3

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Better to fuel-up prior to or re-fuel after prolonged physical exertion?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 22, 2011 at 1:44 AM

I work in a fast-paced retail environment and my job consists of about 8 hours per day of fairly heavy physical activity. I run up and down the same flight of stairs ~30 times per day, haul a lot of boxes around a few days per week, and generally move around in circles at a swift pace most of 8 hrs, 5 days/week.

Needless to say, my caloric needs are quite high. But here's the thing. I really have trouble getting enough calories throughout the morning and afternoon. And then I end up eating ~1500-2000 calories in the hour or two before bed... I still get my 8 hours of sleep (but perhaps it's not the best quality...?) Some days I get off work at 4pm or so, but the days when I get off about 9pm, I still am so hungry after- I mean just ravenous.

Aside from sleep quality, from a strictly health standpoint, is it better to be in a caloric surplus prior to going into some heavy physical exertion, and then not eating much after, or is better to just be depleted and then do a massive re-fuel? I try to incorporate IFing into some of these days, telling myself I will skip eating after work... but that never happens.

Furthermore, in a strength training context, my attempts in the past to mass-gain have been mostly pitiful, even hitting ~5000 calories some days (not that often). I feel so catabolic throughout the day, running around. Even when I was getting into heavy lifting, I would feel like I was getting bigger, but then after a day or two of work I straight-up shrunk. It becomes a toss up of snack all day long, or eat 2000 calories in the morning all at once. And dare I ask, should I be eating a good amount of carbs/starches?

Thanks.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 22, 2011
at 03:27 PM

if you feel you *must* IF, maybe consider IFing one day a week, like, on your day off...

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 22, 2011
at 03:24 PM

why are you IFing? your schedule is screwy, your sleep is probably a little bit irregular too, Rob -you feel you are catabolic, why add more stress by trying to IF? give your body the fuel it's demanding so it can go about its business.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 22, 2011
at 03:13 PM

I also feel I am in a constant catabolic state.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 22, 2011
at 03:11 PM

I am in a similar situation and at times I find it hard to get in enough calories to sustain energy with IF and no snacking. Downing close to 3000 calories at one time could be difficult.

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4 Answers

2
Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 22, 2011
at 03:40 AM

Your job sounds so great for you! Wish I was more physical during the day. How are your pre-work meals? Do you take snacks to work - or even have time to snack? Do you eat many nuts - I know a lot of people here don't love the idea of nuts, but macadamia nuts are both delicious and pretty filling, especially if you make a trail mix (and it's an easy and quick snack. You could also try some lara bars - i find them really filling (I can actually ususally only eat about a quarter of one at a time).

Sounds like you are doing really well though - and if you are ravenous - eat ravenously!

1
1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on April 22, 2011
at 01:58 AM

You sound active enough for carbs. Maybe have a sweet potato when you get home? A little carb goes a long way with satiety.

0
Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 22, 2011
at 05:30 AM

Given my past jobs, when life was a lot like yours, i would eat a large fat laden meal beforehand and snack on protein (fatty protein is best) during the work day. Pemmican and hard salami make ideal snacks you don't have to refrigerate and hard boiled eggs are a great pick me up too. If you eat too big a meal later, it may keep you up all night and further throw off your schedule.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2011
at 04:45 AM

Listen to your body. The more active you are the more calories needed: maintain energy balance in the positive(ie. surplus of calories always). You could use soft foods that you eat throughout the day such as butter or cocnut oil mixed with whey or cheese or some calorically dense protein source(pemmican, etc.) You might want to focus on quicker digesting proteins also as it will be easier on your stomach while working. Minimize vegetable matter in your stomach. As to timing: Eat Before, during and after. Disregard concern with timing outside of avoiding food 2 hours prior to sleep if you're sleep is fitful. Find soft foods and consume many calories; its no joke that people who are the classic ectomorph phenotype require multiples of calories in excess of their bodyweight(for macronutrients) in order to maintain/build LBM. Either that or get a lazy job...like a security guard, or a bureacrat in a token government job, or...a welfare recipient...or a vagrant(although it is often hard to get a meal ticket when you're in the welfare line).

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