It’s a common question asked by practically everyone who’s ever been on a diet: can you eat more when you’re working out? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple as a yes or no. However, there are some guidelines you can follow to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workout and not undoing all your hard work by overeating.
How Many Calories Should I Be Eating?
The number of calories you eat depends on various factors, including weight, height, age, gender, activity level, and muscle mass. A general rule is that the average person needs between 2,000 and 2,500 calories daily to maintain weight. However, if you’re actively trying to lose weight, you’ll need to eat fewer calories. And if you’re trying to gain weight or build muscle, you’ll need to eat more.
If you’re working out regularly, you may need to eat more calories than someone who isn’t exercising as much. That’s because when you work out, you burn calories-and the more strenuous the workout, the more calories you’ll burn. So, if you’re working out regularly and not seeing the desired results, it may be because you’re not eating enough.
Of course, it’s important to ensure that the additional calories you’re consuming come from healthy sources. Eating an extra slice of pizza will not help your body recover from a tough workout-but consuming additional healthy carbs and proteins will. This is where working with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can be helpful. They can assess your individual needs and create a meal plan that will help you reach your fitness goals.
What Is the Role of Hydration?
It’s also important to ensure you’re properly hydrated before and after your workout. Drinking water helps your body to recover from exercise and can also help to prevent overeating. When properly hydrated, you’re less likely to mistake thirst for hunger and eat more calories than you need.
There are plenty of reasons to consume lots of water every day: stabilizing body temperature, supplying moisture to joints, transporting nutrients to cells, warding off infection, and preserving organ function. Proper hydration also paves the way for improved sleep quality, cognitive function, and mood.
Water is the best source of hydration; it is the only drink you need when you have an active lifestyle and are trying to lose weight. However, there are times when you may need to drink other fluids, such as before or after a workout. Sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes and provide carbohydrates for energy. But be careful not to overdo it-most sports drinks are high in sugar and calories, which can offset the benefits of working.
How Much Should I Eat Before and After My Workout?
Eating both before and after your workout is important to give your body the energy it needs to perform at its best and help with recovery. How much you need will depend on how long and intense your workout is and what you’re eating the rest of the day.
If you’re working out first thing in the morning, you’ll want to ensure you have enough energy to get through your workout. A small snack or cup of coffee may be all you need. If you’re working out later in the day, you’ll want to eat a light meal beforehand so you’re not weighed down.
After your workout, it’s important to replenish your glycogen stores (the glucose your muscles use for energy). A small snack or shake that contains carbs and protein is a good option. If you have not tried it, a bar of Pinoy chocolate is a great snack for active people who can’t resist indulging in a good dessert after a meal or even post-workout. It’s packed with nutrients that can help you meet your fitness goals. These are organic and all-natural chocolate bars made with cacao beans from the Philippines.
Eating a full meal is also fine, as long as you give yourself time to digest before your next workout. Many believe that to lose weight, you must deprive yourself-this is a myth. You can-and should-eat to support your workout routine. You must follow the 80:20 rule, where 80% of the time, you should be eating clean, and 20% of the time, you are doing the right exercise.
So, Can You Eat More When You Work Out?
The bottom line is that there’s no simple answer to this question. The number of calories you should consume depends on various factors. However, if you are working out regularly and not seeing results, it may be because you’re not eating enough-and adding additional healthy calories from carbs and proteins can help. This may also be due to underlying health issues such as a thyroid disorder or insulin resistance.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any medical conditions before trying anything that could strain your body. As always, speak with an RDN to create a personalized meal plan that meets your individual needs and helps you achieve your fitness goals.