When taking a high energy, seemingly non-stop aerobics class, your muscles rely on all three energy systems – the Immediate, Glycolytic and Oxidative energy systems – to supply the necessary energy needed to perform at peak efficiency. The amount that your body depends on these systems is 10-30-60% respectively.
Why is this important to understand? How your body pulls the energy it needs at specific times is directly related to the diet you eat and when you eat it. You can very easily submarine your efforts by eating too much fat or too few carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are stored in your muscles as glycogen and glycogen must be present in order for you to use the Oxidative energy system. In other words – you need glycogen present in order to burn fat.
So, if this activity is a regular component of your workout regime then 55% of your daily calories should come from low-glycemic carbohydrates, 25% from protein and 20% from healthy fats.
Rules to follow:
- Consume low-glycemic-index foods about two to three hours before your workout.
- Consume high-glycemic-index foods immediately before your Because exercise slows the release of insulin into the bloodstream, the ingestion of carbohydrates spares glycogen and allows the use of fat for energy. Carbohydrate drinks with high-glycemic indexes help sustain the blood-sugar level, thereby preserving glycogen stores.
- Drink plenty of water. Not only will this practice reduce your chances of becoming dehydrated, but every ounce of glycogen that is stored within the muscles need 3 ounces of water stored along with it. Therefore, remaining hydrated will also help prevent weakened muscle contractions.
- Keep your fat intake to 20% or Large amounts of fat will cause you to lose minerals through frequent urination.
- Drink a high-glycemic-index Recovery Shake within 45 minutes of class to optimize glycogen replenishment and the rehydration of the cells within your muscles.
Cardio – That Double Edged Sword
Did you know that aerobics can lower your immune system? When you workout, especially cardio, you build more natural virus-killing cells in the body; however, you also produce more free radicals from the oxygen consumed during the same period. These free radicals can quickly hamper your recovery and any gains you’ve made in the gym. They can also lower your immune system and make you sick.
Note: Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for short term activities, meaning anything under 90 minutes.