way to replenish your electrolyte balance after a long sweat. It has a good balance of potassium, natural sodium, manganese and magnesium; as well as some calcium and copper and other trace minerals – without added chemicals, colorings, or preservatives. It does still contain natural sugars and it does have calories, so it’s still something to be aware of.  But when you want a refreshing replenishment, maybe give this a try and see how you feel!  You can find coconut water at most grocery stores, or if you’re a lucky Saipan resident, coconuts are usually found as close as your own back yard.

In the states, Chocolate Milk has become a common post-workout recovery drink. Not only does it contain protein and the slow-carbs of lactose, but the sugar added from the chocolate is a quick source to replenish your glycogen stores. It’s your call on the idea of the processed sugars – I prefer to avoid it, but you can experiment on yourself after a long, intense workout and see how you feel and how you recover.

For me, even with an hour of HIIT work or heavy lifting supersets each day, I still prefer to use water for my hydration needs. And then refuel with a collagen protein shake when I’m finished. Find what works for you!

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