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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


When should I eat around exercise &are my calories balanced?

Just a quick question about exercise...

I have been using the food diary for about 10 days and sticking within the 1400 calories per day. I generally do well over the 200 calories... Just walk to work is 212 and then I go to the gym or swimming around 3 times a week. If I go over on the exercise does this mean I should't feel too guilty if go over the 1400 calories. As it stands since Sunday my week view says I am 1012 under calories (sure will use today), Calories through exercise says -1549, and daly kcal summ is -2561. I do get points when I have to be careful not to go over... or eat slightly more and even next day.

Also I think I have lost a pound at most! Will it maybe take a while to start losing weight? I am determined not to give up but just wondering if you have any advice to help me. Maybe when to eat what? Ie before exercise etc

Thanks [lol]


Our expert says...

Hi there,

Firstly well done on sticking to your targets over the past 10 days. I think there are two questions in your email - one about the targets and the other about eating and exercise.

I will attempt to answer the targets part and pass your question to our fitness expert Kelly for the 'when to eat bit'!

The beauty of the food diary approach is that it is flexible and realistic by focusing on the overall week. So if one day you do exceed your food calorie targets, by 'upping' your exercise on the same day, or making an adjustment over the following days (eating a few less calories and exercising more), you can still stay on track to lose weight. The idea is to ensure that you get a green tick for the overall week total in your Week View, and this will ensure that you have created the necessary calorie energy deficit to lose weight. So keep an eye on how you are doing over the week on your Week View.

If you are asking whether you can eat more calories on the days that you have exceeded your exercise target, the answer is it really comes down to how you are feeling. If you are left feeling hungry on the days that you are exercising heavily, then it is advisable to maybe eat a few more calories. If however you are feeling satisfied, then don't! The main thing is to not let yourself get to a point where you are feeling hungry and therefore be tempted to cave in and binge-eat. You need to ensure that you are keeping your blood sugar levels consistent by eating small regular meals and snacks - preferably of the low GI variety that release energy slowly.

In summary, we wouldn't advise you to eat all the extra calories if you are hoping for the extra exercise to help speed up your weight loss. But if you do feel the need for a treat or a few extra calories on a certain day, then you can safely indulge knowing that you have earned this flexibility.

Regarding your weight loss so far, please do not be disappointed. You are only a week and a bit in, and to lose 1lb per week is good! Our bodies take time to adjust and weight loss rarely happens in a smooth downwards curve. It is usually more a series of stops and starts. So last week might be 1lb, this week could be 3lbs. The key is to stick with the plan. If you keep creating the calorie deficit, you will lose weight.

Kind regards


Customer Care Team


To add to Rachel?s excellent information, the key guidelines about eating around exercise include:

Before exercise:

- Not to exercise too soon after eating - ideally leave 1-2 hours although this varies for every individual and I would suggest trial and error to see what time frame you require to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.

- ensure the body has fuel before exercising i.e. do not exercise if you have not eaten all day as the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) will be higher and can lead to fainting, heat exhaustion and in severe cases hypoglycaemic coma!

- if you exercise straight after work and more then 1-2 hours after a main meal then try and consume just a small snack in the 1-2 hours before you know you are going to exercise. Again just ensure it is 50-110g of a carbohydrate/protein food source, i.e. a handful of nuts, seeds and raisins or a cereal bar, some fruit, a small chicken roll etc.

Post Exercise:

(this is crucial to ensure optimum recovery and refuelling of muscle stores but also to prevent cravings that could led to binges or insufficient recovery that could affect energy and levels and exercise quality the next day.)

- Ideally, consume 50-100grams of a carbohydrate and protein source within the first 15 minutes after exercise to optimise muscle recovery.

- Listen to your body regarding pre and post-exercise nutrition, if you find during one session you struggle for energy then it may be that you have not prepared well enough prior to training, i.e. left it too long since your last snack/meal.

Hope this helps


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