I saw a fitness related post today that made me realize just how unclear people are about performance and nutrition. It made me want to sit down and empty my brain for a minute on the topic..
The post was along the lines of,”I just burned a thousand calories at (insert cardio facility), now I’ve got to go home and make sure I don’t eat”
This again, is the age old concept of which states “having a caloric deficit will make me leaner and healthier, I’d better starve myself” While at its core the concept is true, if you were stranded on a desert island with nothing to eat or drink, you would certainly lean out before you die. For modern humans in our society, it just doesn’t work that way. The more work you do, i.e, workout, physical activity etc, the more energy (food) you will want to, and need to consume.
Think about this analogy from “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes. Have you ever heard someone say, I’m gonna “work up an appetite”? Let’s say they had a big work dinner that night and they wanted to make sure they arrived hungry for it. Maybe they would do an extra long workout, or go rake the leaves or go for a long run etc. They would do this in the hopes that it would literally make them hungry, and they could feast upon arrival. So why, if you’re goal is to consume fewer calories would you think that going and doing an hour of “high intensity cardio” would make you feel like not eating afterwards? Its like, you’re doing the very thing that will make you want to eat. Next time just skip the hour on the eliptical and you can not eat in peace Has our quest for fitness taken us to a place where we feel like we need to be writhing in misery after a workout in order to see a benefit?
Please stop focusing on calories in and calories out. Lift heavy weight, run as fast as you can, jump, pull, push and throw in as many ways as possible, and eat real food – as much as it takes.