Are You Eating Enough?
Are you getting enough nutrients 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.
1. You get tired quickly
Most people will experience fatigue at some point during their workout which can bring you to a grinding halt and your pre-workout meal may be the cause.
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 yogurt 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.
2. You can't focus
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.
3. The pounds are adding up
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.
4. You're constantly in a bad mood
One of the biggest contributors to a bad mood is a blood sugar dropping. 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. Choose a balanced ratio of protein, whole grains and colorful veggies or fruit.
5. You get sick often
Constantly under eating may lower your immune system – 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's important to increase this amount (especially veg) as much as possible to help boost your immune system and protect against infection.