Are you getting the nutrients you need to power through your HIIT class? Or do you sometimes feel like you’re running on empty? Lookout for these 5 common signs you’re not eating enough to fuel your workout.
Most people will experience fatigue at some stage in their workout which can bring you to a grinding halt. Whilst there are numerous factors that cause you to tire quickly, such as the level of intensity or how long you workout, proper pre-workout nutrition is often overlooked, especially if you skimp on the carbs. A well-balanced meal should include a combo of low GI carbs (to release energy steadily) and proteins (to feel satisfied) with some quality fats. Think oats and yoghurt for breakfast, wholegrain wrap with chicken and avocado for lunch, salmon and quinoa salad for dinner and snack on nuts. Timing is crucial, too. Eat a meal or snack about two hours before working out, and eat within one hour after you exercise to help repair and refuel the muscles that were broken down during exercise.
Finding it hard to focus? It could be you’re not getting enough essential fats. While it’s possible to consume enough calories from carbs and protein alone, people who limit food with fat could unintentionally under-eat. Fats are crucial for brain function because they help neurotransmitters send messages, which are critical for learning and memory. But not all fats are created equal. Opt for the healthy kind, such as oily fish (salmon, tuna), walnuts, flaxseed, avocado, chia seeds and olive oil.
Hard to believe? When you’re not eating enough you can send your body into ‘starvation mode’. This directly leads to a break down of precious, calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy, which in turn lowers metabolic rate so that the body needs fewer calories to keep ticking over and weight loss slows down. Sigh! What’s more, running on empty may mean you can’t muster the energy to train at higher intensities to maximise fat burning.
If you sometimes find yourself quick to snap at your partner, family members or co-workers, you may be in need of a better eating plan. One of the biggest contributors to a low mood is a drop in blood sugar. Low blood sugar levels can mean you haven’t eaten in a while or you haven’t eaten the right things. Eating consistently throughout the day provides your brain and body with a constant supply of glucose and can prevent dips in your blood sugar levels. Ideally eat on a schedule of every four to five hours. Opt for a balanced ratio of protein, wholegrains and colourful veggies or fruit for lasting sustenance and much needed vitamins and minerals.
Consistently under eating may compromise how the immune system responds to invaders (like bacteria, fungi, and viruses) – which may explain why many people after starting a crash diet are run down. For a normal, healthy diet, nutritionists recommend eating five portions of veg and 2 portions of fruit everyday. But if you find yourself with a constant sniffle or sore throat, it is important to increase this amount (especially veg) as much as possible to help boost your immune system and protect against infection. Include capsicums and broccoli in stir-fries, top yoghurt with chopped strawberries, kiwi or orange, or warm up with nourishing soups – these foods provide a natural dose of vitamin A and C which are well known for its role in the immune system