The biggest and most common mistake leading to a dramatic loss in metabolism occurs with exercising individuals who fail to recover the nutrients they specifically lose during exercise. Exercise nutrient loss takes three forms: perspiration (water and electrolytes), fuel use (glucose reserves), and protein (muscle damage). Additionally, knowing how to create snacks to drive the healing process is important in complementing meals. We cannot benefit from exercise that we are not able to heal from, since unhealed tissue is not healthy and does not contribute to our metabolic rate, leading to increasing body fat and lower health than one would expect. Recovery is what enables our body to benefit and therefore for us to see the benefit of our efforts.
Hydration: typical workouts can be rehydrated sufficiently with plain water and whatever salts come naturally in the foods we eat, since the typical diet has more salt than we need anyway. However, as a person gets fitter after exercising for a few months, their perspiration losses increase without their realizing it. Failure to recover perspiration losses can then start to undercut the ability to hydrate the digestion and sleep process.
Refueling: exercise uses up both fats and sugars, specifically glucose stored in muscle. Sensors that detect sugar levels in muscle tell our DNA whether or not there is enough fuel to heal. Refueling glucose rapidly after exercise therefore enables protein use to drive healing, and avoids a chronically low blood sugar, particularly when reducing either carbs and/or Calories in meals.
Protein: amino acids from the protein we eat are used to build new proteins to replace those damaged during exercise. Exercise therefore increases protein needs by as much as double or more what we would need without exercise. The same can true for healing from injury. At the very least, even if low in protein, ensure that there is an even delivery of at least some amino acids throughout the day to avoid a loss of lean tissue, which is the exact opposite of healing, driving you in the opposite direction, backwards instead of forwards.
Engineered snacks: it is common for athletic individuals to need a balance between supplying their body enough to heal while also putting the body into a slight deficit to get leaner for a higher power-to-weight ratio. That balanced effort can easily undercut healing, experienced as hunger and/or cravings, easily addressed by snacks engineered to specifically provide the body what it needs to augment meals.
This section walks you through the simple initial thought process of meeting nutrient needs for exercise, enabling the full benefits of your exercise benefits.