Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand, and watching what you eat is just as important as how you workout. Food doesn’t just serve as sustenance, but also as fuel to aid in fitness goals. When done correctly, the proper diet can even lead to effective weight loss.
A proper meal plan is just as important as an appropriate workout plan. Not only do you need to consume the right amount of food, but also the right kind of food. Pre- and post-workout meals are essential for fat burning and muscle building, and doing them correctly is necessary.
Traditionally, a pre-workout would consist of a meal of carbohydrates and protein, but combined intake gives the body a harder time to digest the food and distribute the nutrients. This means that the blood flow is directed to your digestive system instead of being where it needs to be during a workout: your heart and muscles.
Giving your body sufficient time to digest your food in two parts means that it will have enough time for the blood to feed your muscles with amino acids. If the body is in a state of digestion, it will not have access to nutrients necessary for muscle growth. This means that your body will have to start using existing muscle tissue which could lead to muscle loss and negate all the work in the gym.
The enzymes used in metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins work at different rates. So much so, in fact, that when the body digests them together, the processes conflict with one another. It means that the body does not have access to the glucose in the food and will not contribute to your workout.
Ideally, it is best to give a 15-minute gap between consuming carbohydrates and proteins. Consume carbohydrates first to give your digestion a head start and give your muscles the energy it needs in the gym.
Fruits are also a great pre-workout meal. The fructose in fruits is a natural sugar that the body does not store as fat. Once consumed, fructose can be burned efficiently to give you more power for your workout.
After a workout, your body is sore and your muscles need recovery from all the exertion. The goal of a post-workout meal is to aid in recovery and lessen inflammation. This is where fats and proteins are your friends.
Foods rich in Omega 3 are incredibly effective in reducing inflammation. They do this by lowering the body’s Cortisol levels and at the same time, aid in muscle growth. Some excellent sources of protein and Omega 3 are grass-fed beef, eggs and salmon.
Coconut oil is also great for a post workout meal. Coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride which means that the body does not store it as fat. This is especially good formaximizing your body’s fat burning efficiency.
Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli are a great post-workout meal. While they provide very little in the way of carbohydrates, they lower the body’s estrogen levels, maximizing the testosterone. Testosterone levels are high after a workout;reducing estrogen levels means that you maximize nutrient intake and muscle growth and definition.
Avoid salty food. Food high in sodium increases muscle inflammation and makes you feel bloated even after a workout.
Backed by hard science, these tips will aid you in getting the most out of your workout. A few adjustments are all it takes for you to turn food into fuel and fat into muscle. With these tips, you can bring fat burning and muscle definition to their peak.