How Long Should You Wait to Work Out After Eating? | Q+A

How Long Should You Wait to Work Out After Eating? | Q+A

Question:

How long should I wait to work out after I eat? I usually eat about 2 hours before working out.

– Bryan D.

Answer:

Your time frame is fine for GI comfort after a medium balanced meal. Most solid food would be working its way from your stomach to your intestines by then. Your peak fuel supply comes when digestion, absorption and transport to muscles are complete. Then you can burn molecules for ATP formation and muscle energy. Assuming your goal is to maximize muscle activity, you could wait another hour after a larger meal, or for a shorter gap, pare down the meal to a snack. With the latter choice, be sure to have a sports drink on hand and your recovery nutrition ready for afterward.

See our article Fuel Your Workouts to Maximize Your Results for pre-workout nutrition.

Timing also depends on what you eat and when you ate the previous meal. Starches and simple carbohydrates are a bit easier to breakdown than proteins and fats. For example, a breakfast of cereal and fruit will process faster than one of bacon and eggs. A dinner of pasta marinara will digest faster than one of chili. If you had a light dinner the night before and wanted to hit the gym first thing in the morning, a shake on the go would be fine. A gut-busting buffet lunch followed by a regular dinner 5 hours later may mean you should wait even longer to work out. Good thing most LA Fitness Sports Clubs are open until 10 or 11 pm!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Low Energy Slump | Q+A

Low Energy Slump | Q+A

Question:

I am a 55-year-old very active male. I’ve had 3 back surgeries in the last 5 years. Lots of physical therapy. I am a tennis coach at a high school. I am a college basketball referee. I stay very active and try to eat a reasonably healthy diet although I do enjoy ice cream. In the last few years, my energy level is significantly lower than the past. My doctor tested my testosterone levels and found that I am near the low end of the acceptable range for my age. Could you recommend anything to help my energy level? I sleep very well and typically get 9 hours per night FYI.

– Patrick S.

Answer:

Please see our recent answer regarding testosterone and diet by clicking here.

Besides sleep and hormones, energy levels may also be affected by stress, physical activity, and nutrition. Since you are regularly physically active let’s focus on stress and nutrition. Your surgeries may have significantly impacted your liveliness and stamina. Although you may have regained functional ability after each bout, the body’s recovery may be longer lasting.

Proper nutrition is a good defense against fatigue. Hydration is a key factor in feeling peppy as every cell in your body needs water! Adequate body fluids also ensure transport of nutrients and elimination of wastes/toxins. You burn calories constantly, not all at once so feed yourself the same way. To fuel body systems continuously you need balanced, spaced meals with fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. A wimpy green salad may leave you flat while an overloaded lunch plate can set on an afternoon slump.

Particularly high-energy foods include oats & quinoa (fiber + unsaturated fat), chocolate & tea (caffeine), citrus (flavonoids), banana & barley (fructo-oligosaccharides), asparagus & wheat (inulin), and spinach (B-vitamins).

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Optimum Amount of Daily Protein Intake | Q+A

Optimum Amount of Daily Protein Intake | Q+A

Question:

I would like to know what is the optimum amount of daily protein intake to add muscle and strength?

– David S.

Answer:

With an adequate weight training regimen to demand the growth of new muscle tissue, protein in the amount of 1.4-2.0 grams per kilogram body weight1, 2 can be used for hypertrophy. Beyond this, the excess protein is converted to fat or burned as fuel and no further benefits in muscle development or body composition are observed. The American College of Sports Medicine uses 1.7gm/kg/day as the maximum amount3. Taking all this into account, I would recommend that you use a protein range of 1.5-1.8 gm/kg/day.

Here are some values for various body weights:

Weight Daily protein need in grams
140 lbs = 63.5 kg   95 – 114
150 lbs = 68 kg 102 – 122
160 lbs = 72.6 kg 109 – 131
170 lbs = 77.1 kg 116 – 139
180 lbs = 81.6 kg 122 – 147
190 lbs = 86.2 kg 129 – 155
200 lbs = 90.7 kg 136 – 163
210 lbs = 95.3 kg 143 – 172

 

Use the lower end of the protein range if you are of ideal weight or trained and the higher end if you are underweight or new to working out. Protein intake should be distributed throughout the day in modest practical amounts2 (i.e. no more than 40 gm at one sitting).

References:

1) International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. B Campbell, et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2007, 4:8.

2) Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016; 116: 501-528.

3) “Protein Intake for Optimal Muscle Maintenance” brochure. American College of Sports Medicine. 2015

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Tricks and Treats for Halloween Cheats

Tricks and Treats for Halloween Cheats

The wave of decadent treats is certainly not doing anything for your longevity or immediate health. We’re not just talking about kid’s parties and silly monster desserts. Adult fare is just as guilty of being overly-sugary and highly caloric.

LAF, LA Fitness, Halloween, Halloween treats, trick-or-treat, fun Halloween food, nutrition

Here are some novel ideas to keep you in the spirit but away from the candy dish:

  • Dilute the sugary caramel or chocolate-laced popcorn with an equal amount of plain popped popcorn. Toss in some unsalted nuts if desired.
  • When making banana, zucchini or pumpkin bread, substitute half the flour with whole wheat.
  • Mainstream dishes like pizza and spaghetti can be served spooky-style: Serve overflowing spaghetti in carved pepper heads for brain-oozing effect. Use sliced mozzarella to create ghost shapes and sliced olives for mouths on pizza.
  • Create black olive spiders to go on deviled eggs or to garnish a green salad.
  • Turn wraps into haunting eyes by skewering two slices and decorating.
  • Instead of orange soda, dilute a mango juice drink with seltzer water.

When you just can’t steer clear of the sweets, use these tips to keep your intake to a minimum:

  • Cut and freeze cubes of your favorite candy bar (placing each in a section of an ice cube tray) to eat one at a time later.
  • Keep the wrappers from individual/mini candies and place them in sight to remind yourself how much you’ve had.
  • Choose a mint to suck on for a lasting freshness – only 5-10 calories!
  • Avoid sticky or chewy candy that stays on your teeth begging you for more.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes before eating to give yourself a chance to become distracted and forget.
  • Alternate a piece with a similar texture from healthy food. For example, eat dried apricots after a chewy taffy or caramel, and raw celery after crisp or crunchy candy.

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Trick or Treat (& don’t cheat on your holiday workout)!

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Is Keto for Everyone? | QA

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How to Have a Good Diet on a Low Budget | Q+A

How to Have a Good Diet on a Low Budget | Q+A

Question:

How can I have a good diet on very low budget? I work two jobs and I am a reservist in the Marine Corps.

– Joseph E.

Answer:

It just takes a little planning and perhaps your local grocer’s weekly savings guide for a low-cost healthy diet. Not wasting food is key. If you can buy more, cook it once, then make leftovers, you’ll not only spend less but save on preparation time later. Casseroles, stir fries and crock pot meals are simple one dish meals that you can make in a large quantity and have less to clean after.

Sample savings: A $8 whole chicken can make 3-4 servings for an active man: roast chicken on day 1; chicken tacos on day 2; and cold chicken salad on day 3. Compare with $3-6/lb for precooked, skinless chicken breast.

Dry starches are cheap! Get larger bags of beans, rice and pasta to cook 1-2 cups at a time. By purchasing shelf-stable or frozen goods on sale and stocking up, you’ll spend less. Getting produce in season (e.g. stone fruit like peaches, plums and apricots in summer) saves dough. When it makes sense, it’s fine to use canned (rinsed) or frozen produce without sauce.

Your real challenge will be to cut back on prepared foods since I assume you’re tight on time with working two jobs. But it can be done! Pencil out your weekly meal plan, grab those coupons & your grocery list and shop smart.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

LA Fitness Living Healthy subscribe button

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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