Diet, weight loss, muscle building, and exercise are subjects of much debate.
We will look at the ways that the nutrients and movement combine then utilize them as tools to maximize our body’s potential. That means not only choosing what to eat but when to eat as well as listening to your body.
I’ll guide you step by step through the mechanics of food and exercise to empower you to make healthy decisions that will best benefit your body.
Toning is Essential
While not everyone needs to gain weight necessarily, I cannot think of normal circumstances where building muscles and toning your body is undesirable. This is part of the reason why we intend to ask people for stepping on the Body Mass Index machine.
A body filled with healthy muscle tone is going to function more efficiently than a body filled with fat. Muscle tone is going to burn calories more efficiently than a body filled with fat. Which means we need to build it when fat loss is the goal, so we either high light gaining muscles and weight or building muscles to burn fat.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style workouts for building muscle, which is beneficial for building, muscle in nearly any body type. The idea is that the exercise is intense enough that the body winds up in “oxygen-debt,” and much-needed energy is pulled from the glycogen stores in the muscles. Once oxygen is restored to the body, it switches to pull energy from fat stores. In essence, we are teaching the body that muscles feed the body during exercise and fat feeds the body the rest of the time. We have to give the body the right nutrients in order to teach it to burn fat, and even then, when we eat, the stress in our lives and even our hormones can stand in the way.
The three groups of macronutrients are:
According to everyone’s goals, I will work on reducing the amount of refined carbs and processed foods that are chemically, rather than mechanically, processed. They are made “from refined ingredients and artificial substances” and are not the touchstone of a healthy or balanced diet.
What happens when you eat a diet filled with processed foods?
- You burn less than you could
- You eat more than you need to
- You hinder your immune system from functioning properly
- You experience mood swings, memory loss and trouble sleeping.
Protein our power up
It provides the building blocks for muscle, among other benefits.
In 2013, Army researchers evaluated a group of 39 people to see how extra protein affected their weight loss efforts. Doubling recommended values seemed to help participants drop weight, presumably by protecting muscle mass from loss and directing the body to use up fat stores.
Tripling the recommended values did not provide any extra benefit. Since excessive protein can be dangerous, there is a line to walk – a little bit more is good, but be aware of what you are doing to make sure you do not go overboard. Adults need a recommended amount of roughly 50 grams of protein per day, give or take based on age and gender.
Fat is your friend, not your foe
Current recommendations for fat consumption by athletes fall around 20-35% of daily caloric intake. The benefits of higher fat intake are numerous, from protection to performance. one study, cyclists who adapted to a high-fat diet over two weeks had improved fat oxidation, better endurance, and better stamina than those on a high carb diet.
Right carbs are friendly
Think of Michael Phelps and his mounds of pancakes while he trained so heavily for the Olympics. Yes, he was burning the calories – but should that become a normal diet recommendation? Of course not! And even though he needed the energy, one has to wonder what that amount of less-than-ideal food does to his gut, immunity, and long-term health risks.
Even though, aside from abnormal carbohydrate needs for abnormal events, do carbs have a place in the athlete’s diet? Certainly! No one macronutrient should be singled out and vilified. Each macronutrient is needed, with the remainder up in the air, depending on your body’s needs.
The source is vital. Unless you plan to win record-setting amounts of gold medals, you don’t have to inhale every carb in sight. When carbohydrate intake does seem necessary, there are plenty to choose from that will not spike blood sugar, inhibit fat oxidation, or disrupt training goals.
Refined sugars and flours are absolutely off the list. By choosing vegetable and fruit sources of complex carbohydrates, you will avoid that overly-full feeling that starchy carbs bring while leaving room to bulk up your meal with fat and protein consistent with the high-performance training.
Pre- Exercise Nutrition
food is supposed to be our fuel, that would be like trying to fill up a gas tank at the end of the road trip!
Instead, Dr. Stuart Phillips and colleagues at McMaster University point out that protein in excess of 20 grams at a time is not beneficial to the body. Therefore, for maximum use to the body, meals are best dispersed throughout the day with right around twenty grams of protein at a time.)
Along with higher protein breakfasts and evenly spaced meals, interest is gathering around intentionally delayed breakfasts, playing on a dietary method known as intermittent fasting. Some intermittent fasts look like entire days of restricted calories. Others limit eating time to 8 hours per day – delaying breakfast until later in the day, then filling eight hours with plenty of nutrient-dense, evenly-spaced meals.
Studies are emerging on the potential benefits of exercising in a fasted state – for instance, waking up, exercising, then breaking the fast and beginning your 8-10 hours of meals for the day. So far, the results indicate potential endurance benefits via slowed glycogen breakdown (14), improved muscle recovery, and the reduction of intramuscular triglyceride, which is connected with diabetes.
Listen to your body! If you eat before working out, make sure it is something easily digestible.
After a big workout, it’s all too easy to believe we’ve earned a splurge thanks to all that hard work. Really, the foods we choose at this point can actually slow the progress the exercise made.
By reaching for carbs – and thereby increasing insulin – Growth Hormone is inhibited. Since this is a primary player in muscle repair and growth, it undermines the whole workout. For those of us who are over thirty, Growth Hormone is already in slow production, and we need all the help we can get! Instead, reaching for 20 grams of protein – perhaps the first batch in one of your evenly spaced meals – is backed by evidence as beneficial. Eating a high-quality protein after a workout can help with muscle repair and growth without spiking blood sugar and undermining your efforts.