What you eat before and after exercise has a huge impact on your results. This is especially true as you get older.
Think about that.
You could be doing intense workouts, pushing yourself hard in the gym, but then eating all the wrong foods that impede your progress and keep your body looking the same.
I don't know about you, but if I'm going to put in all that effort into my workouts, I certainly don't want my results hijacked by poor nutrition.
Transforming your body comes down to two simple parts:
1) Consistent, challenging exercise
2) Balanced, proper nutrition
When you skip on the balanced, proper nutrition, you cheat yourself out of the sculpted physique that you should have.
The food you eat prior to exercise and and the food you eat following exercise plays a key role in the overall success of your workout. What you eat and when you eat can either help you burn more calories and build more muscle or it can hinder your weight-loss and muscle building goals.
Here's how it works. Your body gets energy from the carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates are converted to glucose, and unused glucose is then converted to glycogen, which is stored in your liver and muscles.
During intense exercise, your body uses up this stored energy. Not having a store of energy, your body can't function at its potential.
Healthy pre- and post-workout foods provide your body with the glycogen needed to fuel your muscles during aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Many people find that exercising first thing in the morning works best for their schedule. I'm definitely one of those people. Once I get home I know that I won't go to the gym or workout and would rather spend that time with my family.
For some though, getting up early to workout means heading to the gym on an empty stomach (Of course by utilizing an online personal trainer that specializes in online training, you can avoid the gym altogether and save yourself significant time, but that's a different article.) Unfortunately, when you have an extremely intense workout with your body's "gas tank" on empty, your body will start to take the amino acids from your muscles and convert them to the glucose you need for energy.
Therefore, instead of burning fat, you may actually break down your muscle!
Of course, this is the opposite of what you want to do.
In order to burn fat, you need to fuel up with something nutritious an hour to an hour and a half before working out. This gives your body enough time to digest the food and make the energy available for exercising.
Good examples of healthy pre-workout meals or snacks to give your body the energy it needs to exercise include greek yogurt with fruit, a two- to three-ounce turkey breast, a low sugar protein bar, banana, poached egg with Ezekiel toast and grapefruit, or a lean turkey burger.
Although whole foods are always your best option, I completely get not having the time to eat a meal before exercising. You still need to eat something. A quick way to give your body immediate energy is to eat a simple carbohydrate such as fruit or juice in a protein drink or shake 30 minutes prior to working out. And avoid heavy meals before exercising, as these large meals may slow you down and make you feel sluggish during your routine.
The combination of food to eat before a workout should contain complex and simple carbohydrates, fiber, and low-fat protein to give you energy, keep you feeling full, and help regulate a normal blood sugar level. Try to make sure each pre-workout meal or snack contains this combination of nutrients. Not having the right amount of carbs for energy will hinder your ability to burn calories, build muscle, and exercise to your full potential.
The goal of post-workout nutrition is to help muscles rebuild and strengthen following the stress and loss of glycogen they experience during exercise. To replenish energy stores, your muscles need protein and carbohydrates within half an hour to an hour and a half following exercise. If your post workout shake does NOT contain carbs, your body may actually instead break down muscle tissue for this same purpose. That would be bad.
Examples of a post-workout snacks and meals include a four- to six-ounce turkey breast and brown rice, a green salad with grilled chicken, or a smoothie with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt.
However, post-workout protein is best consumed in the form of whey powder. While egg whites, chicken and tuna fish are fine sources of protein, they are NOT the ideal type of protein after your exercise session. These foods are whole foods, and the protein in whole foods digest pretty slowly.
You may have eaten a high protein food in your post-workout meal, but by the time the protein is digested and finally ready to be used by your body, a whole lot of time would have passed. This is why the ideal source of protein to eat after your workout is a whey protein powder mixed with some type of liquid thus creating a whey protein shake. A whey protein shake will be digested by your body much quicker. And whey protein is the fastest digesting protein there is.
If making sure you're getting the right workout nutrition and maximizing your muscle building, fat loss results is something you'd like to do, then call or email me to set up a consultation.
Coach George here!