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Fuel Your Strength 394 Within-Day Energy Deficit

Within-Day Energy Deficiency

Nutrition is complicated, especially for athletic women over 40. You need to find the sweet spot for your body and the amount of training when it comes to fueling yourself properly.

Despite what you may have been told in the past, within-day energy deficiency can have a massive impact on your training.

The good news is that by reframing how you fuel throughout the day, you can avoid these mistakes and take your training and nutrition to the next level.

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If You Want to Avoid Within-Day Energy Deficits:

  1. Remember that how you spread out the energy you consume throughout the day does matter
  2. Be diligent about the ‘last meal effect’ and eating low-energy foods
  3. Go into your workouts with some fuel on board and refuel within a timely manner afterward

Understanding Within-Day Energy Deficiency

Avoiding long stretches of time where your body goes without food, especially when it is in a prime state to recover, is a mistake that could be impacting your progress, metabolism, training, energy, and so much more.

Adequate energy intake is necessary, especially as a female athlete over 40 who is training hard. While the last thing you need to do is obsess over being perfect, understanding why, how, and when you fuel is a key ingredient in building strength and longevity.

Finding The Sweet Spot For You

Even if you feel like you ‘eat a lot’, it is a complex nuance of timing, types of calories, training, and more that can impact your likelihood of existing in a within-day energy deficit. Experimenting by listening to your body, going into your training with fuel, and refueling in a timely manner afterward will help you avoid a state of low energy availability.

Eating regularly throughout the day to support your training and recovery is a necessary key to your training and recovery. Implementing the principles I discuss on today’s show will help you move forward with the confidence to do so.

Are you ready to fuel, train and recover smarter so that you can use your strength as a catalyst for more? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • An unofficial welcome to a new season of the Fuel Your Strength Podcast (1:35)
  • Why you should know about within-day energy deficiency if you’re an athletic woman (3:15) 
  • Exploring the difference between the different types and quantities of calories (9:27)
  • The problem with fasting and staying in a breakdown state when doing hard shit with your body (18:44)
  • What the research says about the effects of within-day energy deficits (20:32)
  • Things you should remember even if you feel like you are ‘eating a lot’ (29:26)


“When it comes to the nuance and the context, those things need to be teased apart. And that’s really what we do here on the podcast, to give you the rationale to go into depth, to explain why this stuff matters for us.” (4:24)

“Many athletic women just don’t have a good enough concept of what ‘enough’ energy is.” (9:44)

“If you are doing intense training and not refueling until hours afterward, you are continuing to stay in a breakdown state, I don’t know how else to tell you that!” (18:38)

“I used to do this. I get it. I get the whole situation. This is why I am kind of nudging you to reconsider. Because I know what it is like, and I know how much better things are on the other side.” (26:38)

“You are going to train so much better when you are properly fueled and doing it in a timely fashion.” (32:23)

Featured on the Show

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Within-Day Energy Balance in Mexican Female Soccer (Football) Players Research Article

Within-Day Energy Deficiency and Reproductive Function in Female Endurance Athletes Research Article

NEDA Website

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Related Episodes

FYS 391: What is Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S)?

FYS 392: Understanding Total Daily Energy Expenditure 

FYS 376: Peri-Menopause, Fasting and Low Carb in Athletic Women with Dr. Stacy Sims

Within-Day Energy Deficiency Transcript

What is within day energy deficit? Have you ever even heard of this? Well, today on the podcast, we’re going to answer exactly that question and really fill in the context of why this matters for women athletes. By the time this podcast is over, you’ll know conceptually what within-day energy deficit is, and why it matters to you, as a female athlete.

If you’re an athletic 40, something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself, and doing hardship, the fuel your strength podcast is for you. You’ll learn how to eat, train, and recover smarter, so you build strength and muscle, have more energy, and perform better in and out of the gym. I’m strength nutrition strategist and weightlifting coach, Steph Gaudreau. The fuel your strength podcast dives into evidence-based strategies for nutrition training and recovery. And why once you’re approaching your 40s and beyond, you need to do things a little differently than you did in your 20s. We’re here to challenge the limiting industry narratives about what women can and should do in training and beyond. If that sounds good, hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s go.

Kicking Off a New Podcast Season

Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for being with me today. I’m really excited that you’re here, we have just come back from a bit of a break. And so officially unofficially kicking off a new season of the podcast. And I’m so very excited to continue exploring these topics about fueling your strength. We have in the past few episodes been looking at some things regarding metabolism, we’ve looked at overall energy balance, and why these things really matter for women, particularly athletic women, like yourself.

So today we’re going to be diving into this topic of within-day energy deficit. If you’re like me, maybe several years ago, you had never heard of this topic. And it’s sort of an offshoot of the idea of making sure that you’re adequately fueled. So we’re really going to be diving into that today on the show. A couple of things, though, before we go any further first is to hit that subscribe button on your favorite app, it is really so important. And it is a free and easy way to show your support and your love for this podcast.

Apply for Strength Nutrition Unlocked

Also, if you listen to this episode, and you realize, well, I would really like some help and coaching with this from an expert and get the support that I need to put these principles into practice, really put them into a cohesive system that works synergistically in terms of fueling training and recovery, that I’m going to invite you to apply for strength nutrition unlocked, you can do that at https://stephgaudreau.com/apply.

Why Within Day Energy Deficit Matter for Female Athletes

Okay, so let’s go ahead and give a little bit of a background on within-day energy deficit and why we’re covering this topic on the podcast.

A couple of things. First of all, women are women athletes, especially are just bombarded with ideas about eating less, moving more, and a lot of nutrition strategies that you’ll see out in the world that really isn’t made for us. So there’s that. The second thing is that adult learners really need to understand the why and the rationale behind things and a lot of times on social media when we’re talking about, you know, eat less eat or eat more, don’t eat less, you know, we’re gonna reject that.

And we’re really looking at how we can take our nutrition to the next level, we oftentimes say things like, eat more protein, and we need carbohydrates. And don’t be afraid to fuel. And really, that’s easy when we’re talking about these pithy one-liners. But when it comes to the nuance and the context, those things need to be teased apart. That’s really what we do here on the podcast to give you the rationale to go into depth to explain why this stuff matters for us, and to really fill you in, and the same thing on the articles that we’ve been writing on the website.

So definitely head over and check those out as well. Like everything else in nutrition, there’s a simple answer to this issue, which is TLDR eating meals regularly throughout the day to help support your training and your recovery. But then there’s also this very nuanced answer that takes unpacking and looking at the layers so you are more confident in your understanding and you can move forward with that in implementing these principles, and you are less likely to fall back on the pressures of eating last and cutting way back and doing these very large caloric deficits, which are not going to serve your training and your overall health and well being.

So, you know, it’s really interesting, when we consider the broad brushstrokes here. Over the past decade or so that I’ve been in this field, you know, the scene has really exploded, there’s so much more information. Now, we have tons of podcasts, about nutrition, and so many more women lifting heavy, which is amazing. And on the same, you know, the same token, you know, the flip side, I guess of that is that there is so much more to wade through.

Athletic Women Have Specific Nutritional Needs

And a lot of what you see on social media you hear on podcasts you see on websites isn’t necessarily tailored to you as a very active, athletic woman who’s challenging your body, you care about performance, you want to build strength, you’re working on your endurance, your capacity, you want to add muscle, to your frame, all of these things, we really need to think about the mainstream nutrition advice you might be seeing, even for other people in our age bracket, let’s just say that much, who might not be active and athletic, we have to sort of sift through that. And this is one of those things that you might be challenged by as we go through this today.

What are the Caloric Needs for Female Athletes?

Remembering that step one, first and foremost of sports, nutrition, and performance, nutrition is really looking at making sure you as the athlete have an adequate energy intake. So yes, at some level, we’re dealing with calorie intake, how many calories, how many calories we’re expending what the balance is of that.

And at the same time, we also need to take a look at the next level down, I guess, or up, however, you’re looking at this is how those calories are being partitioned how they’re coming in throughout your day, and really understanding it also at a macronutrient level. So stay tuned for a future podcast series that I’m going to be doing about protein.

So we’re going to be kind of kicking it off with that. So first things first, we’re going to talk about kind of the overall overarching idea of what is within day energy balance. Why does it matter to us? What is within day energy deficit? What are some of the things that stand in the way of us when we think, yeah, but I am eating enough? We’ll get into that. And then kind of leave you with some again, broad brushstrokes about what you do about this. So I want you to take this podcast today with the idea of really looking at this as a conceptual podcast, a conceptual level, not an obsession, the last thing we need to do is to stress you out to make you obsess about getting things perfect, there is that is not the goal here.

The goal here is that you understand why when you see people like me out on social or in the newsletter, or wherever it is listening to this podcast, and we’re talking about, you know, long, long periods of fasting for athletic women who are training hard with intensity is not a great match. You have the conceptual understanding about oh, now I know why that is. And so you can then work on putting the habits and practices into place in your own life. So that there’s we’re bridging the gap between what we say and why it matters for you. So specifically, we’re gonna dive in here looking at this idea of what is within day energy balance.

Protein, Carbs and Fats

So a couple of things, we can be much more nuanced, above and beyond just saying we need adequate energy intake, which we do, by really talking about the types and quantities of calories that we’re targeting. And we’re looking at things like protein, carbs, and fats. Alcohol is a macronutrient. But for our purposes, we are not including that in our discussion. So specifically, we’re really looking at the idea when we’re talking about energy balance of considering protein energy, the energy we eat via protein against nonprotein energy, which is carbohydrate and fat, again, for our purposes.

So in my experience, as a coach and a nutritionist, many athletic women just don’t have a good concept of what enough energy is in terms of caloric intake, you know how many calories which by the way, is a fluctuating number. It’s never perfect every single day. But also thinking about how do we translate that into food on the plate. Because you eat food on the plate, right? You don’t just eat calories or macronutrients, you eat food that contains those things. So all too often what I see is active women who train a lot, unfortunately, default to very low caloric intakes that aren’t even sufficient for children and toddlers, let’s be frank here.

Female Athletes Need More than 1200 Calories a Day

And we’re really talking about the 1200-calorie diet, or even just eating a significant energy deficit in the context of trying to train and perform at a higher level. Okay, so sometimes I’ll say this to women athletes, and they’re training really, really intensely, really hard really pushing their bodies. And they’re like, Yeah, but I don’t eat 1200 calories, but they’re still at a significant energy deficit. So we’re not going to get into things like fat loss and what that entails and energy deficits, because that’s not the purpose of this podcast.

But suffice to say, if you’re trying to create a deficit, and that deficit is extreme, especially compared to your basic needs, and your energy activity, we’re going to see you ending up in a place, especially if you’re doing this for long periods of time, where your metabolism is going to adapt and compensate downward. And you don’t want that. So that’s a little bit of an aside. So what is a within-day energy balance? Let’s just start by framing that. So then we can then go into what is the deficit piece of that.

Does It Matter At What Time of Day You Eat?

So what not a lot of people are really talking about, I even see this in kind of the sports and performance nutrition space, is that how you distribute your energy intake? And when I say energy, I mean calories. How you distribute your calories or energy over the course of your day, is as important as making sure you’re eating enough by the 24-hour mark in the first place. So yes, you could be eating enough as assessed over a 24-hour period. And we might call that energy balance, daily energy balance.

However, if you’re within-day energy balance is significantly off, you’re spending far too many hours within your day in an energy deficit, and there can be negative impacts on your performance. And potentially, again, if this is going to be a consistent thing, impact your health and overall well-being. And I regularly see this a lot when clients come in, they’ve been operating from a state of low energy availability, I definitely know what that feels like.

What is Low Energy Availability?

That was me 10-11 years ago. And as a result, when you’re in this chronic low energy availability state, you’re also more at risk for relative energy deficiency in sports, we have done podcasts on both of those. So we’ll link those in the show notes, you can go back and check those out.

A low energy availability occurs. Just as a quick reminder, when your energy intake, after you account for how much energy is spent, during intentional physical activity or training, is not enough to fully meet the remaining needs of the body. And these basic needs are things like gut function, bone health, maintenance of muscle mass, and reproductive function, amongst other things. So over time, these systems are not operating at their best.

And we start to see implications, again, whether that’s to our training or performance during training, or performance during competition if we aren’t competing, and potentially over time, that relative energy deficiency in sports outcomes. So now we’re going to move into that idea, this idea of within-day energy deficit. So if the energy balance is sort of where we stand after 24 hours, a within-day energy deficit is going to talk about big chunks of time.

What is Within Day Energy Deficit?

In your day, when you’re spending in an energy deficit, how do we put this in common language you are not eating for large chunks of your day. And that might not even be intentional fasting, which, for most, I would say most athletic women, even if you’re in your 40s or beyond, is just not the best way to approach your fueling now. Somebody can prove me wrong here by talking about their own unique situation, but broad brushstroke-wise. This idea of especially training in the morning, and not eating before, during, or after for several more hours, is not helping you to see the progress that you want.

Whether it’s your strength numbers, it is your cardio efficiency. It is your ability to build and maintain muscle, which we know is more difficult, not impossible. But it’s more difficult as we are aging through perimenopause and then into post-menopause. Okay, and we’ve done a whole episode, specifically where we went into intermittent fasting with Dr. Stacey Sims, you can absolutely go listen to that one, it is a barnburner. Just go check it out. All right, so let’s create an analogy. To help you understand within-day energy deficits a little bit better. So think about your phone battery. This is not a perfect analogy, but we’re just going to run with it.

An Analogy for Within Day Energy Deficiency

It automatically goes into power-saving mode, reducing function and performance. So that there’s sufficient battery charge or energy left to support basic functions for slightly longer. So if you start to run that battery down, it’s going to start to power down in the background, especially less important tasks. So I know for me when my battery runs really low on my phone, it stops sort of uploading or updating my I don’t know, photos to the Cloud automatically until I plug it in, right?

Those sorts of things. So think about that, as you start your day, you have your phone fully charged. And by the end of the day, maybe your phone is fully depleted. What that doesn’t always tell you, unless you look at the little screen that tells you your usage, is it doesn’t tell you a lot about what happened between 100% charge and zero. So for example, your battery charge might drop from 100% to 20% in a very short space of time, maybe you’re running a really energy-hungry app, Instagram, looking at you, then maybe your phone for the rest of the day spends the day in power saving mode, reducing function and performance until you charge it again, this is a different scenario than a fully charged phone that has its batteries slowly decrease evenly across the day.

And maybe you know at night you of course have to top it up. But the function is sort of maintained throughout the day because it hasn’t taken this giant hit. So if you simply looked at energy in versus energy out, which is of course, kind of the foundation of any kind of performance, nutrition, and really looking at energy balance in general, if you looked at that, after 24 hours, you would probably miss out on some important within day details. In other words, even though there might be an energy balance, by the end of the day, very large chunks of your day might be spent in a negative energy balance.

We see this pattern a lot, especially when people are not used to eating breakfast, and they’ve done fasting for a period of time, in particular, either purposefully or just because their day is really busy. Then lunch is also a little bit meager and you’re busy working through zoom meetings, or it’s just chaotic. So you spend a good chunk of your day with very little energy coming in. And that’s what we’re really talking about here.

If you are doing intense training, and not refueling until hours afterward, you are continuing to stay in a breakdown state. I don’t know how else to tell you that. But I hear this quite often from women who are still not ready to let go of fasting. And again, contextually we’re talking about people doing intense training, lifting, lifting heavy weights, doing hit training, doing hard interval training, cardio, training, those sorts of things. So when you do your training, especially in the morning, and then afterward, you do not eat because you’re continuing through the fast, you are staying in a breakdown state.

And when this happens for hours and hours afterward, this is unfavorable for many things, recovery in general, but also we’re looking at the lack of essential amino acids to even put into the process of muscle protein synthesis. So you’re working out very, very hard. And then you’re not giving your body the raw material, the building material it needs for many out many hours later. Now do you have to like stress and try to get your post-workout protein within 15 minutes or something bad’s gonna happen?

No, but I’m talking about day-in and day-out. You’re spending many hours without putting in any fuel any raw material, any amino acids, or the protein in your body. You’re and you’re wondering why is it then difficult for me to build muscle mass. This is one of the reasons why or one of the reasons I see very commonly.

Okay, so we need, as female athletes, to be very cautious about introducing very large caloric deficits for long periods of time. Now I’m talking about many months, and years, due to what we know about low energy availability and RED-S. So the question becomes what, you know, what does the research say about this? Like, what are some of the effects, I’ve already alluded to this, but let’s go into it a little bit more.

What Does Research Say About Within Day Energy Deficiency?

So, typically, people will look at their 24-hour energy intake total, whether they’re just using my fitness pal, or you’re just thinking about it in their head. But this 24-hour assessment doesn’t allow you to see what’s happening within your day. Now, you could use my fitness, pal, and look, sort of meal to meal. And that would give you a good idea.

But what we think about what we don’t think about is that when we’re considering that, like, did I get enough energy and like, did I eat enough in my day, and we’re only thinking about the end of the day and seeing what the total is, this tends to not take into consideration real-time responses that occur in your body with either large energy surpluses, which is extra, or large energy deficits. So I’ll give you a quick example here.

If somebody is going to eat a large dinner, but eat very little over the day leading up to it, which is a common pattern I see with intentional or otherwise nonintentional fasting, this may mean that you’re spending a large chunk of your day in a significant energy deficit. Let’s say you’re able to eat an ISO caloric amount, which is your meeting your energy needs, pretty much spot on.

So it looks like let’s say you need 2000 calories, you might get hit that total, even though maybe your food intake was like 200 200, and then 1600. And that’s a little bit of an extreme example, but I do see that quite often. And really, what I see in my female athletes that I work with, is that it’s 200 calories, 200 calories, and then fuck,

it’s really hard to eat enough food in the last meal to account for the gap that was created from the rest of the day. So what that means is consistent, if this is chronic, and happens over a long period of time, consistently, chronically under-eating, there was a study that was done, and we can link this was done on female soccer players, I will put the link in the show notes to the study. But like let’s think about why that might not be favorable.

Is it Okay for Athletes to Skip Meals?

Here’s a quote from the study, it says such an eating pattern would produce low blood sugar during the day, which results which would result in elevated serum cortisol that is associated with low bone mineral density catabolism of lean mass, and reduction in estrogen production. To compound these problems, low blood sugar is likely to result in a hyperinsulinemia response at the next eating opportunity.

So again, we’re not just thinking about the impact of the kind of not eating, but we’re also talking about what happens when we start to eat again, after those long gaps of time. None of these possible outcomes could be adequately predicted through a 24-hour energy balance assessment. And none are desirable for the athletes. They also mentioned greater food consumption than normal, which a lot of you sort of experience in a very anecdotal way where you don’t eat very much at breakfast, or if at all, or maybe you’re just drinking coffee, you eat very, very little at lunch, and then you’re like, holy shit, all I want to do is eat the pantry.

And now I’ve ended up overstuffed and feeling terrible. And now I feel like crap the next day, even so, I see this happening a lot. And you might have noticed this as well. And what we’re really looking at here again, is being in that long breakdown state for long periods of time. There’s another study that says traditional multiple-day energy balance and energy availability assessments can mask the energy deficiency by the compensation effect, while within de energy balance can detect the hidden energy deficiency with more physiological reference. So this is a 2017 study that looked at the masking effect of within-day energy deficits in female athletes, specifically looking at menstrual function and athletic performance.

Menstrual Dysfunction & Within Day Energy Deficiency

In women with higher within-day energy deficits, estrogen levels are lower and cortisol levels are higher. The women also showed signs of a suppressed metabolic rate. Perhaps the most surprising is that when the women with menstrual dysfunction were compared to those without meaning normal menstrual function, there were no differences in the total energy consumed over a 24-hour period. So those two groups had roughly equal by the end of the day energy intake, it was just that the group that was not eating much

across the day, and then maybe ate a big meal, I don’t remember the exact timing of the meals in the study. But in athletes that had a within-day energy deficit, were the ones that had menstrual dysfunction. So said that those women with menstrual dysfunction did have larger within-day energy deficits. So here’s a couple. Now we’re kind of moving into this idea of a couple of the rebuttals that I hear a lot.

The Last Meal Effect

The first one, and they’re both along the lines of but I do eat enough. So if you’re like, but I eat a lot, let’s kind of dissect this. Number one, oftentimes, when I hear this is because of what I’m dubbing, the last meal effect, which means if you eat very little at breakfast, or not at all because some of us are still doing that us, not me, us, meaning you collectively.

I used to do this though. So sidenote sidebar, I used to do this. Alright, I get it, I know, I get the whole situation. This is why I’m kind of nudging you to reconsider because I know what it’s like. And I know how much better things are on the other side. So I say this with love. But oftentimes, we see very small or none at all breakfast, very small, or none at all, lunch, big, big, big dinner, and so are relatively larger meals for dinner. So there’s a tendency to remember only the last meal at the end of the day.

And think, yeah, that I ate a lot. Sometimes even your sleep is kind of disrupted because you’ve eaten more in the late evening, and you don’t sleep all that well, because of the digestion that’s actually taking place in the fullness that you feel. So there are sometimes still these big gaps in energy throughout your day. And you have the tendency to only remember the last meal. So that’s number one.

Low Energy, High Volume Foods

Number two, oh, I see this one a ton. This is when we’re eating a lot of high-volume, but low-energy foods. So we see this, even with women, athletes, who eat a lot of like small meals, or a lot of small meals, plus snacks. This is not a knock-on snacking, by the way at all. But it’s just an interesting observation. So there was a study done.

Again, we’ll link to this in the show notes. And what they saw in the study was that in women who were eating a higher meal frequency in the population that they looked at, so a lot of meals that meal frequency were associated with a greater within-day energy deficit. And the authors noted, postulated, this might be due to athletes consuming low energy density foods, or quote unquote safe snacks.

So just a little bit of an aside here, the concept of safe foods also occurs in disordered eating and eating disorders. And if you’re somebody who is struggling with this, please see the end EDA, we will link that in the show notes for resources and support. So suffice to say, you could be a snacker and snack lots across your day, but eating lots of high volumes means filling foods that have less energy.

And we’re talking about things like filling up on a lot of fibrous raw vegetables or adding a lot of fiber to smoothies to bulk them out and keep the calories low. snacking on low-carb, low carb are sort of like low protein bars. Again, nothing wrong with energy bars or protein bars at all. Or eating too many low-calorie foods. So we see this a ton and it’s actually a little bit more insidious because you feel like but I am eating a lot.

Okay, before we go any further fiber is very important for gut health and for keeping you regular and so many other things. It is very important to get enough fiber and most Americans do not get enough fiber so we’re not knocking vegetables here. We just have to find a better balance where we are also including enough energy-dense foods, calorically-dense foods. And I see this a ton with women who are like, but I eat lots of salads, and that we look at the salad, and it’s a lot of veg, not necessarily a bad thing, but then there’s not much protein in the salad.

Athletic Women Need Carbs

And there’s really not a dense source of carbohydrates, besides fibrous vegetables. So I also see this in my sort of former low-carb people. Again, that was me, where you’ve made some low-carb switches with food in your past. And now, you are still kind of using the same habits, right, you’ve got habits with food, buying habits with the recipes, and you’d like to make habits with food prep or meal prep or recipes that you’re cooking.

And it can take time to readjust your idea of bringing more especially carbohydrates back in, so let’s say you’re somebody who is not celiac or doesn’t have celiac disease, you have no celiac disease. And you’re like, Well, I just was, you know, just got the idea that I shouldn’t eat bread, bread is bad for me or pasta is bad for me or rice is bad for me. And these foods can absolutely and do absolutely have a place.

However, you’ve learned to omit them from your routine. So let’s say for example, you do lettuce wrap, instead of bread, you do cauliflower rice, instead of rice, you do zucchini noodles instead of pasta. And yes, you are increasing the vegetable content of what you’re eating. But by proxy hate, you’ve cut back on the energy that’s available. So I would just say, if you fall into that camp, be more conscious of if you are eating, you are a snacker.

Filling Snacks That Make You Feel full

Great, that’s fine, we just want to make sure that you’re not eating very low energy in those snacks. You know, every snack has 150 calories while you’re eating six snacks a day. But that’s still going to leave you very low on energy intake overall. So that was kind of another issue that was raised in one of these studies. And I see a lot anecdotally out in the community.

So what we want to think about here, and give you the takeaways for is this. Alright, so kind of recapping where we’ve been, we’ve covered a lot of ground here. In this episode, I want to leave you with some takeaways and put a bow on it. So the first thing is that, yes, daily energy requirements, it’s important to eat enough however, how we spread that energy out throughout the day does matter. And we want to avoid these very long stretches of time where we’re going without food throughout our day, especially after we’re training hard and our body is primed for recovery.

Recovery is Where You Get Stronger

Yes, recovery takes place on the continuum. However, that is not an excuse for just waiting several hours before you’re refueling after your training, you’re going to train so much better when you are properly refueled and you’re doing it in a timely fashion. Don’t obsess, don’t get, Don’t get crazy about it. But just try to be a little bit more diligent, right?

Within Day Energy Deficiency Summary

We talked about within-day energy deficit and some of the impacts that can have on not only performance but also health and well-being overall. And we also talked about some of the reasons why it may seem like or you feel like you’re eating enough, but that those can be a little bit tricky. And that was specifically in regards to that last meal effect. And also eat lots of high volumes, high fiber but low energy intake or low energy, low-calorie food.

So even if you’re snacking a lot, the caloric value is too low. It’s right that can kind of get a little bit muddy. So try and hear your takeaways try to eat enough to fuel your training and basic bodily needs and spread that out throughout the day a little bit more evenly to avoid those big gaps to avoid that within-day energy deficit. Try to refuel in a timely fashion.

And as a female athlete, try to go into your training with some fuel onboard again, particularly those of you who are doing intense training, you’re lifting heavy. You’re doing high-intensity interval training, going out there, and running really fast like all of these things. Go into your workout with a little bit of fuel onboard, especially if that workout is happening in the morning. Even if it’s a snack it’s better than nothing.

Okay, you don’t need to wake up four hours early and eat a Hungry Man breakfast. Shout out to anyone who remembers what those are. But just think about getting some fuel onboard and then refueling in a timely manner. Okay, very, very important. So we’ll kind of summarize it by saying this. Nutrition is complicated, even for us as athletic women over 40 We’ve been fed a diet, no pun intended, of statements about how we should eat what we should eat, eat less, and move more. And it is just it’s complicated to weed or not weed through it. Yeah, I guess weed through it is what I would say.

Build Fitness with Training and Recovery

It’s complicated to make your way through the information and continually come back to you. And your context. No, we don’t want to overeat. But we also don’t want to drastically under-eat, we need to find that sweet spot. And a lot of times, we’re only going to get there through experimentation and awareness. So remember, the mission here is to fuel train and recover smarter. So you build fitness, strength, endurance, capacity, and muscle because feeling stronger and more powerful translates into a more expansive life, outside the gym.

Your strength is the catalyst for more. Alright, that does it for this episode on a within-day energy deficit. A couple of things. First of all, hit the subscribe button on your podcast app. It’s so important. It helps to share the love about the podcast and it is a free and really easy way to show your support. If you love this episode, or you found it helpful in some way, share it out on Instagram stories and tag me at @Steph_Gaudreau so I can see it, and then share that back out into the world and share it with a friend. If you know somebody who could use this episode, please send it to them.

So hopefully they’re able to take a listen and learn just as well. Thanks for being here on this podcast episode. I will see you next time. And until then, stay strong.

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Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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