Once in a while temptation gets the best of us and we eat something unhealthy. It could be that you went out to dinner and had too many drinks, or even could be that you just crushed an epic cheat meal and are stuffed to the gills. Overindulgence happens, its human nature, and sometimes it is a lot of food and calories. The next day you may step on the scale and be shocked to see that you have gained a few pounds. So what do you do now? There are ways to minimize the damage immediately following a bad meal. The answer is exercise; specifically high intensity interval training (HIIT).
First of all we must recognize that food is fuel. If you consume more fuel, you must burn more fuel to avoid the risk of storing it as fat. The key here is physical activity. Try to work out within 24 hours of over eating and the closer to the actual meal the better. If you work out shortly after a big meal you are more likely to burn some of the calories you just ate rather than relying on your body’s glycogen and fat stores. High intensity interval training works best for a few reasons.
- By alternating quick bursts of 100% intensity with brief recovery periods, HIIT burns more calories in a shorter period of time. High intensity exercise burns primarily carbohydrates, the most readily available fuel source in the body. Fat burns slow and your body burns a higher percentage of fat when resting.
- HIIT has an after burn effect known as EPOC and keeps you burning more calories for hours later while resting (fat).
- HIIT makes you sweat. Water retention is the main cause of your acute weight gain. Sodium and carbohydrates love to surround themselves with water molecules inside your body. Sweating and burning carbs in HIIT attacks the water retention from both sides. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
The next time you eat a bad meal give high intensity interval training a shot and see how quickly you can get back to your normal weight. Exercising will also help minimize your feelings of guilt.