I always hear that exercising increases your metabolism.
Well.. by how much?? Like 100calories, 200, etc.
If you're doing cardio, el zippo, if you're doing interval training, a little bit, for a short period of time, if you're doing strength training, maaybe 6.8-7.6% after 4 months of consistent training.
The EPOC effect is really pretty small, when considered on a workout-by-workout basis. It's only over the long term that the cumulative effect of small increases on a consistent basis make themselves felt - over a few months it adds up to several pounds of fat more burnt outside of exercise, in addition to what the workouts themselves add up to.
But it depends on your baseline too. If you are a couch potato with a sluggish metabolism a workout will get it fired up for quite a while. Of you're already fit and active, the additional impact of one more workout isn't nearly as large.
But I'm not sure if that is what your really asking. Are you wanting to know how many extra calories you burn during exercise? This is where the real benefit of exercise comes in for dieters. The calorie burn here is in the hundreds per hour depending on the type and duration of the exercise. Use the tools here for a specific exercise.
Exercise per se doesn't lead to weight loss. You lose weight by burning more calories than you consume. But exercise does help you burn more total calories which helps with weight loss. It also keeps you fit and allows you to eat more even when you are maintaining your weight.
Well I see articles that say it's best to exercise before a big meal because your metabolism will be faster than it's resting rate.
But I don't know if that's true or not. Just curious :P
Where timing exercising vs. eating *really* comes into play is when you are trying to avoid an insulin crash right at your workout time (which governs how long before exercise you should eat) and when you are trying to take advantage of your body's desire to recover from the workout (glycogen synthesis and protein metabolism, together with the slightly anabolic effect of insulin). It's best to eat a high-quality recovery meal within the first hour after exercise (the carbs vs. protein composition varies according to what you're doing; e.g., endurance vs. weightlifting), then supplement more later, if you need to do so.
Finally, you want to avoid eating within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your body tends to secrete growth hormone (which will help you to recover from your hard efforts) after you've been asleep for a few hours, but insulin suppresses that, and eating causes you to secrete insulin.
What about eating just prior to exercise?
My nutritionist had said to make sure I eat a snack/mini meal within 30 minutes after exercise to avoid a glycogen low, but what if I eat just prior to exercise. Would that cover avoiding a crash afterwards?
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