Eating Enough for Exercise

  Today’s contribution is from Good Measure Meals’ registered dietitian, Sarah Shanahan, MS, RD, LD  As a dietitian, I see many clients who tell me they have really stepped up their exercise but aren’t seeing the changes they want in their body. Typically, the biggest factor for not meeting this success is nutrition. This is why: Let’s say on average, we exercise 4 times a week for 45 minutes each. Forty fiveminutes of exercise 4 times a week is a total of 180 minutes of exercise. There are 1440 minutes in a day and 10,080 minutes in a week. You are active for only 180 of those minutes. If we assume you sleep for 7 hours each night (420 minutes a night or 2940 minutes a week), that leaves a little over 7100 waking minutes each week. If you exercise for 180 of those minutes, you are exercising for less than 3% of your waking time. To meet your goals, it’s going to take more than just exercise; it’s going to take a combo of exercise and nutrition. There are many ways to determine your caloric needs, with varying accuracy. If you only have access to age, gender, height, weight, and activity level, you can use an online calculator to estimate of your needs. You, however, have access to a better method. During your hydrostatic weigh in, which measured your lean mass and body fat, you received a good estimate of your basal metabolic rate (BMR or calories your body needs to survive). Since muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, this is a more accurate BMR estimate than using body weight alone. You will need to include caloric expenditure for your day to day life and your planned exercise to determine your total caloric needs. The most accurate way to measure your BMR is through indirect calorimetry with the MedGem. Your club can schedule this test with your club’s dietitian and you will walk away knowing exactly how many calories you need to meet your goals based on your accurate RMR, daily lifestyle, and exercise levels. Whether you use an online calculator or schedule a MedGem appointment, it is important to remember that food is fuel. And fuel is critical for your FitTrip success. If you eat too much, you will gain weight. If you eat too little, not only will your performance decline, but you will not be able to build lean mass and your body may start breaking down muscle to get protein for energy. Build out your FitTrip plan to account for both exercise and proper nutrition to help meet your goals.