| For many, working out is both a way to feel better, but to also look better. Maybe you want to loose body fat, or maybe you want to building muscle (maybe both!). Exercise is going to keep your metabolism firing, your immune system strong, and give you the shape you want by maintaining or building lean body mass (non-fat mass). It will put a great hit into body fat loss, but unless you are doing H.I.I.T. training 2-3 times a week, and weight training vigorously 4-5 days a week; you can’t have the cake and eat it too. It’s a solid one punch, but not the one-two punch we need for a full knock out.
This is where nutrition comes into play. The body needs a minimum amount of protein (for repair of tissues and other things like hormones/immune system), fat (for hormones and utilizing fat-soluble vitamins), and carbs to sustain focus and energy for exercise. Protein should be the main component of every meal because our bodies are not able to store it like carbohydrates or fat. Aim for a palm size or 1-2 deck of card/ baseball size portion at each sitting.
Here’s some examples for protein if you’re not quite sure.
Fats are more tricky. It is easy to gain a lot of calories from healthy fats. This is why eating “healthy” may not always be the most optimal for your goal because portion sizes are not accounted for with this style of diet. One avocado could be all the fat someone needs for the day! This is a great source of Monounsaturated fat, but way too many calories from one sitting for the majority of people. I good general recommendation is:
1 TBSP (thumb size) of a healthy oil, 1-2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup or ounce of nuts/seeds, 1/4 avocado, or fatty meat like salmon/steak.
Here’s some healthy visuals for fat.
The remaining calories should come from carbohydrates. If you are not working out soon or have not just finished working out, a good rule of thumb is to have some vegetables. If you are about to workout have some complex carbs like oatmeal with your meal 1.5 hours before exercise. If you are between 60-30 minutes, have something more like rice cakes. Don’t take in any solid food under 30 minutes, and preferably blend it for better and faster digestion and absorption. This could be a protein shake with banana blended which tastes awesome by the way. You could also have coconut oil with a protein shake prior to a workout, or just protein powder (all great options). If for some reason you are unable to perform the above, either go as is or sip on a gatorade/powerade drink through your workout. After a workout, should be mainly complex carbs and vegetables.