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How should we eat when we perform exercising? by The Purple Aubergine

We have three different systems that provide energy to our bodies.

• Aerobic. That includes oxygen presence.

• Lactic Acid. Anaerobic glycolysis occurs in the absence of oxygen.

• Creatine Phosphate. That involves the storage of energy by phosphate bonds.

  Aerobic system

 As I said, it is possible only in the presence of oxygen. Oxigen through respiration helps our body to burn glucose and expel CO2. We s should perform at least 15-30 minutes 5-7 days a week to stay healthy. Examples of aerobics exercises are classes, dancing, cross country skiing, kickboxing, swimming and cycling.

  Lactic Acid

That is possible in the absence of oxygen. In this process, our bodies convert glucose into lactic acid, which promotes energy production. Usually is indicated 1-2 hours of extreme exercise 98% anaerobic, 2% aerobic a week. Remember! Too much exercise can be dangerous. It increases the risk of insomnia, can produce physical harm, become an obsession and lead to depression and suicide. Weightlift is an example of how our Lactic acid produces energy and how people can become obsessed with their bodies.

  Creatine Phosphate

 Creatine is mainly stored in the liver, brain and muscle. This system is used in short-high intensive exercise to provide ATP.

Carbohydrates consist of four different types of sugars. They represent the primary source of energy for our bodies.

Monosaccharides: Glucose, fructose and galactose. Disaccharides: Sucrose, Lactose and Maltose Oligosaccharides 2-10 molecules of monosaccharides. That includes Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol, Isomalt: Lactitol Erythritol. You can easily find them by reading any food supplement or energy drink label. We suggest reducing the daily intake of these types of sugars. On the other hand, we encourage people to eat the complex carbohydrates listed below.

Polysaccharides. That includes starch, gums, cellulose, pectin and Glycogen. We can find them in wholemeal, grains, vegetables and fruits.

Duration of sport or exercise 1-2 hours a day between 372-496g of carbohydrates. If you exercise over two hours per day, you should have an intake of 496-620g


What happens when we carbohydrates?

Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down to glucose and absorbed by the stomach walls and small intestine. From there, our blood takes them all over the body. They can go through and feed the brain when they arrive in the brain because of their chemical composition and the blood-brain barrier. That explains why we feel plenty of energy when we drink energy drinks. Complex carbohydrates will go through the bowel. The small intestine will break them down to glucose and pass them to the blood that will carry them all over the body. Some of them will go through the large intestine and help the intestine’s bacteria after that will be converted to faeces and defecated.

The role of Glycogen in our body and Carbohydrate Loading

Consequently, we need to be concerned about glycogen depletion and glucogenesis. During training, we burn calories, and these calories come from burning sugars. Therefore, we must replace them with new carbohydrates. We have 1-2 hours after exercise to replace them, crucial to light activities and intense training. 

Athletes are very concerned about the use of carbohydrates and Glycogen. Good glycogen storage means fewer fatigues, better performance, and more probability of winning. In 1960 a sports scientist discovered a technique that maximises glycogen storage in the body in 3-7 days. This technique is named Carbohydrate Loading. This technique allows athletes to reduce the risk of glycogen depletion and perform better.

However, different studies showed that the maximum glycogen storage could be achieved three days before the performance. That can be done by tapering exercises and eating a considerable amount of carbohydrates. You will be surprised to know that athletes who apply this method using 7-10g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body mass, which means that a person of 70kg will eat about 700g of carbohydrates.

 The process of gluconeogenesis and ketosis

Gluco (glucose) Neo (new) Genesis (creation).

The body and brain must always have enough amount of glucose. Sometimes, people do not eat enough carbohydrates, and consequently, our body needs to get that from different sources, such as protein and fat. This process, very similar to glycolysis, is called glucogenesis. Glucogenesis occurs mainly in the liver and ensures that our brain has enough glucose.

This process is prevalent in sports and mainly for people who follow keto diets. In other words, when our body runs low on carbohydrates, it starts to convert fats and amino acids into Glycogen and store it in the liver. If this happens daily, we create a process that is called ketosis. Glucogeneosis is nothing we need to worry about, and it is a response from our body to the absence of carbohydrates and excess protein. It is far different from the keto diet, where we force our body to convert amino acids and fats into glucose and then energy.

Protein has a crucial role in life, nutrition, and sports nutrition. 

They consist of chains of amino acids. An amino acid is a molecule with an aminic and an acid group, and they bond each other by the peptide. They help cells and tissues to grow and repair. Also, enzymes help and support many functions in our body. Different factors, such as age and lifestyle, affect the amount of protein we need.

We have 20 amino acids that work together in our bodies to make proteins. Nine of them are essential. We have to get them from food. Then we have Conditional Essential amino acids. Our body usually can make them, but it cannot make them in special conditions such as starvation.

To conclude, non-essential. Our body always can produce them at any time. That explains how the prices of protein supplements can vary. Like Carbohydrates and fats, they are a source of energy for our body and brain, and c they play a vital role in physical activity and exercise. They are also crucial in DNA. Proteins are essential for growing cells and tissues also for body maintenance. We can find them in meat, Fish, Milk and milk products. Also, in eggs, tofu, soybeans and quinoa.

The protein intake varies from 0.8g per kilogram to 1.7g—dependent on the type of exercise.

When we talk about protein absorption and retention by the body, we use an index expressed in percentage named Biological Value. We compare the amount of nitrogen we intake with the amount we use. Consequently, we have the following formula.

BV = Nitrogen intake/ Nitrogen absorbed.

From the formula above, we can see that the maximum value of 100% comes when the two variables are the same. We measure the quality of the protein by measuring the amount of nitrogen it can provide. The method used to establish the quality is PDCASS or Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score. Eggs, for example, have a high PDCAAS, and this score depends on the amount of amino acid present in food. Examples of foods with the highest BV are eggs, milk, bean and soybeans, rice, beef and fish.

Remember! Meat, eggs and fish contain all the amino acids we need, so a well-balanced diet provides all the essential amino acids. However, vegetarians and vegans do not eat meat, and vegetables do not contain the same amount of amino acids. Consequently, they have to pair different foods, and with the correct combination, they ensure that they have the right amount.

Fat, like protein and carbohydrates, is a macronutrient.

They insulate the brain and nervous system, regulate the body temperature, and provide energy to the body. Lipids are formed by a molecule of glycerol, basically a string of carbon and hydrogen atoms. The way how they link each other forms different types of lipids:

 · Monoglyceride

· Diglyceride,

· Triglycerides are the most indicated for human consumption.

· Phospholipid.

While 1g of Carbohydrates or Protein produces four calories, 1 gram of fat produces nine calories. Consequently, fat is a more significant energy source, but how fat oxidations occur is not the best source. Excess fat is stored in the liver as Glycogen, and when the liver cannot afford to keep the excess fat is stored as visceral fats or under the muscles adipose tissue.

A correct amount of fat can bring many benefits to our body. Accordingly, with the learning materials, this amount varies from 70-90g depending on sex, and only 20-30g should be saturated fat.

Adequate intake of fat is essential for numerous metabolic activities throughout the body, including the effective absorption of vitamins A, D and E. Fat is also an effective form of energy.

The group of Micronutrient consist of Vitamins and minerals, which are a group of nutrients that we need the least. 

While Vitamins are compounds we find in foods, minerals are wild present in nature. They support Macronutrients and the body in their function, and some of them are crucial for sport and exercise. Imagine how difficult it could be for an athlete to breathe and focus if an athlete has a deficiency of Iron and thiamine or Zinc. We have 13 vitamins A, B group, C, D E and K along with many minerals wich seven should be more than 100mg per kg, and other that we need only traces under 100mg.

 All the vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of Vitamins and minerals. Also, many stores and local shops sell Micronutrients supplements. They have different prices and different amounts. Some are sold as a single nutrients supplement or combination, and others sold as multivitamins give you a small amount of all. For example, Multivitamins by Centrum come in packages for adults, men, women, and 50+. We can follow the following link from one of the giant UK superstores for a better overview.

Like macronutrients, micronutrients benefit our body and brain if eaten in a moderate amount. However, symptoms occur when we exceed or have a deficiency of vitamins. Common symptoms of an excess of lack are nausea, vomiting fatigue. However, along with them, specific symptoms arise, such as scurvy and kidney stones in the presence of Vitamin C deficiency. Another excellent example is skin peeling or joint pain when vitamin A deficiency occurs.

The same happens with minerals. Some minerals can be helpful, but in excess can be lethal, like titanium or selenium. Other minerals give different symptoms. For example, iodine impacts the thyroid, and calcium makes our bones vulnerable. In other words, any minerals affect an area of our body, the same as any other nutrients. The only way to be sure that we get benefits is by having a correct daily intake.

Dehydration can affect our psychological wellbeing and our body. 

When we perform exercises, we experience a calories loss. Our body needs to convert glucose into energy. Research shows that all the chemical processes in our body happen by hydrolysis, osmosis and condensation. In other words, nothing happens in the absence of water. When we exercise, we also sweat. Consequently, to regulate the body temperature, we need to lose water. In addition, without water, the blood becomes thicker and has less volume, making it difficult to move all over the body.

When dehydration occurs, many processes cannot happen. Consequently, all the organs and systems experience a disruption that leads to fatigue, heart problems, and difficulty focusing. That makes the athlete’s performance more difficult. Drinking a proper amount of water every day, before, during and after exercise, will help to stay hydrated and consequently in another state of wellbeing. Common symptoms of dehydration are:

  1.  Dry mouth. That occurs when there is not enough water to produce saliva.
  2.  Dizziness. The amount of water in our body disrupts the communication between the body and brains.
  3.  Seizure. In some cases, this miscommunication can affect the brain and nervous system, causing seizures.
  4.  Fever. Fever occurs as an alarm bell that something in our bodies is not working.

When dehydration occurs, our blood becomes thick and more petite in volume. That will make it difficult to circulate and carry oxygen and nutrients all over the body. It also can be challenging to sweat. Sweat is made of water, and if there is no water in the body, we find it difficult to sweat. Since the cardiovascular system and thermoregulatory process are damaged, the core temperature starts to go high, fatal. 

Different types of drinks and how they work.

A sports drink can be very confusing. Firstly, “tonic” is related to the consistency of minerals of different fluids. In this case, the liquid is our blood. Caffeinated consist drinks are boosted with caffeine.

Hypertonic. These drinks have different effects duo the number of sugars and sodium. The t means a higher amount of sugars and sodium. This property makes this drink a good source of carbohydrates and consequently a better amount of Glycogen during exercises.

 Consequently, if we do not intake a proper amount of them, side effects can occur. Side effects of sugars include insulin resistance, sugars addictions, type 2 diabetes and excess calories. To conclude, mental health such as anxiety and depression can occur. 

Hypotonic Less amount of sugars. When we drink them, we absorb them very quickly. Consequently, duo the small amount of sugar, we stay more hydrated.

  Isotonic. The exact amount of sugar is in the blood, and these drinks work as carbohydrate release.

Caffeinated. These drinks come with plenty of caffeine, theobromine and phosphine. These three substances, caffeine is the strongest, boost our brain, allow us to focus, and not feel tired. I call them fake friends. Caffeine is a psychoactive substance and can generate addictions. Too much caffeine can lead to fatigue, anxiety, depression and addictions with related withdrawn symptoms.

We saw the importance of staying hydrated when we perform exercises. The amount of water intake has given by different fact rs, including the type of exercise, environment, clothing, and sweating. However, accordingly, with learning materials, we should drink from 480-560 ml of water 2-3 hours before exercise, then 200 ml before starting.

After exercise, our body requires 200 ml by thirty minutes since we have finished. Along with that, we need 150-250 ml every fifteen minutes since we start exercising. By following these golden rules, we should not have a problem with dehydration.


When we drink too much water, side effects occur. Hyponatraemia is one of them. 

A quick reminder, sodium regulates water in and around the cells. In other words, when we drink too much water, we alternate the level of sodium in our bodies. If there is too much sodium, high blood pressure occurs. Symptoms of hyponatraemia can vary from nausea to coma Water is an essential nutrient, and like any other nutrient, we should have a correct daily intake. Every time there is a disease problem occurs.

When som one decides to build his body, we need to consider a few factors: age, health issues and mainly why people decide to practice bodybuilding. If it is just for an aesthetical reason and a healthier lie, we can focus on two workouts categories: upper body and lower body and a well-balanced diet. That will be enough to reach a healthy weight and maintain n a well-shaped body.

In other cases, becoming a professional bodybuilder requires a workout for any muscle and many sacrifices. That includes a meal plan, and good sleep will help muscles rest and build faster. It also includes avoiding certain drinks and particular situations.

What I usually suggest to the clients is to focus on

  • Carbohydrates and proteins intake. A good balance of these two macronutrients will help the athlete work on body fat and build more muscles.
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of water. As we saw in the previous questions, water plays a crucial l role in fatigue, sweating, and psychological, mental health.
  • Being committed and sticking with the program. Using calendars, inventory, and good management of the daily intake will help increase self-will and self-confidence and boost the exercises.

Back to the point, we want to build muscle, mainly proteins, carbohydrates and good fats.

Eggs have an excellent nutritional value, and baked beans and a slice of toast form one of the healthiest breakfasts people can have.

The right amount of protein is 0.8g per kilogram. In this case, the athlete wants to build muscle, so have g an additional source of proteins will bring only benefits.

Chicken and brown rice is an excellent meal. Here we keep pushing with carbohydrates and proteins. We also find fibres minerals.

We reduce protein intake d ring the afternoon, but we still keep pushing with sugars and good fats. Right now, the athlete should be plenty of energy.

To conclude a light meal consisting of salmon, potato and vegetables. A light dinner will give the right amount of nutrients. On top of that, it will help the athlete to sleep and recover.

Breakfast Poached eggs and baked beans on brown toast

Drink Glass 125ml of semi-skimmed milk 

Morning snack  Protein shake

Lunch Lean meat chicken and plain rice

Afternoon snack Granola with yoghurt and flaxseeds

Dinner Salmon with potato and vegetable.

  There is a lot of public confusion about eating before or after exercising. Research has shown that it is good to exercise before or after 2-3 hours away from your meal. You can have a pre work out meal. Carbohydrates are the most indicated, and that will help you to perform.


We have three different systems to provide energy to our bodies. Any nutrients is essential in order to perform. The primary source of energy for our bodies is carbohydrates. When we reduce them, chemical processes happen. These processes help our bodies to get energy. to conclude, we should exercise 2 or three hours away from our big meals. We can have a pre-workout meal close to our performance. We should not skip meals for any circumstance.

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Eatwell Guide

Nutrition and Sport Nutrition Facts


One gram of Carbohydrates produces about 4 calories, the same as one gram of protein. One gram of Fat produces 9 calories.


15-30 minutes of daily exercise will help you to stay healthy and in shape.


A good balanced diet will help you to reach your goals faster. It will help you to focus and will shape your body .

Planning On Changing Your Lifestyle?

Trying to focus on the solution rather than the causes. That will lead you to a different level of thinking, reduce your stress, and make you feel better. Being constantly under stress increase the level of cortisol. Cortisol loves to help our body to store fat in our hips and our abdomen. Right now, we know how to identify our triggers and learn how to deal with them. After that, the biggest challenge has an action plan to prevent relapse. A good relapse prevention plan includes three main steps. Firstly, recognize your triggers, secondly, deal with them and finally use our self-efficacy to deal with them without back in the old habits.

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Nutritional Counsellor| specialised in Mental Helth and Eating Disorder| | Food Production

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