A balanced diet and exercise are key in creating a healthy life style and a balanced weight.
Important things to remember when training and eating is when to eat versus when to work out. You have probably heard that the timing of meals and exercise can play a crucial role in maximizing both your training, and weight loss, depending on what your goals are. There are right times to maximize fat burning and increasing training effectiveness.
Here is the ultimate guide to knowing what time to eat and workout.
Lets do this!
They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for no reason.
DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST… Seriously!!
Try and eat breakfast within the first hour of waking up. Breakfast stimulates your metabolism and gives you the necessary fuel to start your day with energy. Think of breakfast as your platform for the rest of the day. A breakfast full of fuel will set you up to have more energy and feel less hungry through out the day.
Have you ever experienced after skipping breakfast or having a smaller portion that painful, uncomfortable hunger mid-morning? I find that it is so hard to get your hunger under control after that and in turn, you end up eating more.
There are so many ways to start your day fresh and happy with a delicious healthy breakfast that will give your body enough energy to tackle your daily activities.
The beauty of breakfast is it can be SO easy to get a healthy meal in. Fruits, smoothies, oatmeals, omelettes, toast and peanutbutter…the list goes on.
You have NO excuse to skip it!!
Cardio In the Morning
If you’re like me, mornings are not your thing. Working night shifts have made my energy peak at weird times. But the truth is, cardio is actually best done in the morning. It is a great way to rev up your metabolism for the rest of the day. It also is when your energy is the highest and should be the time you start your long runs. (Also because you can get a long run in and still have the rest of your day to get things done!)
Go for a run about an hour after you’ve eaten breakfast to allow your food to properly digest so you can start using it as fuel.
This being said, running in the afternoon or evening is okay too. Just make sure you’ve had a snack before if it is later in the day.
Eat every 3-4 hours
To keep your metabolism ramped up through out the day, it is important to not have big breaks between your meals! This is the best way to keep your energy level steady, your mood up, your blood sugars stable and your appetite under control. Going hours without eating can cause you to become more hungry and I think we all know what “hangry” feels like. If this happens, you are more likely to choose unhealthy food because you can feel desperate with hunger and eat something fast.
Avoid this situation by having healthy snacks in between your meals.
Plan ahead and bring fruit, nuts or a protein bar with you to work or when you got out.
A snack before a workout is also a good idea to give you enough energy to affectively get through your exercise and optimize training. Your effort level severely decreases when you are hungry or fatigued. Have a snack to get your energy back up so you can put more into your workout without feeling hungry half way through.
Here’s a tip when choosing energy/protein bars: Some of them can have too much added sugars and additives, so be careful. My personal favourite are Hammer Energy Bars.
Main Meal of the day:
Your meal should always be balanced. Try and have carbs, protein and a fat source on your plate. There is a fear that eating fat will make you fat. However, every single cell in our body needs fat to function properly. Good fats are an essential part of a healthy diet. Olive oil, omega 3 and 6 sources are perfect sources of fat.
Remember that there is a difference between good and bad carbs. Vegetables are carbs! If you think of nutrtion at the basic level, there is carbs, protein and fat. Vegetables are not protein and they are not fat. Carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, nuts and seeds are just some examples of good carbs.
A source of protein is essential for repairing and building your muscles after a workout.
If you are training with weights or doing high intensity interval training, try and get these workouts done after a big meal so you can maximize your power and energy. Often times as runners we get so fixated on miles, but it is SO important to incorperate strength training into your fitness regime. It decreases risk of injuries, strengthens your muscles and increases your performance as a runner.
Image from Saucony
The beauty of these workouts as you can have a super effective workout in a short amount of time!
After Workout Meal
Your after workout meal should be no more than 1 hour after your workout. It is a big mistake to starve after you finished your workout. Your muscles need to be fed protein to start repairing and rebuilding after an intense workout. Skipping a meal after a workout will increase muscle soreness, decrease recovery time and increase your risk of developing delayed onset muscle soreness (the dreaded: DOMS), so you should eat right away..
If you are working out in the evening after eating dinner, you can have a snack, but make sure it contains protein. An easy way to achieve this is a quick and easy recovery drink. My favourite is Hammer Recoverite.
If you want to honor with a glass of alcohol, do it at the end of the day. It is considered that alcohol affects the hormones that are related to digestion and appetite control. Keep in mind that alcohol
contains empty calories so if you are trying to achieve weight-loss, decrease intake or skip it all together!