Trying to lose weight and tone up?
When we are frustrated with how we look and feel, quite often our immediate reaction is to start eating less and dramatically drop our calorie intake in an effort to see fast fat loss. Although this may result in immediate weight loss on the scales, the end result is often not quite what we bargained for.
Over time, calorie restriction slows the body’s metabolism. As a survival response to stop wasting of the muscles and maintain healthy levels of body fat, processes are slowed, while the body recognizes calories are reduced below what is required to maintain a healthy weight. In addition, low calorie dieting will restrict muscle growth and hamper efforts in the gym.
A slow metabolism will negatively impact future weight loss efforts and result in rebound fat gain. So, when ‘dieting’, maintaining a healthy and active metabolism should always be top of mind.
Outwit that body of yours
The smartest approach is to eat the maximum amount you can while still losing body fat. In this way, workouts will be well fuelled, enabling you to push harder and burn more energy while also allowing your body to use a little stored body fat for fuel.
To optimize your metabolism even further, recent research indicates the addition of protein in most if not all meals and eating in 3 to 4 hour intervals can help satisfy and reduce cravings.
Choose complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat to fuel up pre-workout. The addition of fat and protein will slow the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream and deliver sustained energy for the length of your workout.
Some great choices are:
0% fat Fage yoghurt, berries and a handful of almonds
Scrambled eggs on Ezekiel bread, toasted
A convenient healthy bar like The Primal Pantry bars and half a cup of yoghurt or a few nuts
Post workout it is important to feed the body quickly for improved recovery and to help muscles grow. A fast absorbing, liquid meal is often a great choice. Choose one with protein and carbohydrate. A protein shake with a banana could work well or choose a protein powder, which offers carbohydrate in the blend, like PURE’s Exercise Recovery.
For those that can tolerate dairy, low fat milk is also a great addition and just one glass can provide the branch chain amino acids (protein building blocks) recommended to aid recovery and muscle repair.
It’s time to eat up!
Whatever you choose to eat, aim for natural or naturally derived foods to fuel your body. Eat 3- 4 hourly and vary your diet, ensuring you consume a mix of protein and carbohydrates in most if not all meals.
Keep post-workout meals very low fat to facilitate fast recovery and add fat into the pre-workout meal to sustain slow energy release.
Remember, if you want to look like an athlete you need to train AND eat like one.
Roz Alexander – Nutritional Consultant, Simply Active Pte Ltd