Quick question…what’s your favourite cheat food?
For a lot of people the answer would be something sweet. Maybe it’s ice cream, or chocolate or some type of candy. I like all of these.
But indulging in a treat can wreak havoc on your training goals. We’re trying to create a caloric deficit from training but then can quickly undo a lot of our efforts when we load up on sweets.
For example, grab a can of soda off any grocery store shelf and read the nutritional info off the back. You can get as many as 50 grams of sugar in a single can!
Why does this matter?
Well high levels of sugar in the bloodstream puts the breaks on the body’s ability to burn fat.
So although you may have lifted intensely during your morning training session you can quickly switch from a ‘fat burning’ state to one of ‘fat storing’ by the amount of sugar you take in.
But don’t I need sugar for energy?
Yes, but your body probably has more than enough energy for what you need it to do. And if you need to top up your energy stores you should start first with fruits and vegetables and leave out the rest. I have yet to work with a client that was eating too many fruits and vegetables and had problems with energy.
Actually there’s another funny thing about training and energy.
Many people when they start a fitness training program will take some time to identify what their goals are. And near the top of the list almost all of the time are the following:
* lose some weight
* have more energy
I would agree with the first one. But the second? Do you really think anyone in North America needs more energy? We get our energy from food. We have more than enough energy stored as fat.
Instead what we need to do is start moving more. More intensely and more quickly to mobilize the release of this stored energy.
I undertand what most people mean when they use the expression of ‘wanting more energy’. But really this is not their problem at all. Instead it probably comes down to another problem relating to will power, priorities and sometimes knowledge. But not a lack of energy.
Don’t believe me? Consider the following.
You are working at your desk around 330 pm. You are having trouble focussing on the task at hand. You have two options:
1. Have a mid-afternoon snack to ‘give you some energy’.
2. Do as many bodyweight squats as you can in 80 seconds.
Which option do you choose? Which one is going to give you more energy? Which one will allow to to focus more on your work and result in better performance? Which one will you be prouder with yourself for having made?
Very few of us have bodyfat levels that are so low we may end up in the hospital if we don’t eat something. On the other hand many of us can pinch an inch here or there to remind us of our comfortable North American lifestyles. Our bodies respond to stimuli and release energy based on need. Minimal movement or activity means little energy is released and we feel sluggish and tired.
The next time you feel this way don’t think you need to eat something to get some energy. Instead set a timer for 80 seconds and see how much stored energy you can stimulate to be released.