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Body

Tips for exercising and eating healthy

Why working out isn't a free ticket to eating anything you want.

By Donna Fleming
You have been exercising to lose kilos but can’t shift them. In fact, you may have piled on more. You are not alone – research suggests that you can’t lose significant amounts of weight simply by exercising and this can even lead to extra kilos. Here's why.
  • You’re working up an appetite Although working out can burn calories, it can also stimulate hunger. Don’t be fooled into thinking exercising gives you free rein to eat more, especially if your workout is just moderate intensity. You could be undoing the weight-loss benefits of exercising. Fix the problem: If you’re hungry after a workout be careful to choose low-calorie options. Weight training tends to make you more hungry than aerobic exercise, so mix up sessions at the gym with running, cycling or dancing.
  • You eat before a workout to fuel your body This hampers your chances of losing weight because carbohydrates prompt your body to release insulin, which makes it more likely to store fat. Some studies show that exercising will burn off fat more quickly if it is done in the morning before you’ve eaten for the day than if it is done later on when you’ve had a meal or two. Fix the problem:Try to plan your workouts for first thing in the morning before you eat, or avoid food for two to four hours before you start training.
  • You fuel your body with energy bars and sports drinks Top athletes use them so they’re good for you if you’re exercising regularly, right? Well, the problem is energy bars and sports drinks are mostly designed to be used by people who do intense activity for 90 minutes or more. Most of us don’t work out hard enough for long enough to warrant needing them regularly and because they are high in sugar, that can disrupt weight loss. Fix the problem: Steer clear of energy bars and sports drinks, or only have them occasionally. If you feel you need something to get you through your exercise session, have a bowl of porridge at least two hours beforehand. Replace sports drinks with water containing a pinch of salt.
  • You’re not working out hard enough You may feel you’ve had a good workout but you could be exercising at a plodding pace that isn’t burning many calories. To lose 1kg of fat through exercising alone, you need to burn about 8000 calories. You can lose 1000 calories by running at a moderate pace, skipping rope or cycling vigorously for 90 minutes. Fix the problem: Increase the intensity of your workout. Run or cycle harder, or try short bursts of more intense activity, such as sprinting during your run for 30 to 60 seconds before going back to your usual pace.

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