Yoga Magazine shares my story in their Feb issue!

kat macaulay yoga magYou guys, I am so excited!

I’ve had a really awful week, but it just took a turn for AWESOME! Today I was minding my own business, snuck outside to grab the mail and there it was… the February issue of Yoga Magazine with my story in it! I wrote them over a year ago to tell them about how yoga had changed my life and a few months ago the Assistant Editor contacted me to see if they could use it. Of course I was thrilled and said yes!

yoga magazine kat macaulayI know how important it is to share the struggles we all have. From juggling life with post-partum depression to gaining weight (and trying to lose it). And I know how important it is to know that you’re not alone and although it’s hard to swallow your pride (in my case, very hard) the benefits of sharing far outweigh keeping up appearances. I also should say that I find it offensive when people act as though adjusting from single, no worries to having a plus-one, is a breeze. So in the words of Michelle Tanner: Puh-lease get real.

Thanks to Yoga Magazine & Martin Gill for including me in this – I’m so honoured! 🙂

Is it beneficial (or safe) to workout on an empty stomach?

Watch this.

Would fasting before a workout help Fat Bastard?So, for as long as I can remember, I have always been advised that in order to have a good workout, you must eat before and after. However, this morning when I accidentally caught some of the Marilyn Denis Show (usually boring; don’t really like it), I happened to catch this segment that focused on not gaining weight during the holidays.

First, it annoyed me given my post the other day about enjoying the holidays and not stressing about it. Seriously? 17% more fat? Who cares. And besides, I already know how miserable I feel if I haven’t had enough before a long run or workout – HEADACHE city! But second, it contradicted everything I knew to be true on fuelling up before a workout. So obviously, it prompted me to start the research from both perspectives. I checked out the Livestrong site because they usually have pretty good info. Here is what they said:

“Exercising on an empty stomach may not appeal to everyone, but it seems to have some positive effects on fat burning. If you don’t load up on carbohydrates for quick energy before a workout, it makes sense that you would be pulling energy from your fat stores. Still, the approach is a little controversial and the jury is still out on whether it actually benefits athletic performance.” That’s good enough for me and I could have stopped there but I thought I might as well keep going to see ALL sides.

The site also touched on training low, competing high, which refers to the idea of doing some workouts in a carbohydrate-depleted state, then racing or competing with a full supply of carbohydrates. Initial research claims that this technique enhances fat-burning and other metabolic responses. 

Here are the advantages and disadvantages as I’ve found online:

ADVANTAGES:

  • It can prevent weight gain
  • It can maintain insulin sensitivity
  • A study published in the November 2010 “Journal of Physiology” found that exercising before breakfast has a protective effect on a bad diet.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • You can’t train as hard or fast without having more fuel to rely on.
  • It’s possible that you could increase your risk of illness or injury by exercising in a depleted state.
  • Exercise on an empty stomach can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue.
  • If you don’t have enough energy to make it through the work out, what’s the point?

Finally, after consulting the crazy body building forums to see what the real muscly people have to say, it seems that they’ve tried both and haven’t seen much of a difference in either.

What do you think?

YES – This is a great idea! Fast, fast, fast and feel the burn. vs. NO! Are you high? This is a terrible idea!

Personally, I’d be willing to try it but I feel confident in saying that since running is a real mental game for me, I’d probably convince myself that I don’t have enough fuel to run, and then quit – which would defeat the purpose!

Is it okay to drink coffee before a workout or run?

As I sit here drinking instant coffee (yes. instant. a travesty.) I was wondering whether I should be drinking coffee before a workout, after a workout or at all. Let’s be serious, there’s probably no way I’d ever give up coffee (it would be disastrous for everyone around me.) That is to say, unless a study comes out showing me definitively that coffee will give me a third eye, tail or something weird. And in any case, I may even take those consequences gladly if it means I can enjoy my daily cuppa joe.

I love a good cup of coffee. From Cappucino and latte to espresso. I like beans from Columbia, Hawaii and Peru (just to name a few.) Enjoy my Keurig and relish using my French press. For those of us coffee fiends, there is some good news: no impact, positive or negative, on cancer development. YAHOO! When was the last time you heard such a thing?

Other studies suggest that coffee consumption reduces the risk of being affected by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and gout. Further, a longitudinal study from 2009 showed that those who enjoyed 2-3 cups of tea/coffee per day (mid-life) were less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s. (This is compared to those who drank little or none.)

But with the good, comes the bad. Coffee can increase the risk of acid reflux, headaches, lead to iron deficiency anemia and of course can cause sleep disturbances.

So back to the purpose of this post: is coffee okay to drink before a workout or run?

  • Well, coffee before a workout can potentially increase weight loss (thank goodness.) The caffeine in a cup of coffee can speed up your metabolism, providing a burst of energy to help you with your workout (perhaps helping you push harder at higher intensity.)
  • Caffeine can trigger muscles to use fat as an energy source, rather than carbs (affects are short-lived and vary)
  • Caffeine has been found to enhance athletes performance during endurance activities and boosts stamina

These are all great things. But with the good comes the bad. Again.

  • If you have a cardiovascular condition, having a cuppa joe before a run or workout may be dangerous (coffee + jogging is intense effect on heart rate and blood pressure)
  • And, if you have hypertension, you should avoid coffee before a workout

I’m curious to hear what everyone else thinks about coffee before a workout. Has it made any difference? Good/Bad?

To learn more, check out the Livestrong website.