Der Leitfaden für die perfekte Ernährungsplanung

The guide to perfect nutrition planning

Malte Wagenbach

This guide is designed to help you create your own plan. As you know, eating right can be difficult and is very individual, so there really isn't a one-size-fits-all recipe. Science is a process for discovering answers and when it comes to our own bodies, each of us is our own science experiment. So we simply encourage you to try our products and see if they work for you. We encourage you to try our different products, flavors and Feeding Zone recipes to see what works for your needs. The amount of food, water and salt you need will depend on a variety of variables, such as your fitness level, workout intensity, duration and environment. Given the many options here, we've found that it's often better to listen to your body and bring enough supplies to be able to improvise than to create a rigid schedule and be inflexible.

Two main factors play a role in eating: sweat/sodium loss rate and caloric deficit.

Sweat rate

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One of the easiest ways to determine your sweat rate is to weigh yourself on a scale before and after your workout. Any weight loss (where 500g equals 500 ml of water) plus the amount of fluid consumed during your workout is your total sweat loss. So if you gain weight during your workout, you're drinking too much. Ideally, you shouldn't lose more than 3% of your body weight through dehydration.

One important consideration, however, is that rehydration during exercise is not just about water balance, but also about sodium balance. This means that you need to replace both the water and sodium you lose during exercise in order to hydrate adequately. Unfortunately, the sodium in sweat is highly individual and can vary from 400 mg to 2000 mg per liter of sweat, with the average being somewhere between 700-900 mg per liter (le melo hydration is 1600 mg of salt per liter (2 sticks). As a general rule of thumb, if you don't consume enough salt in proportion to water, you will need to urinate frequently despite losing weight through sweat. On the other hand, if you consume too much salt in proportion to water, you'll want to drink more water and may gain weight, as the high salt intake may cause you to drink more than you lose through sweat.

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Remember that hydration is about two needs:

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1) Water balance - measure with a scale before and after training.

2) Sodium balance - measure by listening to thirst

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Tip: Drink to thirst with le melo Electrolyte Hydration Mix while you train or race, and if you're underweight after training/racing, add more salt!

Aside from the calories you're taking in through your hydration mix, you also want to know how many calories you're taking in overall. Try the following calculation:

1. Figure out how many calories you burn. The fitter you are, the harder you work; the less efficient you are, and the bigger you are, the more calories you burn.

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As a point of reference, the best athletes in the world can barely burn more than 1,000 calories per hour for more than 3 hours.

2. Find out how many of the calories you burn come from fat and carbohydrates. During exercise, we consume mostly fat and carbohydrates and almost no protein, except in extreme situations. At high intensity exercise we consume mostly carbohydrates, and at low intensity we burn mostly fat. At 50% of maximal aerobic capacity, about 45-55% of calories come from fat; at 75% of maximal capacity, this percentage drops to about 10-30%; and at maximal capacity (100%), none of our calories come from fat.

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3. Find out how many carbohydrate calories you have stored as glycogen. Since fat stores are plentiful, it is almost impossible for them to be depleted during exercise. But glycogen stores are limited, and once depleted, it's impossible to maintain high intensity. It's also difficult to maintain blood sugar (which is critical for fueling the brain and nervous system), and it's harder to burn fat, all of which can lead to fatigue. On a moderately high-carbohydrate diet (40-50% of total intake), an athlete has about 1,000 calories available for lower-body training; on a high-carbohydrate diet (60-70% of total intake), these stores can double to about 2,000 calories.

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4. Subtract the calories burned from the total calories from fat and the total calories of stored glycogen to calculate what you need to eat. For example, let's say that you burn 2,000 calories during a 3-hour bike ride and that 500 of those calories come from fat and 1,000 from stored glycogen. In this scenario, if you subtract 2,000 calories from 1,500 calories (total calories from fat and carbohydrates), the result is a deficit of 500 calories.

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- 2000 calories burned

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+500 calories from fat

+1000 calories stored as glycogen

500 calorie carbohydrate deficit

If there is a deficit, eat. If not, don't eat.

As a rule of thumb, if you eat at least half the calories you burn every hour during activities that last longer than 2 hours, you will almost always have consumed a sufficient amount of calories to last.

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For an easier workout:

If the workout isn't too hard or long, you can just get up and go, especially in the morning when you just got up. What's unique about sleep is that it's essentially an overnight fast that resets the body's hormonal and metabolic environment, keeping blood sugar constant despite the absence of food. You can take advantage of this in the morning by simply getting up and starting your workout, then eating breakfast. This works especially well for lower intensity aerobic workouts where your primary fuel source is fat. So if it's early, the intensity or duration isn't too high, and you've gotten enough sleep, just get up and get going.

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For shorter and lower intensities at moderate temperatures, it's probably okay to drink plain water if you listen to your thirst, since losing water is probably not a problem at shorter durations and cooler temperatures. But for longer and harder efforts in high temperatures, where water and sodium loss can be very high, drinking plain water to combat thirst is not optimal, as losing more than 3% of your body weight in water can lead to significant performance losses and possible heat-related illness.

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When you get going later in the day, pay attention to how you hydrated and ate during the day so you don't burn yourself out. Maybe you didn't hydrate well during the day, then you can drink le melo before your workout. If you haven't eaten 3 hours before and you're worried you won't have enough energy for a hard workout, then start eating and drinking when you start working out. The thing about working out is that normally insulin is not secreted when we work out, unless you have a very low intensity workout, because the working muscles can absorb sugar without needing insulin. This means that if you eat something right at the start of your workout, you won't experience the crash that often occurs when you eat too much about an hour before your workout. You often see athletes on the starting line stuffing themselves with simple sugars just before the gun goes off to get a little boost. In addition to eating, another common method for many athletes is to drink a high to very high sodium solution, such as le melo Hydration Mix (1200 mg of sodium per liter), right before very hard and long workouts in moderate to high heat when adequate hydration could be a problem. Drinking a high-sodium solution right before a workout in the heat can help offset the drop in blood pressure and the extra space created by dilating blood vessels bringing hot blood to your skin to cool you down. But, be careful. If you drink too much at the beginning of your workout, when it's cool, or when your workout intensity is low, you'll probably have to pee after 20-30 minutes.

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For harder efforts in the 1-2 hour range, keep these things in mind:

1) Hydrate first, fuel later. There is a philosophical problem called Buridan's Donkey, in which a donkey that is as thirsty as it is hungry is exactly equidistant from a barrel of hay and a barrel of water. Suppose the donkey wants water as badly as it wants food. What does the donkey do when he is exactly equidistant from both? Some philosophers believe that the donkey will die because it is unable to make a decision. Others believe that the donkey's free will has nothing to do with the problem and that an external circumstance, like a butterfly flapping its wings, will move the donkey to either water or hay. From a physiological perspective, philosophy does not matter. In most situations, the donkey must drink first and then eat. This is especially true when exercising and sweating a lot. When it is warm or hot and the intensity is high, the fluid and sodium we lose through sweat is more likely to negatively impact our performance before depleted fuel stores do. In addition, a low-carbohydrate solution (4 grams of carbohydrate per 100 ml of water) with ample sodium (700-800 mg of sodium per liter) may actually hydrate better than water alone, while also providing some fuel. That's because the active transport of sugar and sodium helps speed water movement through the small intestine and into the body. So when it's really hot and the sweat rate is high, focusing on hydration with a low-carbohydrate solution can provide more than enough energy as the amount needed to drink is also high. With this in mind, there are very few, if any, cases where it is better to drink only water than to use a low-carbohydrate drink mix with plenty of sodium. In general, replace at least half of the calories you burn per hour and keep your fluid loss below 3-4% of your body weight, and you'll be adequately hydrated and energized for most workouts that last between 2 and 8 hours.

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2) Drink when you are thirsty. I often hear people say, "...if you don't start drinking until you're thirsty, it's already too late" - simply because you're too dehydrated to fix the problem. However, my experience with elite athletes who train in extreme environments is different. When someone drinks beyond their thirst, they run the risk of diluting the sodium concentration in their blood - a phenomenon called hyponatremia, which can lead to a number of problems and even death in extreme cases. Thirst helps control sodium levels in the blood. In fact, one of the main indications of thirst is an increase in the concentration of sodium in the blood. When we sweat and lose more water than salt, the sodium concentration in the blood increases, making us thirsty. When we drink plain water, we do not need to drink as much as we have lost because we lose a significant amount of sodium in our sweat (600 to 1500 mg of sodium per liter of sweat). This means that with plain water we stop being thirsty before we have replaced all the water we have lost. In other words, thirst controls sodium balance, not water balance. And this property of thirst is actually a good thing, because although losing water can be bad for our athletic performance, messing with the sodium balance of our blood can be bad for our lives. The simple solution is to replace both the water and sodium you lose through your sweat. So thirst can be a better trigger to maintain both water and sodium balance. Still, it's important to listen to your sense of thirst to time your fluid intake, regardless of the type of beverage you use, because keeping sodium balance in check takes precedence over water balance. That is, if you weigh yourself before and after exercise to get a sense of your water loss and you consistently find that you are more than 3% to 4% dehydrated and/or you find that you are more dehydrated than your peers and suffering from it, you should consider that the amount of water itself may not be the problem. If you're drinking against thirst, you may not be getting enough sodium. If you're consuming enough, the timing will take care of itself if you listen to your body.

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Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, sweat is different for everyone. Some people only lose a little sodium in their sweat (400-700 mg L), while others can lose a lot (1000-1500 mg L). For this reason, you should be aware that some salt in the range of 800-1200 mg of salt per liter of water, such as is included in our Sport Hydration Drink Mix, will always be better than plain water. Additionally, if you think you are losing more sodium than others, you can have your sodium sweat concentration measured by a sweat test here at le melo and use our higher sodium products like our Hydration Mix (1500 mg/liter = 2 sticks) to supplement your sodium needs and perform at your best.

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