Do you know what to eat before and after your workout? This is a popular question from people just starting out in their fitness journey. Getting your diet on point is a science and any custom to you plans should be created by a registered dietician/nutritionist (remember that!) but there are some general tips and tricks I can share with you to get you started!
What To Eat:
Before – Carbs! Carbs are your friends. I know you’ve heard that carbs are bad and should be avoided if you want to lose weight but I promise, you want a little carbs in your life. Carbs = ENERGY. Good carbs (whole grains/wheats, fruits) turn into the energy your muscles need to push you through a killer workout. You should eat a little something 30-90 minutes before you workout like toast with PB and banana, some oatmeal with berries, crackers or rice cakes.
After – Protein! Protein is what is going to help your muscles repair themselves and grow. When you workout (especially strength train) you make tiny tears in your muscles. Protein helps repair these tears. The sooner you get in some protein after your workout, the better! Some ideas of good protein sources are protein shakes or bars (be really careful they aren’t full of sugar!), lean meats like chicken or fish, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
There ya go! A quick reminder of what to eat before and after your workout. Carbs = Energy, Protein = Repair. Energy before, repair after.
To lose weight you have to cut calories. Burn more than you eat. So much easier said than done, right? Nutrition is the most important part of a fitness program and also probably the hardest. The whole process can seem a little daunting but I’ve put together a list of five easy things you can start doing right now that will save you tons of calories every day!
5 ways to cut calories:
1. Drink water: Replacing other beverages through the day with water can save big time! Swap out all sodas, teas, and other sugary drinks with water and see how you feel in a week! Fancy up your water with this recipe!
2. Don’t eat the kid food: No more eating the left overs off of the kids plate. No more finishing their crusts. Nadda. How many calories each day go to snacking on toddler left overs?
3. Write it down: Use My Fitness Pal, a FitBook, or just a regular inexpensive spiral notebook. Write down and track every single thing you put in your mouth. It may sound excessive but most of the time you don’t realize how much you are really snacking through out the day. Writing it down will show you your full food intake. And also, knowing you have to write it down will help keep you accountable!
4. Measure condiments: Keep a set of measuring spoons and cups handy. Measure out your dips, sauces, and dressings. You’re probably using a lot more than the serving size suggests!
5. Slow down! This is hard to do once you reach hangry status so try to eat before you cross that line! Chew slowly. Set your fork or food down between bites while you take time to chew and swallow. This will give your stomach/brain a chance to realize what’s going on and let you know when you’re full. That way you don’t stuff your face at top speed and then feel terrible 10 minutes later.
There is no secret to losing weight. You have to be in a calorie deficit which means burn more calories than you take in. I know you’ve heard that before. This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting back to a severe low calorie diet. It just means choosing the lower calorie food options that are also high in nutrients and density. This includes foods are are whole and unprocessed. You’ll get the biggest return health wise eating these foods vs spending your calories on ’empty’ processed foods that have little to no nutritional value.
Talking food and calories is not the point of this post… today we’re talking about the ways that you BURN those calories! There are 6 main ways that your body burns calories to help you lose.
6 Ways to burn:
RMR is your resting metabolic rate – This is the energy your body uses just to LIVE. This accounts for the largest amount of calories burned at 60-75% of your total daily burn. The amount you burn is related to muscle. If you have more muscle, you have a higher RMR.
Weight training. Training with weights increases RMR calories burned as well as post workout calories burned. Weight training burns about 7-9 cal per min.
Cardio training. Doing cardio exercises is one of the best way to burn calories. Calories burned during cardio training varies due to your workout intensity, duration, and how often you train. Steady state cardio should be done for about 45 minutes at a moderate intensity, or 20-30 minutes at a higher intensity.
EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This post workout calorie burn can last 12-24 hours after your workout. It’s also known as the “After Burn Effect”. Raising your exercise intensity raises your EPOC. HIIT workouts and strength training provide the highest EPOC.
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – This is the energy your body burns digesting food. It accounts for about 10% of energy burned. More lean protein in your diet can slightly increase TEF which is why a higher protein diet may promote more weight loss. More protein in your diet protect muscle and keeps you fuller longer. Replacing 1 serving of fats or carbs a day with protein can help.
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – This is all of your activity outside of workouts. This includes standing, sitting, talking, sitting, working, gardening… all of your extra movements during the day. Move more through out the day, burn more.
So, now that you know the ways your body burns you can tweak each one to give you the max calorie burn possible!
Make sure you check out the FitCamps tab up top! February will be a special JumpStart Your Year FitCamp! Focusing on HIIT workouts to get that burn started!