Can we simply ‘burn off’ the effects of junk food and by diet and lose weight that way? Or is there more to it? When it comes to slimming down, there are a few factors that come into play. One of the most commonly discussed is the 80/20 rule: that is, the formula for shedding pounds which proposes eating a healthy diet 80 percent of the time and devoting 20 percent of your time to exercise. Everything in moderation The 80/20 ratio is just a guideline - you don’t need to hit it exactly to lose weight but it’s a great estimate. It’s possible to torch the pounds without exercise, but not exercising can often lead to cravings that come with negative emotions. Without the right nutrition, your energy expenditure is futile. But the 80/20 rule applies to the actual food you eat too - eating wholesome, healthy food 80 percent of the time and saving 20 percent for foods that are low in nutrition. Restriction is not sustainable and small splurges on ‘unhealthy’ foods can actually help boost your motivation to eat well, as well as your happiness, according to research into ‘planned hedonic deviations’. Food comes first If you want to maintain or lose weight, diet is crucial. The actual trick to achieving weight loss is to reach a negative energy balance - i.e. consuming less calories than you burn. To shed one single pound, you need a 3,500 calorie deficit. Busy lifestyles don’t always allow that kind of calorie burning every day and the average person cannot keep it up, which is why the food you eat plays a huge role in torching weight. Anyone who has ever been on a treadmill knows how long it takes to reach that 500 calorie mark. What are you actually craving? When it comes to the diet vs exercise debate, it’s important to look at the signals your body gives out when you lack in either one of them. Cravings. Whether you’re hankering a big bag of salty fries or a gallon of ice cream, there’s often a message behind it - even when they seem to pop up out of nowhere. Often, these signals indicate a lack of nourishment elsewhere in your life - it could be something missing in your diet, the need for physical movement, or even a repercussion of your work or relationships. For example, craving late-night snacks can often indicate a peak in cortisol levels (hormones released when you’re stressed). You may not actually need that huge bowl of sugary cereal at 11pm - you could probably relieve the urge with stress-relieving yoga or a relaxing bath. Putting it all together What you eat matters. Exercise matters. If you’re working out, you need to put quality fuel in your body to repair the body post-workout and get ready to conquer the next one. For a good sweat session to work, you need high-quality foods - protein, fat and carbs from wholesome sources - to give you the energy you need to tackle it. If you need extra ‘wiggle room’ in either of them, be more flexible with your fitness regime before you jeopardize your diet and nutrition. Moderation is the key to weight loss success that sticks. As easy as opening your fridge is a free trial at our Clubs.
Over the years, in my personal training work, I have received many questions about exercise and diet. The topic is often debated among family, at work, in social media, on newspapers, blogs, etc. The opinions are so many and that's good, but in the middle of so many opinions, it can be difficult to find real answers. By Personal Trainer Øyvind Holt Originally published @ evolution.evofitness.no In this article, I will review some facts and myths in exercise and diet. It will hopefully confirm or cancel some of your questions. You must feel sore the day after a workout for it to work MYTH Muscles can be exercised without aching or being sore afterwards. You, therefore, do not have to have a goal of being in pain after a workout. Protein intake must be increased significantly when starting strength training MYTH The recommendations* are 0.8g proteins per kg body weight per day. Looking at top athletes exercising over 20 hours a week, the recommendation is 2g per kg body weight per day, while those who exercise less (5h/ week) do not need more than 1g per kg body weight per day. There is no proven effect on increased muscle mass at an intake of 3-4g per kg body weight per day. Therefore, the need for proteins should be covered by a healthy and varied diet in most people. Sleep loss decreases with age FACTS Metabolism is at its highest at the age of 20, then declines by about 1% each year. It means that as times change and you grow older, you will not be able to eat as much without increasing your activity level. You may be born with heavier and larger bones than others MYTH The average weight of the skeleton is somewhere between 2.5 - 4.5kg. What constitutes the major part of the body weight is the composition of muscles and fat. If you have not managed to lose weight in the past, you will never do it MYTH Previous trials give you experience and knowledge about exercise and diet that will definitely make you better prepared. Running burns more than cycling FACTS Running burns more calories than cycling, with equal recovery time and equal load. The reason for this is: - Running requires constant work and you get no "breaks" in the work. Pauses are more frequent in cycling plus in downhill runs where much less energy is required. - Running demands muscle work of both the lower body and upper body, while cycling mainly requires energy from the lower body, which means that the total energy consumption will be lower. - Running is a weight-bearing activity. In cycling the bike "helps" to carry the body weight. You burn more fat (kcal/calories) at low intensity vs. high intensity MYTH Total calorie burn is the key to weight reduction, as all the surplus of what you eat will be stored as fat. You burn most fat at 70-75 heart-rate beat, but the total burn will be far lower than at a higher intensity. Example: - 30 minutes interval - burns mainly carbohydrates - High-calorie consumption. Total caloric burn is around 300-500kcal - 30 minutes 'powerwalk' - Lower calorie consumption. Even if you burn fat, the total burn will be lower (100-300kcal) and you will need more time to lose the weight Endurance training is better for weight reduction than strength training, although increased muscle mass causes greater caloric burning even in resting period FACTS 1kg muscle mass increases resting metabolism by only about 13kcal per day (1), so the fastest way to weight reduction will be endurance training. But, in a longer perspective, an increased muscle mass is of great importance for maintaining a stable weight, as we often see that it is the small transitions (100kcal) over a longer period of time which are a major cause of weight gain (1). So a combination is recommended, but the biggest impact on weight comes from endurance training. Evening meals increase the risk of being overweight MYTH It is the total calorie intake during the day that counts. Example: You have a calorie requirement of approx. 2000kcal per day. During the day you have only eaten 500kcal and choose a large serving of 1500kcal dinner. Either way, the total calorie intake is 2000kcal and you are in energy balance regardless of when you eat. Wearing a black plastic bag on hot sunny days will increase calorie burn MYTH All that does is contribute to potential dehydration and fatigue. Heat may actually reduce caloric burn because you get tired faster. Men have more muscle mass than women FACTS The average amount of muscle mass is of approx. 40% of body weight in adult men and of 35% in adult women. An average man, 80kg - 32kg muscle mass Average female, 60kg - 21kg muscle mass Breakfast must be eaten to "start caloric consumption" MYTH Caloric consumption is taking place regardless of breakfast. However, it would be wise to have breakfast to increase energy levels so you can get more energy during the day. Specific strength training on the belly reduces belly fat MYTH Specific strength training of the belly does not reduce belly fat. The fat on the stomach is reduced only through higher energy consumption than energy intake. This is done through a good diet and plenty of physical activity. Physical activity provides stronger skeletons FACTS Weight-bearing training such as strength training, jogging, aerobics, dancing, alpinism, etc., has a good effect on bone structure. Maximum bone mass is achieved by the age of 20-30, and it will be beneficial to have, in young age, exercised a lot and done varied exercises to create as strong a bone mass as possible. After the age of 30 and especially after menopause for women, it is important to maintain the training to counter the bone mass decomposition. Stretch after exercise to avoid being sore MYTH There is no evidence that stretching helps in this regard. Stretching will provide increased mobility, which in turn is good for coordination and to counter the stress you’ve just put your muscles trough. Feeling sore occurs when you expose your body to excessive stress, start calmly and increase the load gradually. sources: Raastad, T., Paulsen, G., Refsnes, P, Rønnestad, B., Wisnes, A. (2010) Strength training - In theory and practice. Gyldendal Bahr, R., Activity Manual - Physical Activity in Prevention and Treatment. Directorate of health * Norwegian Recommendations as per original
WHAT ARE SUPPLEMENTS? Commercially-blended dietary supplements are products containing ingredients intended to add further nutritional value to the diet. In the context of fitness, such supplements may also claim to positively enhance aspects of training, performance and body composition. While there may be good evidence that a supplement works, information about dosage may be misleading. Many ingredients within a supplement can act together, and can also interact with food, thereby producing different effects under different conditions. In a pure sense, it’s also important to understand that a supplement can also be regarded as something that is added to something else to support or enhance it. In this sense, any type of natural or whole food can also be a supplement. ARE SUPPLEMENTS USEFUL? Many commercially-blended supplements will claim to support your training, both pre- and post-workout, offering enhanced energy levels, greater endurance, increased muscle mass and reduced body fat. The question of whether they work is a consideration; but more importantly is whether commercial supplements are essential and is there a real physiological need pre- and post-workout? CAN PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS HELP? Pre-workout supplements are designed to change the way you feel during your workout. In fact, most of the ingredients will simply create the perception that your workout is enhanced. Kesh Patel, Fitness Director for EVO Europe says, “Popular pre-workout supplements will generally increase blood flow, heart rate, and focus – but these effects do not make you fitter and stronger. Even known substances such as caffeine and creatine, which have been scientifically proven to enhance performance, only do so modestly in very fit people. For most, the benefit is largely insignificant, unless you are pushing yourself to the limit – which may pose a health risk for some”. The only time you need to consider a pre-workout supplement is when your energy intake prior to exercise has been less than optimal. In such cases, a carbohydrate-based snack or drink may be enough to fuel your training. CAN SUPPLEMENTS HELP WITH POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY? Before answering this question, post-workout recovery is not just about post-workout nutrition; in fact, it’s more about current health, overall dietary habits, intelligent training and physical rest – if these are in good order, recovery will always be optimized. Having said that, the immediate challenge post-workout is replenishment of energy and electrolytes. When normal eating patterns cannot be resumed quickly, it can be useful to consume a commercial carbohydrate-based supplement; however, fruit, fruit juice or smoothies will also work well. While some experts may advocate the consumption of protein immediately post-workout, for most, it’s unnecessary providing they have balanced eating habits. WHAT IS EVO’S POSITION ON SUPPLEMENTS? While many pre-workout supplements may at best offer transient training effects, supplementation during and post-workout may be useful, depending on workout duration, type and intensity. At EVO, we believe in understanding the specific physiological needs of your training, and if necessary, to supplement intelligently. For most people, pre-workout supplementation is unnecessary, providing the body has enough energy and is well hydrated. During exercise, an isotonic sports drink will help replace essential electrolytes lost through metabolic processes, including sweating. A healthy snack such as fruit, fruit juice, smoothie or a flapjack, may also help to replenish energy quickly, after a workout. Feel free to share your views and experiences with us via Facebook and Instagram!
What is calorie intake? Caloric intake is the number of calories an individual consumes – usually determined on a daily basis. What is optimal calorie intake? This is a challenging question to answer without a reference point. To understand optimal, we need to understand the objective. For example, weight loss is a common objective for which you could calculate an optimal calorie intake. Is it possible to calculate your optimal calorie requirements? Yes. Simple (and complex) formulas exist for calculating daily calorie requirements. Almost all of these use measurements such as weight, height and age to calculate resting metabolic rate and subsequently, daily calorie requirements. Are these calculations accurate? Without longer term monitoring of health, it’s impossible to determine the accuracy of such calculations for each individual. More importantly, the fate and subsequent health outcomes of eating food (calories) is dependent on a number of factors, including food composition, presence of other foods, when the food is eaten, and the current nutritional and metabolic status of the individual. For example, consuming a certain number of calories immediately after exercise will result in a different physiological change compared to eating the same amount when not exercising. So if calories aren’t important to health, what is? While the determination of the optimal calorie intake requirements may be useful in some clinical settings, it is largely irrelevant for most health-seeking individuals. It’s important to understand that our bodies are hard-wired with specific involuntary mechanisms that keep us alive and healthy. Because our physiology is constantly changing, these mechanisms automatically respond to maintain balance. These mechanisms include control of breathing, sleeping and weight. These self-regulated systems are always switched on and provide us with noticeable cues when they become disrupted. For example, when we are hungry, we eat more. When we are full, we stop eating. Unfortunately, we have lost awareness of these simple cues, and it’s starting to negatively impact our health and fitness. What is EVO’s position on calorie intake? At EVO, our focus is on listening to the body and re-connecting to the physical cues that signpost to our physiology and health. As you start to tune in more to the physical sensations of hunger, thirst, mood, stress, and fatigue, you can re-learn to optimize your metabolism and energy levels, without the need to focus unnecessarily on optimal calorie intake. As your metabolic and nutritional status improves on a system-wide scale, so too will your control of weight.
Alongside movement and recovery, an optimal metabolism is one of the cornerstones of overall health. Our metabolism converts food into energy needed for everything we do from moving to thinking to growing. Metabolism is controlled not only by what we eat, but by the way we move and our recovery status. Good metabolic health is more than just eating healthy – it’s about understanding how food choices and eating behaviours affect the chemical reactions that impact our health. Without this understanding, even ‘apparently healthy’ foods can negatively affect our health, and when combined with over-training and poor recovery strategies, can lead to a chronically low metabolism. This can lead to a number of hormonal issues that can affect our health and performance, including decreased testosterone and growth hormone, decreased fat burning, insulin resistance, dry skin and hair, insomnia, fatigue, frequent urination and food cravings. With a few simple dietary modifications and behavioural strategies, you can kick-start your metabolism, enjoy increased performance and natural weight loss, and return your body to optimal health.
1. Don’t drink when you’re not thirsty – we are often told to drink plenty of luid each day, but we don’t really know why. When we drink too much fluid that doesn’t contain solutes such as salt and sugar, we dilute our extracellular fluid (fluid outside the cells) resulting in frequent urination, loss of salt and a lower body temperature (metabolism). As a guideline, you should only drink more fluid if you’re thirsty (dry mouth), hot or about to do exercise – this is when you really need it. 2. Monitor your body temperature and urine – body temperature is an accurate metabolic marker. Temperatures consistently below 98.6F are indicative of a slow metabolism; if this occurs, eat a salty carbohydrate-rich snack to boost your metabolism. In a similar vein, if your urine is pale or clear in colour, or you have the urge to urinate frequently, then you should drink less fluid and eat a salty snack. 3. Snack often – the purpose of snacking is to combat a stress event. Signs to look out for include cold hands and feet, sudden urge to urinate, crash in energy levels or a sudden onset headache. Not much is needed, for example, a salty carbohydrate snack with a small cup of juice. 4. Eat enough carbohydrate – low-carb diets can be metabolically suppressive regardless of salt and fluid intake. The glucose from carbohydrate is an important factor in salt uptake – which is why many sports drinks contain both carbohydrate and salt. 5. Eat enough salt – salt is a powerful metabolic stimulator, and will super-charge your metabolism provided you don’t overdrink. Aim to make each meal pleasantly salty (don’t overdo it). In a short space of time, you will notice an increase in body temperature, greater focus and increased performance.