Energy And Exericse

Exercise is as important to an antiaging program as nutrition. As more demand is placed on the body, energy must be available in effecient manner to support high demand as well as sustain the body during the prolonged recovery period and normal daily activity.

Energy replenishing diets aim to boost the energy during high demand periods without upsetting the normal ongoing metabolism or increasing the tendency to gain fat. Energy diets are not so much about the type of food you eat, its more concerned with how much you eat and when.


Glycogen is the main fuel for fast muscle fibers; strength, speed, and velocity. Glycogen replenishment [also known as carb loading] is a key to full muscle recuperation from prolonged or intense exercise, and is used widely by endurance athletes. Failure to replenish glycogen stores is typically associated with “flat” muscles, plus a loss of strength, speed, velocity and the capacity to resist fatigue.

The process entails a few days of carbs depletion [very low carb diet] followed by a few days of carb loading [high carb diet]. This cycle is designed to pump maximum glycogen into the muscle tissues at the time it is needed.

Carb depletion - Depending upon the level of exercise intensity and pre-exercise glycogen stores, muscle loses its initial glycogen storage within 10-30 minutes of sustained intense exercise. That’s total depletion in the duration of a workout. Muscle initial glycogen loss can average between 300-500 calories [80g-120g]

Carb loading – peak muscle capacity is reached post-exercise. This is the time to replenish glycogen stores. Proper post workout meals result in full glycogen replenishment within only a few hours. Studies have shown the net rate of glycogen resynthesis is highest in the first 30 minutes of recovery, and then it significantly decreases by 62% throughout the remaining 4.5 hours of recovery. The best recovery routine is using a series of mini-meals over the 4 hours following intense exercise:

  • Every 60 minutes following exercise have a mini-meal consisting of 25-30g of carbs and 15-30g of protein.
  • Four small recovery meals provide 100-120g carbs and up to 120g of amino acids for glycogen loading within 3-4 hours.

This regime avoids insulin spikes, which trigger undesirable fat gain. Prolonged and frequent carb feeding may cause over secretion of insulin (hyper-insulinaemia); leading to insulin resistance and metabolic problems, including an undesirable fat gain. To avoid this, one should take advantage of a post-exercise small recovery meal to provide a swift full glycogen loading with no side effects.

For weight training, carb depletion for a few days is too restrictive to the muscle, leading to loss of muscle mass and strength. Instead use shorter cycles of glycogen depletion-loading, on a day in, day out basis. To avoid muscle waste during a low carb day, it’s highly recommended to increase fat consumption for that day, thus compensating for the missing carbs with fat fuel.


It’s Not How Much, Its What and How Often

Finding a good balance to maintaining energy, building muscle and burning fat requires your to manipulate your metabolic system:

What to Eat - eat an abundance of low Glycemic Index Foods and restrict high Glycemic Index (GI) foods. See lists of GI Foods here.

How Often - eat 6-meals a day. This stabilises blood sugar levels and provides a constant supply of amino acids and energy to your body.


The Glycemix Index (GI)

The glycemic index (GI) measures [on a scale of 1-100] the quality of carbohydrate foods; how quickly they are broken down into glucose. Widely used by diabetics to manage their blood sugar, it is now recognised as an effective way to maintain energy and lose fat. Read more on glycemic index.

How to Use GI in Antiaging Wellness Program.

This gets a little confusing, but stick with me – all will be clear at the end.

Some High GI foods such as rice cakes, carrots, potatoes, watermelon or grape juice are termed "unfavorable" as high GI foods, rely on eating such carbohydrates by themselves in a fasted state, to burn fat.

The antiaging wellness program is aimed at improving body composition [losing fat and gaining muscle]. This requires a combination of fats, carbs and protein. Eating protein and fat with carbohydrates slows down absorption, thereby effectively rendering these High GI foods as Low GI foods.

This effectively renders the Glycemic Index ineffective for our purpose of fat-burning and muscle building nutrition.

The Mediterranean diet works particularly well - it is well balanced; providing extra energy boosts necessary for body building without unbalancing caloric and energy levels.

For more information on managing your bodies energy to prevent tiredness.

NEXT: Proteins For Muscle Building



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