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Eat during hard exercise, even if you want to lose weight

Posted Jan 29 2008 10:04am

Don't skip snacks during a long bike ride or other hard exercise, even if weight loss is your goal. You will need to eat food or drink sugared beverages to be able to ride long enough to burn significant calories and lose weight. Your muscles need a constant supply of sugar to keep you going. Cyclists who do not eat run out of their stored muscle sugar in about two hours. When you run out of stored muscles sugar, your muscles hurt and you lose coordination. You will not be able to ride fast because when your muscles run out of their stored sugar, they use fat for energy. Fat is not an efficient source of energy for exercising intensely. You will ride much faster when your muscles are full of sugar. Intense exercise helps you to burn extra calories after you finish your ride. Taking food or sugared drinks during a ride will allow you to exercise intensely enough to increase your metabolism so you will burn extra calories for several hours after you finish your ride.

Eating foods that contain both carbohydrates and proteins during any long competition increases an athlete's endurance more than taking just carbohydrates. When you exercise vigorously for more than two hours, you need to take extra fluid, salt and calories. You should drink whatever fluid tastes best to you, and eat any food that includes salt. Many studies show that taking in extra carbohydrates during an event prolongs endurance, so athletes often eat oranges and other fruits, cookies, sandwiches and other carbohydrate-rich foods. You will have even greater endurance if you also eat some high-protein foods such as cheese, meat, chicken, fish or eggs. During prolonged, intense exercise your muscles are damaged, and the extra protein supplies the building blocks called amino acids that can help to limit muscle breakdown. Fitness newsletter; more on exercise for weight loss

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