Adjust your eating and working out to meet your specific goals

Doesn’t it make sense that if your goals are different, your workouts and your eating should be different too?

So, if you are trying to build up muscle mass, you would focus more on lifting weights and eating enough calories and protein to accomplish that goal. If, on the other hand, you want to reduce body fat, you would focus more on aerobic exercise which utilizes stored body fat for energy and eat a calorie- reduced diet that is balanced.

If you are not wanting to either build up or reduce, then a middle-of-the-road exercise plan with both an anaerobic (resistance ) aspect and an aerobic component would be most suitable as well as a diet plan that gave you enough calories but not too many. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Today, we’ll explore some of the fine-tuning that you might consider given your particular circumstances.

Most people who exercise do not need to eat anything in particular to support their goals in the gym, although because they clearly have a healthy outlook, they are more likely to eat more healthily than the average person. A diet high in natural whole foods, low in processed and junk foods, high in water and nutrition and low in alcohol, sugar and excess fat pretty much wraps it up.

For most people consuming a diet with specialized ratios of carbohydrate to proteins and fat is not a consideration either. Simply eating well and taking a good vitamin will have you covered. Also if you are a casual exerciser, simply doing an hour once a day or several times a week, you would not require extra calories to sustain that pattern. Nor would you really be able to splurge on extra calories without seeing the impact around your waistline.

Most people only burn around 500 calories per workout and your body can store about 1,000 calories of energy in your liver and muscles. So after a workout you usually still have plenty of stored energy. As long as you eat regularly you don’t need to worry about replacing it.

For most people, you would want to consider a ratio of about 25 percent of your calories coming from fats and oils (try to lean toward the plant and fish oils rather than the hard meat fats), about 30 to 35 percent coming from plant and animal based protein and the other 40 to 45 percent coming from mostly complex fibrous carbohydrates such as grains, vegetables and fruit.

After a workout, most people should rebuild the stores of energy but you should not take in a whole meal — just a nutritious snack such as a piece of fruit or a small serving of yogurt. Another way of making sure that you don’t overdo your calorie consumption is to work out just before you normally would have a meal and then replenish your body as you normally would.

Elite athletes and competitive athletes, however, do need to take into consideration their increased caloric requirements and their need for more fast energy in the form of carbohydrates. They also might consider pre- and post-workout supplements to help them get through an intense workout and recover faster and better. For most people this is not required.

People who exercise to lose weight need to consider a diet that provides enough calories to exercise but not so much that they retain their fat stores. One of the most common issues with exercising and weight loss is that many people do not eat enough after a workout to allow for muscle repair.

So here’s a helpful hint. The calories that are consumed right before the workout will be the ones that are burned off first, because they are in the blood system. After they are consumed, the body will resort to burning stored body fat for energy. So before the workout, it is best not to consume a high sugar or heavy meal as it will cause you to not burn the stored fat. Those trying to lose body fat are better off eating after the workout, and taking in a slightly higher ratio of protein to assist fat burning and muscle recuperation.

The College of Sport Medicine recommends that people who exercise to lose body fat should take in around 1.5 grams to 2.0 grams of protein per kilo of body weight daily to prevent muscle loss.

To put that in a way that you can use: if someone weighs about 150 pounds, they should consume about 3-4 ounces of protein a day. Most people have no problem getting that small amount every day.

If you are eating strategically and well, you should see results from your diet and exercise routine quickly.


Jane Riley is a certified personal trainer, adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at or (808) 212-8119 and


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