I hope by now everyone knows how important the diet piece of the puzzle is to weight loss and shape maintenance – diet is about 70-80%. Therefore, you want to be SURE you are energizing your workout in the best way possible. After all, what you’re eating alongside your workout is probably not a leisurely 4-course meal with your friend, so let’s try to make it nutritionally optimal. But you don’t have to plan it yourself! Luckily, I created this workout nutrition guide for you.
One thing that is usually neglected on the fat loss diet is the need to eat enough fruits and vegetables. You often see fitness models on protein and oatmeal with no fruit or veg in sight! Some may even argue that fruit makes you fat! Here’s the deal — overeating makes you fat. Fruit has a particularly bad reputation because of the sugar it contains. However, you’ll be glad to know that sugar isn’t always bad.
Raw fruits and vegetables are absolutely critical to a fat loss diet because of all the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber they contain. They can also help you stay full throughout the day while controlling your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Speaking of insulin… If you were to ask most professional fitness models what the most important hormone in your body for building muscle* is, they could say testosterone.
*: Remember, in our world (meaning girls who want to look fabulous) building muscle actually means getting tighter, more defined and burning more fat. It does NOT mean getting big, so please don’t be afraid to build muscle. Muscle will greatly assist in your fat loss efforts.
In fact, insulin is the most important hormone for muscle building. The good thing is, unlike testosterone, taking insulin won’t cause you to grow a bunch of eggs or hair on your face. It’s easy to fully control your insulin intake with your diet without using any weird pills.
Insulin is a hormone released in response to an increase in the sugar in your blood. Its effects can be good or bad depending on when you take it.
Let’s start with the bad news – The downside of insulin is that it stops fat burning.
Here’s the good news: Research shows that a spike in blood sugar during and immediately after exercise does NOT stop fat burning. In fact, insulin sends sugars and amino acids to your muscles, helping them grow and recover. And better growth and recovery means improved muscle building.
So let’s sum it all up –
- You need more fruits and vegetables.
* You need to eat something sugary during and after exercise for insulin to be released.
* You can’t realistically eat during or after exercise because blood rushes to muscles during exercise and it’s difficult to digest anything.
* One more thing…a new sports nutrition study consistently suggests that adding some protein to your workout drink will make a huge difference in your progress.
So here’s the answer: You should have a shake made entirely of fruit (which takes care of the sugar) and some protein powder. You have several options for this:
- Visit Jamba Juice or your favorite juice bar and order an all-fruit smoothie with a serving of protein.
2. At home, put fruit and ice cream in a blender and add a portion of protein. Mix well.
3. If you’re really pressed for time and need something prepackaged, you’ll have to sacrifice some nutritional values. Grab a “protein” Naked Juice or Odwalla. Definitely not your best option, but better than nothing.
Drink this gradually during your workout and afterwards. I usually drink it about 20-30 minutes after starting my workout.
Don’t be surprised if you start seeing faster results.
Thanks to Paulina Baytler