When you are committed to your exercise programme but are still struggling to lose excess body fat, it can be extremely disheartening. What’s the secret? Is there a secret? Yes! Regular exercise makes us hungry and it is all too easy to eat too much - particularly post exercise. Many fitness enthusiasts exercise at the same time of the day most days so the most important thing we can do is ensure that we are optimally nourished throughout the day and around an hour before a workout (unless you work out first thing in the morning). When you are optimally nourished beforehand you will not only have the energy to get through a workout, but will also have enough in the can to replenish glycogen levels in the liver and muscles, discourage protein breakdown and encourage protein synthesis (unless your workouts are regularly in excess of 90 minutes or you are training for an endurance event where you may need some nourishment during and/or shortly after this kind of strenuous activity).
A Few Diet Secrets
Beware of Sport-Focused Products. Energy bars and drinks geared to the sports market are not always what they seem - many simply deliver an abundance of sugar into the bloodstream and can encourage fat storage rather than fat burning. They may be convenient but do you really need them? If you find a pre or post exercise snack helps you meet your energy requirements, fill your sports bag with real food and unadorned drinks to limit your intake of added sugars. It’s hard to beat a couple of rice cakes or light crackers with smooth not crunchy nut butter or fresh/tinned fish (crab, tuna, salmon, prawns) and a green smoothie to fuel your exercise session or top up your glycogen levels after exercise and ensure that your snack doesn’t cause uncomfortable digestion issues.
Focus on Fats. Fat provides the largest energy reserve in the body and because it is slowly digested in the stomach, extends the amount of time that energy can be utilised. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (oily fish, seeds and a few nuts) have been repeatedly shown, through extensive study to increase endurance and encourage stored fat to be burned for energy. You may also wish to consider a supplement to meet daily requirements of these fabulous fats.
Play Clever with Protein. Fitness enthusiasts are continually targeted on the subject of how much protein they should consume in a day to build and repair muscle with the more equals better message often predominating. Unless you are looking to build the kind of muscle required to compete in bodybuilding events, are a professional endurance event athlete or need to seriously bulk up for weight lifting or field sports, the inclusion of protein foods in every daily meal and snack should meet your requirements. Protein powders are convenient for recreational fitness enthusiasts and there is no doubt that they are a quick and easy way to meet your daily protein requirements if you haven’t had time to prepare a nourishing meal or snack but they are not essential and can be very damaging to the wallet!