I’m going to break down 7 nutrition myths that are especially prevalent among endurance athletes.
These myths also exist in the strength training world, but they’re particularly pernicious for people who run, jog, swim, cycle, or do any sort of endurance training.
These people know that nutrition is key to performance. Unfortunately, while some advice out there is good, a lot of nutrition advice is just flat-out nonsense.
So in this episode of the podcast, I’m going to lay some of the worst offenders to rest.
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
4:01 – Myth: Eating lots of carbs is the most important part of nutrition.
8:39 – Myth: You have to eat within 30 minutes of finishing an endurance workout.
10:38 – Should you eat before or during an endurance training workout?
12:08 – Myth: Energy bars and gels are better than whole foods.
13:43 – The best carbs for before, during, or after a workout.
14:39 – Myth: Endurance trainees should take electrolyte supplements.
18:27 – Why you should be skeptical of electrolyte and hydration supplements.
24:33 – Myth: Getting leaner makes you faster.
27:37 – Myth: endurance athletes should never diet.
31:07 – Myth: You should train to “earn” your calories.
Mentioned on the Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello and Happy Labor Day. I am recording this on Labor Day, which is a form of blast for me, I guess. But hey, here we are. Welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews, your host. And I want to thank you for joining me today. And if you like my podcast, if you like what I’m doing here, please do subscribe to it in whatever app you’re using for two reasons.
One, it’ll make sure that you don’t miss any new episodes, so they will be queued up for you. And two, it helps me reach more people with this show because it helps boost the show’s rankings on the various charts. And many people go to those charts when they’re looking for a new podcast to listen. Okay, so what are we getting ourselves into in this episode?
While I’m going to break down seven myths that are particularly prevalent among endurance training folk. Some of them are also in the strength training space, but these are primarily endurance training myths. People who run, who jog, who trail run, who ride a bicycle, who swim, and so forth. And many of these people of course, know that nutrition plays a central role in their performance, and they are constantly bombarded with tips and suggestions and warnings about how, when and why they should eat.
And a lot of the advice can be helpful. Uh, some of it is okay, but misinterpreted or misapplied, and some of it is. Nonsense. So in this episode, I am going to be slaughtering some sacred cows. One of my favorite things to do because I’m a monster. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p.
One on one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and all circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible. And we can do the same for you. We make getting fitter, leaner, and stronger, paint by numbers simple by carefully managing every aspect of your training and your diet for you.
Basically, we take out all of the guesswork, so all you have to do is follow the plan and watch your body change day after day, week after week, and month after. What’s more, we’ve found that people are often missing just one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle, and I’d bet a shiny shackle, it’s the same with you.
You’re probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing correctly or at all that’s giving you the most grief. Maybe it’s your calories or your macros. Maybe it’s your. Selection. Maybe it’s your food choices. Maybe you’re not progressively overloading your muscles, or maybe it’s something else, and whatever it is, here’s what’s important.
Once you identify those one or two things you’re missing. Once you figure it out, that’s when everything finally clicks. That’s when you start making serious. Progress, and that’s exactly what we do for our clients. To learn more, head over to www.buy legion.com. That’s by legion.com/vip and schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call.
It’s really just a discovery call where we get to. Know you better and see if you’re a good fit for the service. And if you’re not for any reason, we will be able to share resources that’ll point you in the right direction. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of it, and if you also want to finally stop spinning your wheels and make more progress in the next few months than you did in the last few years, check out my VIP coaching [email protected] legion.com/vi.
Okay. Myth number one, eating lots of carbs is the most important aspect of nutrition. Now, there’s no question that eating sufficient carbs and that may be a lot of carbs is important for optimizing your performance and your recovery. That applies to endurance training, that applies to strength training, any sort of vigorous physical activity.
Chances are you are going to do better with a higher carb diet rather than. Lower carb diet, you are going to have more productive, enjoyable workouts. You’re going to recover faster, You are going to perform better in your training, and that can be particularly important if you are competing.
Unfortunately, though, with endurance training, many coaches, authors and sports scientists beat the drums so loudly for carbs that people fall prey to. The idea that that is really. Only aspect of nutrition that matters, that that is the only dimension of a healthy or quote unquote good diet for endurance training.
And that can lead them to neglect other vital aspects of nutrition, like eating enough protein. Now, protein intake is generally higher among strength training. Peoples, among people who are trying to gain muscle and strength. But again, in the endurance training space, protein is not as popular as it is among lifestyle bodybuilders, I guess you could say.
For example, studies show that people who take their endurance training seriously, who do a lot of it should be eating about the same. Of protein as those of us who are in the gym banging weights, mostly to improve our body composition. Not to say that we’re not in there also to get healthier, but at least 50% of the reason we push and pull and squat heavy weights is to look a certain way.
To have a certain amount of muscle and muscle definition and so forth, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And those of us who are into that know that we need to eat two to three times the recommended dietary intake, the RDI of protein to maximize muscle and strength, gain something around, let’s say 0.821 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, and.
Research shows that the same thing goes for people who do a lot of endurance training and who want to be as good at endurance training as they possibly can be. Now in pursuit of maximizing their carbon intake. Many endurance trainees will eat two little protein so they can eat more carbs, and that impairs their ability to recover from their training.
To retain muscle, to retain strength, to retain performance. And another issue among many endurance trainees is they will favor stuff like bread and pasta and oats, which is not bad per se, but they will eat too much of that stuff. And too little fruits, vegetables, and legumes, the more nutritious plant-based carbs.
Now oats are quite nutritious, I would say those are an exception. They are my favorite source of whole grain. For example, but white bread, white pasta. Nothing wrong with those foods per se, but not very nutritious. And just to give you an idea of how prevalent this problem can be in a study conducted by scientists at RO Swab University, sorry, my Polish is not very good.
Only 55% of marathon runners consumed the minimum recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. So the key takeaway here is don’t miss the forest for the high carb trees. Eat plenty of carbs, but make sure that a portion of those come from fruits, vegetables, and legumes, at least, uh, a couple of servings of fruit per day, and three to five servings of vegetables per day.
Legumes could be considered supplementary. I wouldn’t say that they are as necessary. Getting your two servings of fruit per day and your three to five servings of vegetables per day. If you were going to work legumes in, you could replace the fruit with legumes. I think that would be reasonable, but I would not recommend replacing the vegetables with legumes, especially dark leafy greens, at least one serving per day, ideally at least two, but one is a bare minimum in my opinion.
And in addition to that, I think it’s also smart to get in at least a half of a serving of whole grains per day. Okay? The second myth is that you have to eat within 30 minutes of finishing an endurance training workout. This is the endurance training equivalent of the anabolic window myth in strength training or in resistance training, I guess you could say, where you’re supposed.
Eat protein in particular within 30, 45 or 60 minutes, depending on who you are listening to, or you will miss out on the gains that you could have gotten from that workout. Or worse, you may even start losing muscle. And so many athletes, many endurance athletes will tie themselves in knots over their nutrition timing and particularly their post workout nutrition.
And again, a common belief is you have to eat carbs. Within 30 minutes or so of finishing an endurance training workout, or you will dramatically impair your recovery. And some people in the endurance training space will say similar to the resistance training space, that if you don’t do this, if you don’t have your carbs, then you’ve basically wasted that workout.
And this is a, a major source of anxiety for many endurance trainee. And it also encourages them to eat a lot of sugary, highly processed recovery drinks and bars and gels, which simply is not necessary. Fortunately, research shows. Otherwise, you only need to. Restock your body’s carbohydrate stores. You only need to eat carbs within 30 to 60 minutes of working out.
If you plan on doing another difficult endurance training workout, maybe something like 90 minutes or so within about. Eight hours of finishing the first workout. If not, if you are training the next day or even the following day, you can simply eat normally and your body will recover and fill up its glycogen levels just fine.
Glycogen being a form of carbohydrate stored in the muscles and liver, and it is a primary source of fuel during various types of exercise. And as far as eating before or during, And endurance training workout. Whether or not that is necessary, whether or not that is going to help, will just depend on the length and the intensity of the training.
So if you are going to be doing, let’s say, a moderate intensity, 30 or 60 minute workout, you don’t have to worry about strategically timing your meals. You don’t have to eat before, You don’t have to eat during, you don’t have to eat directly after just. The way that you normally would do your workout, and then when it’s convenient, eat again, don’t overthink it, but if you are going to do a longer endurance training workout, let’s say a 60 minute workout or a very high intensity endurance training workout that is shorter, it could be 30 minutes or if you were going to be doing multiple workouts in the same day, it.
Smart to eat 20 to 30 grams of protein and 30 to 50 grams of carbs about 30 to 90 minutes before and after your workouts. And the closer your meal is to the start of your workout, the less you should eat to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort. As a, an fyi, and if you are about to do a long workout, let’s say a 90 plus minute workout, then it’s also a good idea to eat at least 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise.
So you’re eating before you train, and then at the one hour mark, you’re having 30 to 60 grams of carbs, and then the two hour mark, another 30 to 60 grams. And so, . Okay. The next myth is that energy bars, gels and drinks are better than Whole foods, and this myth is great for the companies that sell bars, gels, and drinks and so on.
They are very happy that there is a widely held belief among many endurance athletes that these. Highly processed bars gels. Choose drinks are superior to Whole Foods for fueling workouts. And while these products can be helpful if you are doing a very long workout or maybe a competition like an Ironman, but they are not necessary in most cases and are often inferior.
To Whole Foods. One salient example of this comes from a study conducted by Dr. David c Neiman of Appalachian State University, and he found that cyclists who ate bananas during a 46 mile time trial performed just as well as cyclists who slurped down sports drinks. Other studies have shown that plain old raisins are just as effective for boosting endurance performance as energy gels and sports jelly beans.
Another interesting tidbit is research shows that eating bananas, pairs, and other fruits before, during, and or after endurance training can improve markers of immune function and recovery. Something that the highly processed sports supplements don’t do. And the reason for that is Whole Foods, especially fruit, contain large amounts of molecules known as polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation during and after exercise.
So if you want to carb up for a long workout or during a long workout, or if you want to have some carbs after training, some great. Options are bananas, pears, apples, oranges, blueberries, grapes, raisins, raisins, dates, figs, papaya, and mango. And in addition to fruits, other good snacks to eat before and after longer.
Endurance training workouts include yogurt, like high protein yogurt, Greek yogurt, skier. Uh, cottage cheese can be great beef jerky, oatmeal way protein, quinoa, sweet potatoes, kidney beans. Chickpeas, the energy bars, the drinks, the gels, the choose, They’re convenient, they’re tasty, and they certainly can provide some variety during those long workouts, but they are not the killer app.
Okay. Myth number four is that endurance trainees need to take supplements, hydration supplements, and honestly, As somebody who sells sports supplements, I wish this were not a myth because the hydration supplement market is big and it’s growing, and the margins are very good. Even if you make a good quote unquote.
Hydration formulation, even if you’re willing to spend some money on it, the margins are still good, and that’s not the case with many other sports supplements. Protein, for example, my protein legion’s, WHE protein costs me almost $20 a bottle to produce and ship to somebody. Not good margins. Anybody who is familiar with business knows that if you are getting a 100% markup, for example, or a slightly higher than that, uh, markup from manufacturing cost to end user cost, that is awful.
Somebody who just is looking at the business economics of it would say, Don’t do that. Just don’t do that. Don’t, don’t sell a protein. They wouldn’t understand that. You really do need to. Different types of protein powders as a sports nutrition company because that’s, uh, really important for getting new customers.
A lot of people are going to first buy a protein powder from a sports nutrition company, but again, purely on the economics of it that is. Awful. To put it in perspective, a good margin is considered around eight times from the manufacturer’s. Cost to the consumer’s cost about eight times, six times, not very good.
That’s where you should. Really think about whether you can make that product work. Can you sell enough of them? Do you have other strategic reasons for selling a product that has subpar margins? And anything over 10 is considered very good. So one to two very, very bad. Um, anyway, anyway, tangent mode, disengaged.
Let’s get back to these electrolyte, these hydration supplements. My point with that tangent, by the way, is that Legion does not sell a hydration or an electrolytes supplement. Not because we couldn’t make a lot of money with it, but because the research does not support the use of these supplements and.
Sports beverage companies, though they’ve spent tens of millions of marketing dollars convincing athletes of all stripes that these supplements are essential. They’re one of the keys to supporting performance and recovery. If you go to Gatorade’s website, for example, one of the first sentences you’ll see is that, Replenishing electrolytes keeps your performance at its peak.
And the sales pitch for these supplements goes like this. When you exercise, you sweat and that causes you to excrete molecules like sodium and potassium that carry tiny electrical charges that help facilitate muscle contraction. And those molecules are known as electrolytes, Sodium and potassium are electrolytes.
And when your body’s stock of electrolytes becomes depleted, your performance drop. So then you need to replenish them, right? You have to consume electrolytes, and then you can keep your performance at its peak, as Gatorade’s copywriters say. And it’s also often claimed that getting low on electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps.
And that of course, puts the kibosh on your training, on your games, on your competitions, and so on. And again, These are things that are widely accepted by athletes, professional athletes, coaches, professional coaches, even many sports scientists. But there are some very good evidence based reasons to be very skeptical.
So the keystone of the entire. Argument for the use of hydration electrolyte supplements is that you lose large amounts of these electrolytes and especially sodium and potassium when you sweat, and that that loss of electrolytes leads to poor performance and muscle cramps. However, as exercise physiologist Ross Tucker explains in a series of excellent articles on his website, which I recommend you check out, even the saltiest of sweaters only lose a small amount of electrolytes when they sweat.
In fact, sweat has a much lower concentration of electrolytes than other bodily. Fluids. So when you sweat, the concentration of electrolytes in your body actually rises because you lose much more water than sodium in potassium when you drink enough to replenish about 30 to 50% of the water. That you lose through sweat, which is about the maximum most endurance trainees can comfortably consume during hard training.
Your sodium concentrations return to that normal healthy range. And in case you’re curious why many high level endurance trainees don’t replenish much water that they lose during workouts or any, it’s because mild dehydration doesn’t seem to impair performance. Over rehydration easily can. So if you guzzle too much water during your endurance training workouts, you can dangerously dilute your blood sodium levels, even if you are consuming electrolytes, and that of course is going to mess up your training.
Another issue with many electrolyte slash hydration drinks and supplements like Gatorade, Powerade, and others, is that the concentration of electrolytes in these products is so low that it barely moves the needle. It barely changes anything in your body. So for instance, if somebody goes for a two hour run and they lose two liters of sweat during that run, they’ll lose about four and a half grams of sodium.
If they drank a sports drink, they would still lose about four grams of sodium. So that’s hardly enough to make a difference in their performance. And that was demonstrated in a study conducted by scientists at Pennsylvania State University, which showed that people who drank water or Gatorade during runs wound up with the same blood concentrations of sodium.
So while you do lose some electrolytes in your. The amounts are just too small to matter and are easily replenished over the course of the day from eating normal foods. And even if drinking electrolyte rich sports drinks and other supplements did significantly boost your bodies electrolyte stores, there’s very little evidence that that would improve your performance or stave off muscle cramps.
And in the case of muscle cramps, there is a bit of a mystery there because scientists are not sure really. What causes them. But one of the best current theories is that muscle cramps are the result of altered neuromuscular control, not a lack of electrolytes. Basically, there’s a disruption in the electro signals that causes muscles.
To contract, and that makes them contract too long and at the wrong times, and now you have muscle cramps. And research shows that electrolytes does not fix that. So even if that isn’t the underlying mechanism, again, studies have shown that electrolytes are not going to prevent cramps or resolve cramps.
Now a quick personal anecdote to share before we move on to the next myth is when I was younger, I used to go to the beach. I grew up in Florida. I’d go to the beach in the summer. It is 90 plus degrees. It feels like 105 plus degrees, and I would play volleyball for hours. I would be out there probably. I don’t know, from 11 to like five or six.
And I quickly learned that if I did not stay hydrated, if I did not drink water when I was thirsty, if I just ignored the thirst and kept playing, and if I did not take some salt and potassium tablets before going out and sweating in the stifling hot sun for many hours, I would get really bad headache.
And I learned that both of those things were necessary. Just drinking water was not enough. I had to make sure that I drank enough water. And the key there is to drink wind thirsty and take the salt potassium tablets before going out and sweating for hours and hours and hours. And interestingly, if I forgot to take the salt potassium tablets and I got a really bad headache.
It was too late if I took them after the fact. It didn’t do anything to resolve the headache. I had to take them before going out. So my point with sharing that is there are rather extreme circumstances where taking some electrolytes, uh, supplementing with electrolytes can make sense. But keep in mind, That was 4, 5, 6, 7 hours in the sun running around with very few breaks.
We would play basically nonstop for hours and hours and hours, and we would stop here and there, grab a bite of food, drink a little bit of water, and get right back to it. I don’t know how many liters of sweat I was excreting in that time, but it was a lot. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible.
And we can do the same for you. Okay, let’s move on to the next myth, which is, getting leaner always makes you faster. Now, of course, this is true to a point, right? Lighter and leaner does make you a faster runner, for example, which is why many competitive runners and other endurance athletes are always striving to be very lean, be.
Light. What they need to remember though, is that there is a point of diminishing returns here. Yes, you want to be lean enough that you’re not carrying around too much extra body weight, especially body fat, but you don’t want to be so lean. You can’t stay healthy. You can’t feel good. You can’t train hard, you can’t push yourself.
At best overly restricting your calories will simply drain you. It will drain your training. It will make you feel sluggish. It will make you feel weak and slow. At worse, though, it can lead to an eating disorder and there is abundant evidence that people who pursue endurance sports seriously competitively have a higher incidence of eating disorders.
Normal folk. For instance, a study on elite Norwegian athletes found that about 24% of the female athletes and about 9% of the male athletes had some kind of eating disorder, and the most common one among endurance athletes tends to be severely restricting calories to lose weight, and that can sometimes turn into full blown anorexia nervosa.
Even athletes who don’t have diagnosed eating disorders. Maybe think they don’t often overly restrict their calories, and that can lead to a condition that scientists call low energy availability. And basically what’s happening here is these people are eating too little to support their training and their recovery and other important bodily functions.
And in time that causes chronically high cortisol levels, low sex hormone levels, it causes lethargy and irritability and loss. Sex drive, loss of menstruation in women, a higher risk of injury, a decreased athletic performance, all kinds of unwanted side effects. So while it’s important to get lean, to stay lean, if you want to be able to run fast or move your body quickly, regardless of how you’re doing it in the pool, on the bike, you don’t wanna become obsessed with fat loss at the expense of your.
Overall performance and health. And one of the best ways to avoid this problem is to get close to your goal weight before your most important competition. So don’t make the mistake of waiting until a month or so before your marathon, for example, to start slimming down. Try to be within about five, 5% of your goal weight within a couple of months before this competition.
And that way you can eat more calories while you do your most intense race specific. Workouts and you can focus entirely on getting faster and staying healthy instead of just getting leaner and lighter. The next myth plays off of the previous one, and that is that endurance trainees should never diet.
And there are probably two sources of this myth. One is many endurance trainees need to eat substantially more calories than other people, and that leads some people to think that they don’t need to follow any kind of structured ying plan whatsoever. They think they can just out-train their overeating habits or their eating habits.
And as you just learned, some endurance trainees do develop an unhealthy fixation on weight loss, and that makes many health professionals uncomfortable with the idea of even recommending. That they diet or that they try to lose weight, and both of these ideas are misguided. The first point is demonstrably false.
Although endurance training does burn a lot of calories, it is very easy to eat all of them back and more. It is very easy to overeat and even gain weight on a vigorous. Endurance training program, especially when you’re eating a lot of very calorie dense foods that taste really good. You don’t have to look very far for evidence of this.
Just look at the hundreds of overweight runners who are training for and finishing marathons, for example. And scientific research also shows that simply exercising more without controlling your calorie intake, rarely. Results in meaningful weight loss because appetite goes up and calorie intake naturally goes up.
Now as to the second point, although it is true that some endurance trainees develop eating disorders or dysfunctions, Some of them get very fixated on weight loss. It’s still a small minority. Most people doing a fair amount of endurance training are not highly competitive. It is just as much exercise to them as it is training, meaning it is just as much.
Something that they do because they enjoy it and they want to improve their health and maybe burn some extra calories as much as it is something that they are systematically approaching with very clear cut goals of progression and milestones that they’re working toward. And so for many of those people who do want to lose fat and who should lose fat to get to a more healthy body composition, of course it makes sense for them to diet, to restrict their calories intelligently in addition to their endurance training.
Now doing it intelligently, of course, is the key. I don’t recommend restricting calories, uh, more than about 20% below your total daily energy expenditure. I do not recommend eating a thousand calories per day or eating half of the calories that you burn every day. And eating the right number of calories is important, but also it is very important to eat.
Protein to make sure that you’re not just burning away large amounts of muscle. And then of course, you just have to stay patient because if you are doing it correctly, you are probably going to lose about one pound of fat per week. If you have a lot of fat to lose, you may be able to lose two pounds a week, maybe even three pounds a week if you are starting out obese.
But if you are starting out, let’s say mildly overweight, it is probably going to be about one pound of fat loss per week. And if you are starting. Fairly lean and you want to get more lean. It may be more like a half a pound of fat loss per week. Okay. The seventh and final myth for this podcast is that you should train to earn your calories.
This is a mind that is popular amongst. Endurance trainees and also amongst body composition trainees, people who are doing a lot of resistance training or maybe a combination of resistance training and endurance training. And the idea is you have to train enough every day to offset food intake. That’s the only way to maintain a lean physique.
So, If somebody eats 500 calories more than they normally would, then they think they need to burn 500 more calories running, and if they want to eat 3000 calories, uh, instead of 2000 calories in a day, well, they had better. Burn that additional thousand calories off and so on. And this one can be insidious because once you understand energy balance, you can easily fall into this trap.
You understand that if you. Eat more calories than you burn, you are going to gain some body fat. Of course, it doesn’t work in a one to one ratio. If you burned 2000 calories and ate 2001 calories, you did not just gain one calorie of body fat, one calories worth of body fat because your body has other things to do with calories depending on where they are coming from and other factors.
But we do know that if you consistently eat more calories than you burn, of course it would have to be more than one. Let’s say you’re consistently eating a couple hundred more calories than you burn every day. You are going to gain fat, even if all of those calories came from protein, for example. There just is no way to get around the strictures of energy balance, and so many people, when they understand that, They start to think with this idea of I had better micromanage my calorie intake and ensure that I am never in a calorie surplus.
There are two major problems with this. The first one is it’s stressful and it sets you up for exercise addiction. Eating disorders or dysfunctions overuse injuries. It also encourages you to build your training plans around the goal of just burning as many calories as possible, not getting fitter and faster.
So for example, Moderate pace. Long runs are great for burning a lot of calories, but are not great for maximizing your performance. The other problem with managing your eating and your exercising this way is it’s too complicated, it’s too inaccurate. It is completely unnecessary. You can accurately.
Estimate how many calories you burn every day, either as an average or if you want to get specific. Let’s say you are very active on one day and very inactive on another day. You can split those days up and instead of just averaging them, for example, you can accurately estimate how many calories you are burning on the active day versus the inactive day, but.
You are never going to be 100% correct no matter what model you use. So fretting over whether you should burn an additional hundred calories today to make up for that banana that you had in addition to your normal eating is a fool’s errand. And even if you could perfectly know how many calories you burn from exercise, fast forward 10 years and we have some device that we have implanted in us that tells us exactly how many calories we are burning.
We still would not need to eat that exact amount every day to maintain our current body weight. Well, how does that work? You just have to expand your time horizon here. Instead of looking at 24 hour energy in versus energy out, let’s look at the energy in and energy out of, let’s say a week. So long as you are eating and burning roughly the same amount of calories every week, for example, you are going to maintain your weight.
Even if one day you’re a little bit over one day, you’re a little bit under. If those all average out to about the same, in and out of the course of a week, you are going to maintain your weight. And the same thing, of course, would go for. A month, uh, you could even say a year, but that becomes impractical.
Most people who get really fit, who stay really fit, they look at their calorie intake either on a day to day basis or a week to week basis. And if they are working with it on a week to week basis, they don’t bother with adjusting their food intake every single day to try to perfectly match. How many calories they’re burning, assuming they’re trying to maintain their body weight, obviously.
So a good rule of thumb here, if you want to see what’s actually happening with your body weight, is to track your weight, track your calorie intake for a couple of weeks, and see on average how much you need to eat every week to maintain your weight. So if your weight has gone, Your daily weight, the average weight has gone up.
After a couple of weeks, you know that you are eating slightly too much. If it has gone down, you are eating not enough. If you want to maintain your weight and if it’s staying the same, then you can just keep eating the same amount of calories. Now, I personally prefer to work on a day to day basis. I find that easier.
I don’t mind eating more or less the same number of calories every day. I eat about 3000 calories per day on average. And one of the reasons that works well for me is I am fairly active seven days per week. I lift weights five days per week, but I do cardio. I hop on an upright bike. I do 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio six to seven days per week.
Uh, on the weekends when I’m not lifting weights, I will these days go out on the golf course. I’ll go to the driving range, hit some golf balls, go play some holes. You burn more calories than you may think when you’re on the driving range, in particular, driving around in a cart, hitting a ball here and there, not so much, but pounding balls on the range, the energy expenditure can rack up pretty quickly.
And so anyway, my point is, while I am not lifting weights on the weekends, I am burning calories in other ways in addition to the cardio that I normally do. And unfortunately, A weightlifting workout, a strength training workout doesn’t burn as many calories as we might hope. Four to 500 per hour is gonna be the number for most of us.
Now, if my activity levels were to very widely, if I were to be very active, let’s say 3, 4, 5 days per week, and then. Inactive on the remaining days, I probably would change my calorie intake to be higher on those high activity days and lower on those low activity days, but I wouldn’t do that unless I had to, because again, it’s just easier for me to eat in the range of 2,800 to 3000 calories per day and not think anymore about it.
Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you. Uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share. Shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f or life.com and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you.
+ Scientific References
- Ross, R., & Janssen, I. (2001). Physical activity, total and regional obesity: Dose-response considerations. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(6 SUPPL.). https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200106001-00023
- Logue, D. M., Madigan, S. M., Melin, A., Delahunt, E., Heinen, M., Mc Donnell, S. J., & Corish, C. A. (2020). Low energy availability in athletes 2020: An updated narrative review of prevalence, risk, within-day energy balance, knowledge, and impact on sports performance. In Nutrients (Vol. 12, Issue 3). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030835
- Loucks, A. B. (2007). Low energy availability in the marathon and other endurance sports. Sports Medicine, 37(4–5), 348–352. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737040-00019
- Sundgot-Borgen, J. P., & Torstveit, M. K. M. (n.d.). Prevalence of Eating Disorders in Elite Athletes Is Higher T... : Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Abstract/2004/01000/Prevalence_of_Eating_Disorders_in_Elite_Athletes.5.aspx
- Huovinen, H. T., Hulmi, J. J., Isolehto, J., Kyröläinen, H., Puurtinen, R., Karila, T., Mackala, K., & Mero, A. A. (2015). Body composition and power performance improved after weight reduction in male athletes without hampering hormonal balance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(1), 29–36. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000000619
- Schwellnus, M. P., Drew, N., & Collins, M. (2011). Increased running speed and previous cramps rather than dehydration or serum sodium changes predict exercise-associated muscle cramping: A prospective cohort study in 210 Ironman triathletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(8), 650–656. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2010.078535
- Schwellnus, M. P., Nicol, J., Laubscher, R., & Noakes, T. D. (2004). Serum electrolyte concentrations and hydration status are not associated with exercise associated muscle cramping (EAMC) in distance runners. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(4), 488–492. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2003.007021
- Schwellnus, M. P. (2009). Cause of Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps (EAMC) - Altered neuromuscular control, dehydration or electrolyte depletion? In British Journal of Sports Medicine (Vol. 43, Issue 6, pp. 401–408). Br J Sports Med. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2008.050401
- Baker, L. B., Munce, T. A., & Kenney, W. L. (2005). Sex differences in voluntary fluid intake by older adults during exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(5), 789–796. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.MSS.0000162622.78487.9C
- Anastasiou, C. A., Kavouras, S. A., Arnaoutis, G., Gioxari, A., Kollia, M., Botoula, E., & Sidossis, L. S. (2009). Sodium replacement and plasma sodium drop during exercise in the heat when fluid intake matches fluid loss. Journal of Athletic Training, 44(2), 117–123. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-44.2.117
- Hew-Butler, T., Loi, V., Pani, A., & Rosner, M. H. (2017). Exercise-Associated hyponatremia: 2017 update. In Frontiers in Medicine (Vol. 4, Issue MAR, p. 1). Frontiers Media S.A. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2017.00021
- Cheung, S. S., McGarr, G. W., Mallette, M. M., Wallace, P. J., Watson, C. L., Kim, I. M., & Greenway, M. J. (2015). Separate and combined effects of dehydration and thirst sensation on exercise performance in the heat. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 25(S1), 104–111. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.12343
- Ranchordas, M. K., Tiller, N. B., Ramchandani, G., Jutley, R., Blow, A., Tye, J., & Drury, B. (2017). Normative data on regional sweat-sodium concentrations of professional male team-sport athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 40. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0197-4
- Nieman, D. C., Gillitt, N. D., Sha, W., Meaney, M. P., John, C., Pappan, K. L., & Kinchen, J. M. (2015). Metabolomics-Based Analysis of Banana and Pear Ingestion on Exercise Performance and Recovery. Journal of Proteome Research, 14(12), 5367–5377. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00909
- Rietschier, H. L., Henagan, T. M., Earnest, C. P., Baker, B. L., Cortez, C. C., & Stewart, L. K. (2011). Sun-dried raisins are a cost-effective alternative to sports jelly beans in prolonged cycling. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(11), 3150–3156. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31820f5089
- Kern, M., Heslin, C. J., & Rezende, R. S. (2007). Metabolic and performance effects of raisins versus sports gel as pre-exercise feedings in cyclists. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(4), 1204–1207. https://doi.org/10.1519/R-21226.1
- Nieman, D. C., Gillitt, N. D., Henson, D. A., Sha, W., Shanely, R. A., Knab, A. M., Cialdella-Kam, L., & Jin, F. (2012). Bananas as an energy source during exercise: A metabolomics approach. PLoS ONE, 7(5), 37479. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037479
- Jentjens, R., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2003). Determinants of post-exercise glycogen synthesis during short-term recovery. In Sports Medicine (Vol. 33, Issue 2, pp. 117–144). Sports Med. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200333020-00004
- Nieman, D. C., Gillitt, N. D., Chen, G. Y., Zhang, Q., Sha, W., Kay, C. D., Chandra, P., Kay, K. L., & Lila, M. A. (2020). Blueberry and/or Banana Consumption Mitigate Arachidonic, Cytochrome P450 Oxylipin Generation During Recovery From 75-Km Cycling: A Randomized Trial. Frontiers in Nutrition, 7, 121. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2020.00121
- Vitale, K., & Getzin, A. (2019). Nutrition and supplement update for the endurance athlete: Review and recommendations. In Nutrients (Vol. 11, Issue 6). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061289
- Orzeł, D., Kosendiak, A., & Bronkowska, M. (n.d.). Comparison of vegetables and fruit consumption frequency by athletes before and after marathon - PubMed. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30141578/
- Helms, E. R., Zinn, C., Rowlands, D. S., & Brown, S. R. (2014). A systematic review of dietary protein during caloric restriction in resistance trained lean athletes: A case for higher intakes. In International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 127–138). Human Kinetics Publishers Inc. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0054
- Kato, H., Suzuki, K., Bannai, M., & Moore, D. R. (2016). Protein requirements are elevated in endurance athletes after exercise as determined by the indicator amino acid oxidation method. PLoS ONE, 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0157406
- Phillips, S. M. (2012). Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes. British Journal of Nutrition, 108(SUPPL. 2). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114512002516