Saturday, September 29, 2012

WHAT & WHY You Should Be Eating Before Working Out

The Importance of Eating Before Your Workout
Whether you eat or don't eat before exercise, research shows the body burns the same amount of fat. However, you can actually cause muscle loss if you regularly work out on an empty stomach. Here's why: When you're hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle instead of from your kidneys and liver, where the body normally looks for protein. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Plus, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you're not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session.

Running or cycling
Eat a bowl of All-Bran cereal with skim milk, peaches and apples, and drink a glass of apple juice. Scientists at Loughborough University in England found that runners who ate this low-glycaemic (slow-burning) meal three hours before they ran were able to run eight minutes longer than after eating a meal rich in simple carbohydrates, which digest quickly for fast energy. Limiting simple carbs prior to exercise prompts the body to burn fat as fuel, sparing muscle glycogen (the primary source of energy for muscles). “It also provides a steady release of energy, so you don’t crash before your workout ends,” says Antonio.

Drink a fruit smoothie with whey protein, a rich source of amino acids. A study at the University of Texas Medical Branch found that lifters who drank shakes with carbs and amino acids 30 minutes before exercising synthesised more protein than lifters who drank the same shakes afterwards. In short, “they gained more muscle in less time,” says Stout. Their shakes contained 35g of carbs and six grams of amino acids. To duplicate it, blend one scoop of whey protein (available at any nutrition store) with one teaspoon of flaxseed oil (a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds), half a cup of fat-free yoghurt and one cup of apple juice.

Here are some of my favorite meals and snacks to keep me energized during my workout without weighing me down  

  • Brown rice (½ cup) with black beans (½ cup)
  • Small sweet potato with steamed or lightly salted broccoli in olive oil (1 cup)
  • Banana with almond butter (2 Tbsp)
  • Multi-grain crackers (10) with hummus (3 Tbsp)
  • Oatmeal (½ cup) with berries (1 cup), sweetened with stevia or agave
  • Apple and walnuts (¼ cup)

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