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24 Jan 2006

Eating before exercise/Heart rate monitor
Hi. I wake up at about 4.55am to go to a 5.30am spinning class, is it necessary to have something to eat before the class? And also are heart rate monitors really necessary while exercising?
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FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi NZ

To answer the first question, I would recommend that you eat when it suits you best.

Some people suggest that training in the morning, without eating breakfast is good, because it forces you to exercise on 'an empty stomach' which basically means that your body has no glucose to burn. Therefore, it is thought that the body will use more fat, and weight loss would be greater. However, the principle may be true, but there are certain other considerations that you must take into account:

• The intensity of the training: if the intensity is too high, you have the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic.
• The duration of the training: if you exercise too long, you also have a risk of becoming hypoglycaemic.
• If you are glycogen depleted when you begin, you will become hypoglycaemic quicker.
• The meal that you ate the previous evening.
• It also dependent on your previous training and your dietary intake over the one or two days prior to the session.

In otherwords, exercising without giving your body any energy can cause you to become hypoglycaemic. It may be safe if you train at a low intensity and for less than an hour. you may wish to try this out and experiment, and see what works best for you, and then choose the most convenient time of day to eat, as mentioned. Personally, I think that you shoudl be able to do spinning without eating. It doesn't necessarily give you an advantage in the weight loss stakes, but it should still be possible. Anything longer than a spinning class, and you probably do need some sort of energy replacement, either a meal or a drink. Experiment and see what works best!

Now, as for hte heart rate monitor, no its not necessary. Heart rate monitors are a good guide and if you use them well, they help a lot. However, more people misuse them and it actually causes major training problems because often people don't understand what they are really supposed to monitor with regards to heart rate. So my opinion is that if you don't have one, then don't worry, unless you really feel the need. I think that if you just monitor your training using effort perception, you will be OK too.

Good luck
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