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  #11  
Old 05-20-2014
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danm View Post
who told you about not swimming on an empty stomach?
your body has plenty of energy reserves for a 60 minutes swim, no matter how intense. and anyway, food doesn't absorb that fast so an "energy bar" eaten on your way to the pool will only fill your stomach... not much of that "energy" will get used during the swim

rant over - if I can't organize my meals so that I have at least 3 hours between a meal and a swim I'd rather not swim. Basically I prefer to swim on an empty stomach, anything I eat right before the swim will come back up my throat...
It also isn't just about having enough energy to get you through the swim, drain your body of energy by swimming on an empty stomach can leave you lethargic afterwards. Surely it's better to maintain a balanced sugar level where possible. I agree too much food before a swim isn't good (for me anyway) but exercising on an empty stomach isn't great (for me) either. So after my original post I had a few small spoons of cereal before I left to swim the next time and I felt a bit better. Each to their own I suppose, but interested to see what others did.
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2014
Ron Bear Ron Bear is offline
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Hmm, nobody is approaching this from a scientific standpoint, so I will.

When you exercise, blood is shunted away from your digestive system. Your ability to absorb calories and fluids both decrease because of this. An extreme result of this is that if you eat a large meal and then exercise, you are likely to cramp or to vomit. Your digestive system doesn’t have the blood supply it needs to process the meal, and it will let you know that in an unpleasant fashion. When running I can expend 1000 calories per hour, but if I consume more than about 150 calories an hour, I am in danger of hurling. Other people will expend different calories and consume different calories but all of us are calorie limited during vigorous exercise so that we expend more than we are capable of consuming. The beautiful part of your system in this condition is that your liver is capable of commanding your fat cells to release calories at a rate that keeps up with your consumption. The failure mode of this system is that if your blood sugar gets too low, your liver will cease to work well. If you stop exercise, your liver can bring your blood sugar back up. Otherwise you can get into a down spiral where your poor liver poorly replenishes blood sugar which makes your liver work even worse.

Hopefully the above makes it obvious where I am going…
You can’t eat much right before you exercise, because you are virtually incapable of digestion during exercise. You don’t NEED to eat right before exercise because the majority of your calories will be coming from stored body fat anyway. If you want to eat, then good choices are low calorie and easily digestible, like 8 oz of orange juice. But if you exercise at low enough intensity then your body will keep up no matter what and the answer becomes “who cares?”

By the way several people gave perfectly reasonable pre-work out meals. But the above sets guidelines for what is reasonable. Don’t hit the pool with much more than 100 undigested calories in your stomach and even then make sure they are easily digestible simple carbohydrates.
Ron
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  #13  
Old 05-21-2014
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Thanks for the science Ron. Just curious, and I'm not dismissing what you say when I ask this, but many people who exercise take energy gels/bars or even bananas that they consume throughout......my husband was seriously impressed when he began to flag when doing some cycling training - he had an energy gel and said only a short while later he could feel his energy level rise. Is it the composition that makes these easily digestible whilst exercising, or marketing hype I wonder!
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  #14  
Old 05-22-2014
Ron Bear Ron Bear is offline
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I use those energy gels during races of half marathon distance and longer. That is how I know how many calories I can consume. At races where they provide Gatorade I skip the Gatorade because I am already doing gels and will get sick if I up the calories. The reason that the gels (or hard candy or Gatorade or de-fizzed coke or a banana etc. etc.) are good is that they are calorie limited and almost pure sugar. You can actually absorb a certain amount of sugar through the lining of your mouth as well as your stomach. But the other important point of consuming that tiny amount of calories that the gel block or apple or orange juice etc. etc. provides is that it helps keep you from getting into that failure mode I described in the previous post.

As far as marketing hype those gels absolutely do help, but not anymore than skim milk, sweet tea, sugar cookies etc. (you notice I haven't repeated myself yet). BUT (notice I have a big but) I do use them. Do you know why? Because they come in a seriously convenient package for carrying long distances wearing nothing but a skimpy pair of shorts with no pockets.

Ron
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  #15  
Old 05-22-2014
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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That's all really interesting Ron, thank you. I will try a liquid breakfast of a small glass of orange juice next time I do an early morning swim.
Jane
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  #16  
Old 05-25-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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I'm not sure about the science being cited here but the science should fit the facts so here's an experiment. Go pick-up your 4 yr old from school and likelihood is they'll be irritable, tetchy, tired and hungry. Give them an apple or a carrot and the transformation is virtually instantantaneous. Happy kids, calm and content. On the other hand give them sugar, sweets etc and the transformation is qualitively different - like giving them amphetamines! My conclusion is that the carrot or apple are relatively slow burning and feed into the system in its own time and without spiking.

My understanding of the biology us that the body has many and varied processes for storing and using energy. The majority is stored within the muscles themselves and then in the blood. After those sources are used the stored resources start to get burned i.e fat. The "Wall" in marathon running is related to this.

I find that eating too soon before swimming does repeat on me. It's only an irritation as I'm not pumping iron so nowhere close to vomiting. The old two hour rule works for me, but it depends on the food. For instance oily fish cause me a problem. Before marathons etc food tents dispense pasta an that works well for me. If I "fast" before exercise I find I have less energy for it.

As someone said every body is different. Age and fitness level are the obvious factors but there are differences in all the internal systems too some of which are to do with these and others are simply genetic.

My own feel is that the body acts intelligently, and may not judge our decision to push the boundaries as of paramount importance. The resuilt will be we'll feel tired rather than collapse after our efforts and need hospitalization! People can train to push their bodies to the point of collapse and in life or death situations most people find they can, but our bodies aim is to survive - to maintain hoeostasis. If there is food in the system the body takes that into accouit, it's like money in the bank so you can spend all that's in your wallet no problem. The reason we hurl is that food stimulates digestion and if that digestion is too demanding the body can only limit it by vomiting out the food rarher than by slowing the movement of the food itself. Also exercise has a pumping action on the gut which, if the gut is full gives only two alternatives, out or undigested through. As undigested is dangerous vomiting is the choice. But this is only if there's too much food in the gut and/or very demanding/pumping exercise.

My advice fwiw would be to respect what your body is telling you and experiment. Beforehand I like light meals, of something easily digestible, and good hydration. Immediately after exercise I have a Gainomax. Works for me! Before I did this I had major recovery problems and was wiped out for at least 36 hours after!
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  #17  
Old 06-27-2014
andrewuza andrewuza is offline
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Im still trying to work this one out, i usually have a banana and some water first thing if i went for a swimming session that early, though be sure to get some good food the night before.

i wouldnt recommend a protein shake, as some guy in the gym downed half an hour before he went swimming... honked it right back up within a matter of lengths
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2014
nicka nicka is offline
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A bowl of oats works for me with choclate protein powder sprinkled on top about 1/2 an hour to an hour before i swim, i then drink a coffee on my drive to the pool which helps the energy levels and kicks in 1/2 way through the hour session.
it works for me.
Before i did this at times i had sessions where i got out after 3/4 of an hour from being hungry
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  #19  
Old 09-17-2014
POLIDORI POLIDORI is offline
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After several tries for extended periods, now I prepare myself for early sport with a fruit and yogourt (kefir, better) mix in which I include nuts and species.
As it is already beaten, your body has little to digest, so you get inmediate power.
Also a coffee.
I drink this for early sessions (even for mountain biking or running) and then later I try to get a midmorning breakfast with eggs, bacon and another coffee.
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  #20  
Old 09-19-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Just to clarify: Sugar = carbs = calories (1gm carbs = 4 cals) The difference between the speed of absorption of carbs is given by their Glycemic Index. Sugars are the highest GI foods and are rapidly absorbed, oats are a low GI food so they are slowly absorbed (list here of GI's for common foods fwiw). However a gram of carbohydrate in either source has the same number of calories.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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