NUTRITION
Centr Team

Are you eating enough to fuel your workouts?

Centr Team

Another workout completed – tick. Another day of eating well – tick. OK, so you had no time for snacks and had to work through lunch, but you got by on an apple and a handful of grapes. You were running on empty by the end of your gym session, sure, but you ticked off those final reps. A great weight loss effort all round today, wouldn’t you say?

Well… not quite. As Advanced Sports Dietitian Lisa Middleton points out, dropping calories isn’t the sole goal when it comes to getting lean and fit. In fact, while you may feel like you’re doing better by cutting back, when you’re so focused on calorie reduction your energy levels can drop, your training can suffer, and it may even impair your ability to lose weight.

Why? Because nutrition is king for training results and your overall health! Let Lisa break it down for you.

Eat less, train hard - that’s all you need, right?

The “eat less, train hard” mindset can do more harm than good. Many of us eat far more than our body needs (that’s why we’re on this weight-loss mission in the first place), but if we’re not consuming enough to provide key nutrients, our bodies will very quickly protest.

You may understand that lethargic feeling and lack of motivation, but did you also know it can result in muscle loss, decreased metabolism and increased risk of injury and illness?

Calorie imbalance can also have longer-term effects on body systems like our reproductive system. It can create menstrual cycle issues for women, which can lead to a range of significant issues with bone health and fertility.

Are you low energy?

It’s not just an insult slung around between political opponents. Low energy availability (LEA) is an increasingly common complaint among athletes.

But what is ‘energy availability’? It’s the amount of energy that is available for your body to function, once the energy requirement for exercise has been accounted for.

Think of it as an equation:

Energy intake (the food you eat) - Exercise energy expenditure (the calories you burn during a workout) = Energy availability.

So if your overall energy intake is too low, while you might be able to power through a training session, you won’t have enough energy remaining for physiological processes that contribute to body function and health – like muscle repair.

It may seem strange that you can still get through a workout when you’re experiencing LEA, but some of the side-effects mentioned are often more noticeable outside of your training. And when you are exercising, you may be performing at a lower level than you realize.

How do you fuel up?

You may not be surprised to hear that LEA often comes up in relation to a low-carb diet – as a reduction in carbs is often how our energy intake becomes too low. Active people need carbs, especially the nutritious whole grain ones! (Like the wholegrains you’ll find in our Warm Grain Kale Salad or Power Plus Bars.)

It's not just your workouts that your body needs the energy from a Power Plus Bar to get through!

However, a low-carb diet isn’t solely to blame – LEA is related to your overall calorie intake vs the energy you expend.

So with a fine line between eating well and not eating enough, what’s the best approach? First, ensure you’re getting the appropriate nutrition, in the right portions, at the right times across the day – especially around any exercise you’re doing. This will help you get the 'what and when' right.

The holistic Centr program is designed to move with your changing energy needs. With your goal set to ‘Lose Weight’, your meal plan allows for a small energy deficit, so you can eat well before and after training and meet your overall nutrition needs without derailing your goal. As you get fitter and make the switch to Get Fit & Toned or Build Muscle, your meal plan is adjusted to meet your body’s increased energy needs.

Of course, every body is different, and some of us may have specific needs. If you need some help with planning your nutrition, talk to an accredited dietitian.

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