Break through a frustrating plateau- here’s how to eat for peak fitness performance
Exercise on a Schedule- So when is the best time to work out? There are pros and cons to exercising at all times of the day. A morning workout after a light breakfast is good because it kick-starts your metabolism, while afternoon exercises helps dissolve some of the stress and calories from the day. But the best time of all to exercise is when you can do it most consistently. Think of your day in terms of managing your priority, it gets scheduled first and everything else gets booked around it.
Pop protein after you workout- When you exercise, your muscles get stressed and start to break down, which is a good thing. But if you don’t give them the raw materials they need to recover, they’ll break down more than you can build up. The fix? Protein! Protein helps your body repair protein structures. If you want to be stronger and faster, end your workouts with a handful of nuts or seeds.
Follow the 30 minute rule- Seize your metabolic window of opportunity! You have only 30 minutes after your workout to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover. If you wait too long to refuel, your body becomes “over trained” and won’t repair itself equally to how much you worked out. Your stress hormones linger, and your muscles continue to break down. Bonus: Eating a post-workout snack within 30 minutes means your body uses the fuel more efficiently and is less likely to store it as fat.
Up the antioxidant ante- Thurns out there is a downside to exercise: When your body is physically stressed and converting food into energy, it produces free radicals, which can damage cells but that doesn’t mean you should spend more time on the couch. Instead, make sure your post-workout meals are packed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, which means eating more fruits and veggies. Broccoli and sweet peppers give a good dose of vitamin C, as well as nuts, seeds and avocado to replenish vitamin E.
Garb a bite beforehand- want to beat your time or score more points for your team? Then don’t go in hungry. Eat a light pre-workout snack that’s easy to digest to improve your performance. It will put some glucose into your bloodstream and give your muscles the fuel they need to function better. Try a banana, which is high in carbohydrates and low in fibre (you don’t want to eat a lot of fibre before a workout, because your digestion takes a back sear when you’re exercising. Other prefect pre-workout snacks include a rice cake with almond butter, half a peanut butter sandwich or a small bowl of oatmeal.
Mix hot and cold- If the cold weather keeps you indoors through the winter, you may want to trade the treadmill for a toque and head outside. A recent study shows that brown fat (yes its actually brown in colour) is activated when your body is exposed to cold temperatures. The colder the temperature, the more brown fat is burned to produce heat. The same study found you might want to warm up with a bowl of chili after your run: Capsinoids, found in chili peppers, also boost brown- fat activity and helps you burn more energy.
Write these tips down, implement them and watch the boost in your workouts!
Dan has been a personal trainer since 2008.