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Eating exercise calories when training a lot

neeterskeeterneeterskeeter Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
OK, I know the adage is to eat exercise calories... and doing that has really helped my weight loss and overall fitness. I aim for 1200-1300 *net* calories a day, based on MFP recommendations. But on days when I have hard or long training runs (I'm training for a half marathon), I don't know how beneficial, let alone practical, it would be, to eat all the exercise calories.

For example, yesterday I ran 7 miles and burned 730 calories. I ate 1,550 calories. That left me with only 820 net calories! That seems way too low.

But I wasn't hungry... by the time I ate my chicken and veggies for dinner, and then ate some grapes and 1/2 cup skim milk and even a small chocolate chip cookie because I was lacking in calories and because it looked so tempting :wink:... I was stuffed. During the day I ate nuts because they are a good way for me to get in calories without getting too full. But I don't want to eat nuts all day because of the fat content.

I am hoping that maybe there are some athletes on here that train a lot that could give me some idea as to how much they eat. Keep in mind that I am *not* at my goal weight... I still have 11 pounds to lose. So is 820 okay due to the fact that I ran so much, or do I need to eat all of my exercise calories, or just some more of them?

Replies

  • havingitallhavingitall Member Posts: 3,728 Member Member Posts: 3,728 Member
    I was going to suggest eating nuts, They are high in fat but it is a good fat for your body.
  • TKDGirlTKDGirl Member Posts: 3 Member Posts: 3
    Never eat when you are not hungry even when you are short on calories. Eating when not hungry contributes to gaining weight and excessive fat. My net calories for the day can be as low as 500 and if I don't feel like eating I never will even when the thing on my profile says that I should. Time of day is also important. If you eat after 6pm you, it is more difficult to work off those calories because your metabolism slows down by the ends of the day.

    Good luck!
  • blondeheatblondeheat Member Posts: 253 Member Member Posts: 253 Member
    I have the same experience. Some days I bike very hard for 2-3 hours burning up to 800 calories per hour. I eat or drink about 200 calories per hour while biking, but that leaves a ton over my 1200 cals without exercise!

    I usually add some extra to each meal on bike days and sometime carry some over to the next day as I am often hungrier.

    Any others have techniques for this? It's almost waterpolo season when I tread water / swim for two hours two day a week!
  • SHBoss1673SHBoss1673 Member Posts: 7,317 Member Member Posts: 7,317 Member
    Never eat when you are not hungry even when you are short on calories. Eating when not hungry contributes to gaining weight and excessive fat. My net calories for the day can be as low as 500 and if I don't feel like eating I never will even when the thing on my profile says that I should. Time of day is also important. If you eat after 6pm you, it is more difficult to work off those calories because your metabolism slows down by the ends of the day.

    Good luck!

    this is absolutely false!

    Exercise releases specific hormones that inhibit the release of ghrelin in the body. Ghrelin is what makes you hungry. Exercise can make you feel less hungry.

    Similar to the idea that if you wait till you are thirsty to drink you are already dehydrated, if you wait until you are hungry to eat, you're body is usually already lacking in nutrients.

    Find a calorie amount that works, create a plan that incorporates that amount, and eat that amount daily.
    This is even more vital to realize for people who are obese, as obese people quite often have trained their hormonal systems to release hormones at the wrong times and can cause you to eat too much or too little depending on your body. IMHO you should find a calorie amount that is right for you, create a plan, and stick to it.
  • neeterskeeterneeterskeeter Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    Havingitall-

    I usually eat almonds in my yogurt and then a handful of peanuts with a piece of fruit. I also eat pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds daily. Maybe I need to eat more nuts but it scares me because even though I know they're good fats, I don't want my daily diet fat percentage to be higher than 30%.
  • neeterskeeterneeterskeeter Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    Never eat when you are not hungry even when you are short on calories. Eating when not hungry contributes to gaining weight and excessive fat. My net calories for the day can be as low as 500 and if I don't feel like eating I never will even when the thing on my profile says that I should. Time of day is also important. If you eat after 6pm you, it is more difficult to work off those calories because your metabolism slows down by the ends of the day.

    Good luck!

    this is absolutely false!

    Exercise releases specific hormones that inhibit the release of ghrelin in the body. Ghrelin is what makes you hungry. Exercise can make you feel less hungry.

    Similar to the idea that if you wait till you are thirsty to drink you are already dehydrated, if you wait until you are hungry to eat, you're body is usually already lacking in nutrients.

    Find a calorie amount that works, create a plan that incorporates that amount, and eat that amount daily.
    This is even more vital to realize for people who are obese, as obese people quite often have trained their hormonal systems to release hormones at the wrong times and can cause you to eat too much or too little depending on your body. IMHO you should find a calorie amount that is right for you, create a plan, and stick to it.

    SHBoss,

    Do you mean that if MFP tells me to eat 1200 net calories, and I burn off 700, I should come up with a plan to eat 1900 calories throughout the day? Or that if less than the net amount works, it's okay to eat, say, 1600 calories and end up with a net of under 1200?
  • JoyousMaximusJoyousMaximus Member Posts: 9,285 Member Member Posts: 9,285 Member
    I have the same experience. Some days I bike very hard for 2-3 hours burning up to 800 calories per hour. I eat or drink about 200 calories per hour while biking, but that leaves a ton over my 1200 cals without exercise!

    I usually add some extra to each meal on bike days and sometime carry some over to the next day as I am often hungrier.

    Any others have techniques for this? It's almost waterpolo season when I tread water / swim for two hours two day a week!

    I agree. On days you know you are going to exercise alot, factor part of it in to your plan in advance so you don't have to try to eat a lot of calories at once because that isn't particularly healthy either.
  • hiddensecanthiddensecant Member Posts: 2,446 Member Member Posts: 2,446 Member
    Chocolate milk made with any kind of low or nonfat milk ... it's the best thing you can have after endurance training, especially running (have it right after your run for recovery). You can make it at home, just be sure the carb to protein ratio is as close to 4:1 as possible (i.e., 40 carbs, 10 protein).
  • SHBoss1673SHBoss1673 Member Posts: 7,317 Member Member Posts: 7,317 Member
    have a plan neeter. All successful athletes out there have a food plan that is just as detailed as their workout plan. If you plan your food and you know within a few hundred calories, what your workout will be, you should be able to eat accordingly without having to shove a bunch of extra foods in at the end of the day.

    I, for example, know that today, I'll run 5 miles on the treadmill, which comes out to about 475 calories for me. Which I already added into my food schedule. I added an extra 150 calories to breakfast, 50 to my morning snack, 150 to lunch, 50 to my afternoon snack, and 100 to dinner, which brings me to 500 calories, no additional work needs doing. I know this works for me because I have been doing so for 8 months without (and this is actually a tad frustrating, because I'm looking to put on a few pounds) gaining weight.

    P.S. don't ask about the gaining weight, it's touchy for me. Believe it or not, putting on muscle weight is HARDER than taking off fat (for me at least).
  • SHBoss1673SHBoss1673 Member Posts: 7,317 Member Member Posts: 7,317 Member
    Never eat when you are not hungry even when you are short on calories. Eating when not hungry contributes to gaining weight and excessive fat. My net calories for the day can be as low as 500 and if I don't feel like eating I never will even when the thing on my profile says that I should. Time of day is also important. If you eat after 6pm you, it is more difficult to work off those calories because your metabolism slows down by the ends of the day.

    Good luck!

    this is absolutely false!

    Exercise releases specific hormones that inhibit the release of ghrelin in the body. Ghrelin is what makes you hungry. Exercise can make you feel less hungry.

    Similar to the idea that if you wait till you are thirsty to drink you are already dehydrated, if you wait until you are hungry to eat, you're body is usually already lacking in nutrients.

    Find a calorie amount that works, create a plan that incorporates that amount, and eat that amount daily.
    This is even more vital to realize for people who are obese, as obese people quite often have trained their hormonal systems to release hormones at the wrong times and can cause you to eat too much or too little depending on your body. IMHO you should find a calorie amount that is right for you, create a plan, and stick to it.

    SHBoss,

    Do you mean that if MFP tells me to eat 1200 net calories, and I burn off 700, I should come up with a plan to eat 1900 calories throughout the day? Or that if less than the net amount works, it's okay to eat, say, 1600 calories and end up with a net of under 1200?

    if you put your exercise calories into MFP, then it automatically adds them to how much you should eat. No need to over think it.

    But when you're planning out your routines, think about it like this:

    if MFP gives you a net allowance of 1200 calories (without any exercise)
    then if you exercise for 750 you should be planning to eat 1950 calories that day. Plan your food accordingly.
  • DemetriaDemetria Member Posts: 178 Member Posts: 178
    have a plan neeter. All successful athletes out there have a food plan that is just as detailed as their workout plan. If you plan your food and you know within a few hundred calories, what your workout will be, you should be able to eat accordingly without having to shove a bunch of extra foods in at the end of the day.

    I, for example, know that today, I'll run 5 miles on the treadmill, which comes out to about 475 calories for me. Which I already added into my food schedule. I added an extra 150 calories to breakfast, 50 to my morning snack, 150 to lunch, 50 to my afternoon snack, and 100 to dinner, which brings me to 500 calories, no additional work needs doing. I know this works for me because I have been doing so for 8 months without (and this is actually a tad frustrating, because I'm looking to put on a few pounds) gaining weight.

    P.S. don't ask about the gaining weight, it's touchy for me. Believe it or not, putting on muscle weight is HARDER than taking off fat (for me at least).

    I just started doing this! I wanted to be able to spread out all of my exercise calories over the day so it wouldn't be so hard to get them all in or at least a minimum of 50% of them. So I plan my more high calorie meals on exercise days. Then I do the same thing for non exercise days making sure one meal is not too big or too little. Since I realized that I am a stress/emotional eater, I look at my day to see everything going on and I plan for what & when I will eat so I don't end up starving and eating the wrong stuff. It really makes a difference in my mood at the end of a stressful day.

    I try to vary what I eat but I like routine and I have favorites.

    Demetria
  • SHBoss1673SHBoss1673 Member Posts: 7,317 Member Member Posts: 7,317 Member


    I just started doing this! I wanted to be able to spread out all of my exercise calories over the day so it wouldn't be so hard to get them all in or at least a minimum of 50% of them. So I plan my more high calorie meals on exercise days. Then I do the same thing for non exercise days making sure one meal is not too big or too little. Since I realized that I am a stress/emotional eater, I look at my day to see everything going on and I plan for what & when I will eat so I don't end up starving and eating the wrong stuff. It really makes a difference in my mood at the end of a stressful day.

    I try to vary what I eat but I like routine and I have favorites.

    Demetria

    this is a great plan. A very good idea to see what days are stressful and cause you to have eating issues. Plus, cortisol (a hormone released during stress) increases the insulin response, and when insulin is increased without being accompanied by other (growth related) hormones, it causes the body to store more fat. Cortisol during moderate intensity exercise is fine, cortisol cuz your boss is pissed at you just causes you to pack on body fat.
  • DemetriaDemetria Member Posts: 178 Member Posts: 178
    One major thing I have learned beyond what, how, when to eat & exercise is PLANNING. Planning puts you in charge of what you can do and control. I got the bull by the horns! LOL

    Demetria
  • neeterskeeterneeterskeeter Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    Okay. Thanks DHBoss. I guess I tend to be a little OCD and I feel like I already plan so much when it comes to food... it takes me half an hour to 45 minutes in the morning to get my food ready for the day, because I am really busy and rarely home except in the late evenings. So I chop my salad and fruit and wrap up my chicken or turkey etc. and bring a big old bag of food to work with me every day. :laugh:

    I have a work out plan I generally follow which includes a long run, a pace run, a speed or hill workout, and a tempo run every week, for my half marathon, plus two Muscle Hour classes a week, and if I can't make them (over lunch), I do circuit training. So I *usually* know how much I'll be working out and about how many calories I burn, but my biggest fear is that I won't be able to work out on a day I was planning to burn a set amount of calories, and then my calories will be over! :sad: Sometimes I plan to work out over lunch and I can't get away from an emergency project at work. Sometimes I plan to work out after work and before an event, but I have to stay late at work. Etc. So I guess that's why I tend to try to fit in extra calories in the evenings... because I'd rather do that AFTER I'm sure I got my big workout in, then plan on the big workout and not get it in but then I ended up eating all of those extra calories.

    So what I mean, I'm OCD and I worry a lot about these things, ha ha ha. I will try to plan those extra calories into my meals on my big work-out days though. Sometimes I also can't predict the exact calories, like if my boss takes us out to lunch, or a friend wants to meet for dinner, etc... I always try to make the healthiest choices but I don't always know ahead of time what I'm going to eat.
  • blondeheatblondeheat Member Posts: 253 Member Member Posts: 253 Member
    Thanks for the suggestions!

    Hey neeterskeeter, I have the same worry about not making a workout. When I plan a 2 hour bike ride and then a thunderstorm pops up :grumble: it really messes me up! I can still workout inside but never burn close to the number of cals indoors as I would outside on a group ride.
  • annalizaannaliza Member Posts: 809 Member Posts: 809
    Me too...I have the same worries and can't always get my workout in.

    The worst is planning a workout, setting your calories up for the day, then realize you can't workout and have a whole 200 cals left for the rest of the day. It's sometimes frustrating!

    Planning is a good idea, but sometimes the planning is what kills me in the end.
  • MacMadameMacMadame Member Posts: 1,893 Member Member Posts: 1,893 Member
    my biggest fear is that I won't be able to work out on a day I was planning to burn a set amount of calories, and then my calories will be over! :sad:

    So eat less the next day. :)

    It's not like you are going to gain 2 pounds if you overeat one day compared to your expenditure. Our bodies don't work like that.

    I think of myself as a calorie bank. I need to be in balance, but not every second of the day and not even at the end of every day. I just need to be in balance over a 3-4 day running average. I also think of it all as averages. I eat 1800 calories a day *on average* because that amount is the amount that causes me to maintain, but I don't eat 1800 calories every day. Some days I eat 1500 and some days I eat 2500.

    Also, if you plan to consume some of those calories as part of the workout, you won't get that far out of balance. If you don't workout, you don't consume those particular calories. I generally have an extra snack 30-60 min. before a workout, maybe a sports drink with (if the workout lasts long enough) and then a snack afterwards. If I don't workout, I don't get any of this food, so it limits how many calories I go over my daily average.
  • neeterskeeterneeterskeeter Member Posts: 571 Member Member Posts: 571 Member
    Thanks for the good ideas.

    It's nice to know I'm not alone in my worries about planning, though. :wink:
  • TKDGirlTKDGirl Member Posts: 3 Member Posts: 3
    Food and water is not the same. Food is energy, water is hydration. They play different function for human organism, It is like comparing apples and oranges.
    That is how you lose weight - you exercise, you don’t want to each as much as you would without exercise, then if you eat when not hungry, you gain your weight back. We are not talking about starving yourself when not eating. We just wait until we are hungry enough to get food.
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