Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frequently asked questions

roberts fitness insights

How long should I wait to exercise after eating? 
In general, about 3 hours after eating a full meal before engaging in a strenuous exercise programs. Exercising before food has had time to empty from the stomach can cause cramps and additional abdominal discomfort. But people respond differerntly and there is no set amount of time to wait. If you exercise in the morning, a quick carbohydrate-dense snack might help provide some energy during the workout without a lot of discomfort. Carbohydrates are generally digested in approximately an hour, while protein takes about two hours and fat takes about four hours. But remember most foods are a combination of three types of macronutrients.

What should I eat before my workouts?
The food should be something that is relatively high in carbohydrates to maximize blood glucose availability, relatively low in fat and fiber to minimize gastrointestinal distress, moderate protein. Most people do well with approximately 2 grams (8 calories) of carbohydrate per pound of body weight.  For morning workouts, eat a small amount of rapidly digestible carbohydrate, such as a slice of bread or a banana, 30 to 60 minutes before exercise. If you exercise in the afternoon or evening, you may want to have a light snack right before a workout, especially if it has been more than 3 hours since your last meal.

What should I eat after a workout?
For optimal recovery after an endurance workout, it is important to eat carbohydrates to replace the stored energy (glycogen) that was utilized doing the workout. For best results, the American (ADA) recommends aiming to eat approx.. 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight within 30 minutes of finishing the workout and then every two hours for four to six hours. A little bit of protein will also help to repair muscles, which is especially important after a résistance training workout. Of course, the amount of refueling needed depends on the intensity and duration of the workout.

Which is better for weight control: consuming three square meals or eating five to six small meals spread out over the day?
Weight control is achieved by balancing the number of calories consumed with the number of calories burned.  Therefore, it doesn’t matter if the calories come in the form of three larger meals or five or six smaller meals. However, some people find that they’re better able to control their calorie intake in one way or the other.  Further instance, people who consume three or fewer meals per day may find that long periods between meals leave them feeling famished, which leads them to overeat to compensate. Eating smaller meals throughout the day may help some individuals with caloric control. On the other hand, someone who eats five to six times a day may forget to a make them small meals and instead consume more calories than he or she would with three meals. In the end it is a matter of preference. It is important to note that people who have diabetes should consume five or six equally small sized meals to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day.

How many calories should I eat and how often should I exercise for optimal weight loss?
Several formulas have been developed to estimate caloric needs for weight maintenance. One that is particularly useful is Miffin- ST Jeor equation:

Moderately,  active people are generally advised to consume approximately 1.5  to 1.7 time the calculated resting metabolic rate (RMR). Convert pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2. Convert inches to centimeters by multiplying by 2.54  To lose 1 pound of fat, a 3,500 calorie deficit is required. Keep in mind losing weight is not the hard part. The hard part is keeping the wait off.

The USDA  Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults seeking to maintain weight loss accumulate 60 to 90 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. This goal, which may seem overwhelming, can be reached gradually over time by starting with 15 to 30 minute bouts of exercise activity.

Is it true that food eaten late at night is more likely to turn into body fat?
Ultimately, it is not when you eat, but what and how much.

Do I have to stop eating all of the foods that I enjoy to lose weight?
The most successful approach to weight loss and weight loss maintence is to make permanent lifestyle changes that include healthful eating plan and ample physical activity. A diet-which implies short term and hard to adhere to changes-is not the answer. A healthy lifestyle allows for all foods in moderation. This means that less healthy foods can be eaten, as long as they make up only a small portion of the total daily calorie intake.
Should I be taking a supplement to obtain adequate nutrition?
The science on multivitamins is inconclusive. In 2006, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel convened to evaluate all of the research on multivitamins and develop recommendations for the public. The panel concluded that insufficient high-quality research has been done to assess whether vitamins help in chronic disease prevention. Two exceptions are the strong indications for folic acid supplements for all women of child bearing age to prevent neural tube defects in the developing baby, and fish oil/omega 3 fatty acid supplements for the prevention of heart disease in people who are at risk. In general, most dietitians

I’ve tried a million diets and have lost a ton of weight, only to gain a ton back, only to regain more back. How much weight should I lose? And how do keep it off?
The key to permanent weight loss success is to make lifestyle changes that include a healthy eating plan and ample physical activity. The changes need to be doable enough that you can maintain them indefinitely and not feel deprived and unhappy. A realistic goal for someone who is overweight or obese is to aim to lose 7 to 10% of starting weight over a six month to one year period and then to keep the weight off for at least six months before trying to lose more. This amount of weight loss will provide significant health benefits, including decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of developing diabetes. Also, weight loss is more easily maintained when the weight is lost slowly (about one to 2 pounds a week).

I don’t have a lot of time. How can I fit a healthy exercise and nutrition program into my busy schedule?
Small changes that do not take much extra time, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking in one of the far away slots at the grocery store, can add up. Also, most fast food and take out restaurants now offer healthier choices, such as grilled chicken, salads, and kids meals (that adults can order too) with fruit and milk. Visit for numerous tips on how to incorporate healthy living into a jam packed schedule.

What are some general nutrition guidelines for clients with diabetes?
It is especially important for people with diabetes to balance nutrition intake (particularly carbohydrate intake) with exercise and insulin or other diabetic medications to maintain a regular blood sugar level throughout the day. Because most people with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, a heart healthy eating plan including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is key. While advocates of popular low carbohydrate programs such as South Beach,  Atkins, and Zone diets claim that consuming a carbohydrate –restricted diet is better for people with diabetes, to date research as not supported any long term cardiovascular benefits of low carb diets versus a MyPyramid- like, moderate to high carbohydrate diet. However, it is prudent to recommend that clients limit consumption of simple sugars and carbs with little nutritional value as these foods cause a spike in blood sugar. However, people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-deficient by definition) should carry hard candy or other sugary items to eat if their blood glucose drops to low.

What are some general  nutrition guidelines for clients with hypertension ?
Research has demonstrated that the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ) eating plan is effective for the treatment and prevention of hypertension. The DASH plan emphasizes a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat that consist largely of fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products. Fish, poultry, nuts, and other unsaturated fats and whole grains are encouraged as heart healthy foods, while red meat, sweets, sugar containing beverages, and high salt foods should be limited. The best precaution for all Amercians is to limit salt intake to no more than 2, 400 mg per day. For more information about DASH eating plan refer to:
Information abstracted from: ACE Lifestyle&Weight Management Coach Manual (2nd ed).
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