Long Answer: Yes, and here’s why!

Maybe you are trying to lose weight. Maybe you have heard about intermittent fasting and are giving it a try. Maybe you have heard that working out on an empty stomach will allow you to burn more fat. Maybe you just aren’t hungry before a morning workout. Whatever the reason, we have come to realize that many (most?!) of our hard working clients are not eating before your workout! Here’s why this may be doing you more harm than good and counteracting all that effort you are bringing to your workout.

Power Plate workouts fall into the category of high intensity training. Even our low intensity classes are burning calories at a high intensity level due to the vibration. This requires our body to access energy quickly. Quick energy comes in the form of carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins. When we exercise on an empty stomach, we haven’t given our body the fuel it needs to complete the workout. So, what happens? Well, many think (incorrectly!) that you will get this energy from fat. But, during a short, intense workout, your body does not have enough time to tap into those fat stores for quick energy. Instead, your body breaks down your muscle into the protein and energy it needs for the workout. Let me say that again, because it’s important. When you workout on an empty stomach, your body burns muscle instead of fat, the exact opposite of what you are hoping for when you weight train. And if you are over 55, this is even more important, as muscle loss is already a big concern!

A caveat: There are some studies that show that participants did burn more fat during their workout when they exercised on an empty stomach (ie – fasting). There are other studies, however, that have shown no difference in fat loss. Those that did show greater fat loss are primarily looking at cardiovascular exercises at a low-moderate intensity. One study had participants bicycle at a moderate pace for 30 minutes and then gave them a 15 minute time trial. The study found that the participants did burn more fat while fasting. But “despite these benefits participants covered slightly less distance during the 15 minute time trial performance, had a lower motivation to exercise and enjoyed the exercise less when done fasted….fasting during the day does appear to reduce people’s exercise performance, motivation and enjoyment, which may make it harder for some people to stick with it in the longer term.(1)” So, the takeaway here is that for long term success, a fueled workout is best.
What’s a committed Power Plate user to do?! Read on to find out.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M LOSING MUSCLE VS. FAT?

The scale may tell you if you are losing weight, but how do you know if its fat or muscle? Great question. To answer it, you need to know your body composition numbers. Some newer bathroom scales are able to give you a rough estimate of body fat percentage. Here at the studio, we have a highly accurate InBody machine, which can give an accurate reading in 45 seconds to let us know if your muscle mass is increasing or decreasing.

Benefits of Eating Before a Workout:Better performance and more energy – you will be able to workout harder, therefore seeing more gains and burning more caloriesLess lightheadedness/dizinessLess stress on your body, which means less cortisol, which means less fat retentionDecreases the risk of losing muscle mass, and helps to GAIN muscle mass instead

WHAT SHOULD I EAT?

Before workout:

  • Protein and carbs, such as:
    • Banana and peanut butter
    • Hard Boiled Egg and berries
    • Greek yogurt
    • Protein smoothie with frozen fruit
    • Oatmeal with flaxseed and pumpkin seeds
  • Aim to eat about 30-60 mins before your workout to allow some time for digestion

After workout:

  • Protein, fat, and carbs, such as:
    • Protein shake (also helps to re-hydrate you!)
    • Banana + peanut butter
    • Almonds + apple
    • Yogurt + fruit
    • Chia pudding + nuts + fruit
  • Aim to eat some protein (snack) no later than 20 minutes after your workout
  • Aim for a larger meal ~3 hrs after workout with lots of protein and some complex carbohydrates to replenish. 

The rest of the day:

  • Aim for a larger meal ~3 hrs after workout with lots of protein and some complex carbohydrates to replenish. Examples:
    • Chicken, quinoa, and broccoli
    • Salmon, rice, and salad
    • Taco Bowl with rice, black beans, veggies, and cheese
  • Aim for protein at every meal snack. If you are hoping to build/maintain muscle, you need 1.35 grams of protein per lb of body weight. This is around 50-75 grams of protein per day for most people depending on your weight.
  • Aim for an adequate amount of calories
  • Aim for lots of fruits and veggies which will provide fiber and critical vitamins and minerals
  • Hydrate!


Need more help with your nutrition plan? We are here to help! Contact us at 239-371-9611 or hello@fitforyounaples.com for a consultation.

We’ll address the concept of intermittent fasting in another post!


REFERENCE:

Slater, T., Mode, W. J., Pinkney, M. G., Hough, J., James, R. M., Sale, C., James, L. J., & Clayton, D. J. (2023). Fasting Before Evening Exercise Reduces Net Energy Intake and Increases Fat Oxidation, but Impairs Performance in Healthy Males and Females, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 33(1), 11-22. Retrieved Jun 12, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2022-0132

Lydia Dant 10:15 AM (0 minutes ago) to me