Sunday, January 18, 2009

Exercise Help

So, now that I am actually exercising regularly I need some serious help! I sure don't want to do all this for, um, nothing!!!! :-)

So... When's the best time of day to exercise?? (I usually do it in the evening as I'm just not a morning person.) Also, what's the "rules" on what to eat before exercising and how long before do you need to eat??? How about afterwards??? What to eat and about how long after do you chow down???

I've found a few things online... Like. Eat high carbs about an hour before hand to give you energy and eat high protein within 30 minutes after to help soreness. BUT, is this true??? What's your experiences??? PLEASE oh PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share thoughts on this!!!!! I'm bbbbbbbbbbeeeeeeeeeeeggggggggggggggggggggggiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggggg!

And now I'm done. But I'm looking forward to reading responses so that I can get the most bang for my buck! :-)

Thanks my world wide friends!


kate said...

I'm a runner (well, a fat runner, but a runner all the same...), and as far as I understand, unless you are doing crazy heavy training, then the carb/protein/fat blend doesn't really matter that much. The high-carb-before-workout thing applies mostly to endurance sports. And if that's what you're working on, you should probably follow that advice. But, if you're doing a more intense aerobic type workout (non-endurance) you will probably be done exercising long before your body gets to the point that it burns all of it's existing energy stores and needs to tap into something more. As long as you have enough energy to do whatever activity you do, I think you'll be fine.

That said, I notice on days when I train, I am SUPER hungry for carbs afterwards. For a while, on the advice of a trainer, I was eating a protein bar 20-30 minutes after working out, but I didn't notice any discernible difference in my muscle comfort or my muscle building, etc. So now I skip it. If you are weight training, specifically, your protein needs might be different. Basically, if you workout and you are bone-tired for the rest of the day, chances are you aren't getting enough calories.

Of course, it bears mentioning that depending on your goal (overall fitness, muscle tone, fat loss, weight loss, etc.), your nutrition needs will be different. If you are going for weight loss, obviously you will need to calculate your calories to be at a deficit, which may leave you feeling tired regardless.

If you're worried about soreness the best advice I can give is to ALWAYS do a thorough stretch after working out. I spend 15-30 minutes post-workout slowly stretching each muscle group I used. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn't stretch before a workout (muscles are too cold), and if you feel the need to anyway, then it's best to do some brief warm-up (brisk walk for 5 minutes) and then do any stretching.

In general, I like to leave a minimum of 45 minutes between eating and working out. It's just more comfortable for me, personally. I prefer more like an hour and a half between food and running, but that's only if I can stretch my day like that.

I think the best time of day to exercise depends on your habits. I, too, am not a morning person, and even if I was, I also have exercise-induced asthma, and I have to give myself a 3 hour lead time with the pills I take (and a 45 minute lead with the inhaler), so I wouldn't have time in the morning anyway (unless I woke up early just to take my medicine, which I do on race days, since most races start no later than 9). Mornings just don't work for me. Some people swear by it, because you get it out of the way before you are able to build excuses, things are less likely to get in your way, and you're able to shower, etc. at your usual time, so you lose less time in the day to a workout. But it just doesn't work for some people and I'm one of them.

When I first started exercising to lose weight three years ago, I was a dedicated early-evening exerciser. I would get home from work, drink some water, change clothes, pop in the DVD and be done in time to cook dinner and relax some before going to bed. It worked for me.

But now, I'm in school full time, and my last semester schedule worked best for me to work out at around 2 pm. I was done with classes by 12:30, and so I could come home, grab a bite, hydrate, puff the inhaler, and then hit the treadmill. This upcoming semester, I will have to figure out new habits since all of my classes start at 2:00 pm or later... not sure how I'll do that one! I may have to become an early-in-the-day person! No fun!

My goals towards working out have changed, too. I would love to lose more weight, but right now, I'm focusing on being the best runner I can be, and I can't do that if I'm cutting too many calories. Therefore, what I eat and when I eat it will reflect that. In general, I eat well- that is, I eat a generally low-fat, high-fiber (high-nutrition) diet, and I try to keep my portions reasonable. But if I'm hungry, I certainly eat. And even though it hasn't really been the focus, by paying attention to hunger, I've been able to not only become a healthier, better runner, I've also lost some weight.

Ah. Sorry for the long comment. If I hadn't introduced myself (I think I did a long time ago...), I'm Kate, and I'm the "clicker" for the In The Beginning category of the blogroll. I also happen to be an avid runner, and so- ask and you shall receive! In bounty!

Making Babies said...

:) Ok, I was going to comment. But I think it's been covered by Kate. ;-)

I know I've read something about heart rate??? But now I can't remember.....

Sorry Megs, I'm useless... I do however need some inspiration to get my butt off this chair and do something too!!!!

Shelby said...

Haha, considering its been literal MONTHS since I have stepped foot into the gym or biked, I am not your go-to-girl, but I want to give you mad props for getting on the bandwagon! That first step is always the hardest.