What should I eat before exercise?

Carbohydrates are the preferred type of food to eat as it provides the bodies main source of energy. It is recommended that you consume a high carbohydrate meal 2-3 hours before exercising. This will allow time for sufficient digestion.

What should I eat after exercise?

Consuming 1.5 g of carbohydrate per KG of body weight, 30 minutes after completing exercise is recommended to replenish glycogen stores. Don’t forget to also eat some lean protein as well, which will help repair muscle fibres after exercise.

What do I need to do to burn 1lb of body fat per week?

To lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit (eat fewer calories than you are using). To burn 1lb of fat per week you need to have a deficit of 500 calories per day. This number can be reached by either eating 500 calories less or a combination of eating fewer calories and burning more calories through exercise. So, 1lb of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories per week.

Do carbohydrates make me fat?

The answer is no. Carbohydrates are necessary nutrients. They provide energy for the body, metabolism of fats, prevent muscle from being broken down for energy and provides the body with essential fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Selecting carbohydrate foods that have a moderate to low glycaemic index and are high in fibre, can help with satiety, blood sugar regulation and energy balance (indirectly). Over-consumption of sugar, refined processed carbohydrate and high glycaemic foods can lead to uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar, low energy and increased appetite.

Therefore, to avoid hunger and achieve healthy weight loss, it is advisable to choose un-processed, whole-food carbohydrate sources such as:

  • vegetables
  • whole fruit & grains, which also provides fibre

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and used by the body for energy. Glucose that is not needed immediately by the body is stored as glycogen in the muscles. Carbohydrates are important for glycogen repletion. If we do not have enough carbohydrate available for energy resources we end up losing the muscle mass we have gained as the body will break down the protein in the muscle for energy.

Risks of starvation diets or fad diets

We have established that an energy deficit must be created for weight loss to occur. However, most nutrition experts do not recommend an energy intake any lower than 1200 kcals and even that may be too low for an active or larger person. Some of the risks following an overly restrictive diet include:

  • Increased risk of malnutrition
  • Poor energy and inability to complete fitness programmes
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue, constipation, nausea, diarrhoea and gall stone formation

Restrictive calorie diets should be discouraged! Instead, safe maintainable weight loss by means of healthy eating, smaller portions and increased activity should be encouraged.

Does eating late at night make me fat?

Weight gain is a result of eating more calories than you burn on a regular basis, not when you eat. If one gains weight by eating late at night, it is due to the excess calorie intake, not the time of eating. The body’s enzymes cannot tell the time! After 7pm they do not preferentially store carbohydrates as fat. As long as our calorie intake does not exceed the calories expended weight gain will not occur.

However, if you want to avoid bloating, it is best to eat your complex carbohydrates in the evening, eg: vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash etc.