Exercise - Increase the Frequency & Intensity
You have now developed the routine of exercising regularly every week. You will have incorporated exercise into your lifestyle - whether it is with a friend or by yourself, in the morning, your lunch break or after work in the evening.
Now it is time to safely increase the frequency at which you exercise from 3 times per week to 4. With the intensity of your exercise slowly increasing you will now start to see the benefits of exercise on weight loss, mood, energy levels, sleep and stress.
With an increase in intensity and frequency it is common for people to consume more food and hence snuff out any advantage gained by exercising more.
Exercise intensity can stimulate appetite in some people and others simply overestimate the effect of exercise on burning calories and underestimate the amount of calories in some foods. You will have seen in the section headed ‘Fat Banker’ in Week 3 how much exercise is required to burn off higher fat foods and in Week 7 the section titled ‘Alcohol and weight loss’ shows just how much exercise is required to burn off that glass of wine you may feel you deserve after a 60 minute walk.
So while it is important to continue to ‘eat fit’ while exercising it is also vital that you do not cut out carbohydrates completely. Carbohydrates are the main fuel your muscles will burn as you increase exercise intensity. If you starve yourself of carb’s your body will burn through the minimal stores it keeps on hand and create a hunger that you will find difficult to ignore.
The reason is that your body cannot go without carbohydrates. Your brain and other organs cannot survive without them. Low blood sugar levels signal a hunger response that sees many people diving for the cupboards in the latter stages of the day with a hunger so deep they just cannot fill it.
The answer is to always fill up with carbohydrates in the morning at breakfast when your stores are at their lowest. Then top them up with a small fist sized amount if you need at morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
If your exercise is not yet at a higher intensity, your weight is not decreasing by at least 5% per week or you don’t feel that hungry then it is ok to limit your carbs to breakfast only or more on heavy exercise days.