Weight Training Questions - Over Exercising and
Weight Training Question:
a female and I workout 6 days a week with very intense exercises.
My workout is usually 2-3 hours long. I consume about 1,600 calories
a day on my workout days. I was wondering if I need to eat less
on my rest days so I don't gain weight? I am also about to go on
a trip to New York for 5 days and will not be able to exercise besides
walking around the city. Do I need to consume less calories during
Weight Training Answer:
Thanks for the great questions! From what you've told me you
aren't feeding your body enough. The average woman needs 2,000 per
day to maintain her body weight when she is not working out. Your
training alone would add about 1,500 calories per day on top of
this (for 2-3 hour workouts). And unless you are about 5 foot and
100 pounds, you simply need to eat more.
And unless you are training professionally you also need to cut
back on your workouts. Your body maxes out its energy stores after
about 60-90 minutes of intense training, which means you are likely
burning muscle after this time. What happens is your body can't
store protein and it needs protein to build lean muscle. So when
it's used up the protein from the food you've recently eaten, it
will skip your fat stores and head straight to breaking down your
muscle tissue. This is bad since you want to maintain the lean muscle
you've already worked so hard to build.
Your body will literally get protein from your muscles to use as
energy. Obviously you don't want this to happen. Also what happens
when you are unknowingly depriving your body of energy is it will
start to shut down. It shifts into starvation mode, lowers your
metabolism and burns as little energy as possible. Which of course
is the opposite of what you want, right?
This is one natural bodily defense that frustrates so many people.
They are eating next to nothing and still not losing weight. They
feel tired and sick and just can't drop any weight. By eating healthy
and regular, your body will begin burning calories again which will
help you gain energy and the fat will disappear.
first things first, you need to build your energy stores up before
your intense training. This means spreading out around 3,000 calories
minimum to start, equally throughout your day. Let your body trust
you and take off the "starvation" block it has on. Show
your body that you will feed it regularly and it will begin burning
more fat and calories.
Pay particular attention to getting protein and good carbs about
an hour before you train and after. The protein is for energy and
muscle building, while carbs are for longer term energy. And getting
complex carbohydrates into your system is going to help you get
fast and prolonged energy. As opposed to simple carbs like white
bread and cookies, that will give you a shot of energy and then
send your levels straight to the bottom of the barrel.
Because you are training with intensity for so long you're also
going to need to supplement throughout, like protein packets, and
make sure you at least have a protein drink and energy drink while
training. All you're doing is trying to keep your energy stores
up for the duration of your workout.
With the amount of food you are consuming now, you'd be wise to
keep your calories the same on your days off. This will make your
body "happy" and encourage it to burn more fat and calories.
With regards to your week away, good for you! I would use this time
to "shock" your system. Keep with your 1,600 to 2,000
calories a day and continue walking, and let nature take its course.
Change is good and as long as you eat healthy and get some walking
in, I suspect your body will reward you for giving it a break. Especially
seeing as you work your body so hard regularly, a breather is fantastic
for your mind and body. I know this is tough but it's the right
thing to do. It's needs to be mind over matter sometimes!
We are creatures of habit and become accustomed to routine. This
is a good thing but we also need to remind ourselves that changing
things up is also important, especially when maximizing results.
So what you need to do is increase your calories to start and you
can do this online by figuring out your BMR or Basil Metabolic Rate
by using FitTracker
and then factoring in your activity level. All you need to know
is your height in feet and inches, weight in pounds, and age. This
will give you your BMR. Then you plug in your activity level to
figure out the base line for calories you need to maintain your
If you have a nutritionist or trainer then they can easily do it
for you. Understanding how many calories your body truly needs each
day is where you need to start from. Now go have fun on your vacation
and enjoy changing things up!
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