Top 5 Post-Workout Recovery Foods

 

One important part of a successful exercise regimen is post-workout nutrition. What you eat after a grueling and sweaty exercise session is responsible for restoring the body’s energy and nutrients. During exercise, the body breaks down muscle protein structures and glycogen. You also lose a lot of water through sweat. Therefore, the key to any great post workout meal-plan revolves around replenishing glycogen levels, rehydrating the body and providing essential nutrients that aid tissue repair. You should avoid snacks and foods that are high in fat content and empty calories since they only negate all the hard work of your exercise efforts. Instead, opt for a nutritious post-workout meal plan that helps the body to recover. To help you get started, here are some suggestions for top 5 post-workout recovery foods and beverages.

1. Fruit Smoothie with Protein Base
A fruit smoothie will not only hydrate the body after a workout, it also allows you to pack plenty of nutrients in a single beverage. Another advantage about liquid meals is that they are quick to digest and absorb. A smoothie recipe that combines carbohydrates and protein provides the primary food sources required after a workout. Try blending frozen fruit with Greek yogurt, whey protein shake, or soymilk. You can also add a natural sweetener for a better flavor.

2. Dried Fruits and Nuts
If you don’t have the time to whoop up a full meal after your workouts, dried fruits and nuts are a convenient snacking option with plenty of beneficial nutrients. Dried fruits will provide a healthy dose of simple carbohydrates plus you will get a quick injection of protein from the nuts.

3. Grilled Chicken Mixed with Veggies
When your body is in recovery mode, you will need a good supply of proteins and carbohydrates. A dish containing grilled chicken and vegetables makes a healthy full meal to help your body recover. Grilled chicken will nourish the body with low-fat lean protein to repair muscle tissue while the vegetables shall ensure you get complex carbohydrates to replenish your muscle glycogen.

4. Tofu Veggie Scramble
If you are a vegan, it is still possible to get a health protein and carbohydrate meal for post workout recovery. Tofu scrambled with spinach, green onions, sweet corn, roasted potatoes and red peppers makes a colorful and nutrient rich dish that you can whoop up for your main meal after hitting the gym, track or treadmill. You can add a dash of garlic for some flavor to your tofu veggie scramble.

5. Chocolate Milk
This fantastic recovery drink contains everything you need after a workout. It has carbs and proteins for muscle recovery, water to replace fluids lost through sweat along with electrolytes like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Chocolate milk is very easy to prepare since there are whey protein powders that come fortified with this flavor. All you need to do is take a scoop of your favorite whey chocolate powder, add to milk and mix thoroughly with a shaker bottle. You can even take this convenient drink with you to the gym and rehydrate immediately after a workout.

When Should You Eat After a Workout?

Foods and drinks have different time frames for consumption after a workout. For example, fluids can be taken during and even immediately after a workout in order to keep hydration levels up throughout the exercise session. Nutrition experts recommend snacking 30 minutes after a workout. Snacks can have 0.5 to 0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. A full mean is best taken within two hours of your workout to ensure a fast recovery.

 

Advertisements

Top 5 Foods to Eat Before a Workout

Before exercising, it is important to fuel your body for the work that it is about to do. Eating too little or not at all before a workout will likely lead to quick fatigue and weakness due to low blood glucose. On the other hand, consuming too much food before exercise may cause stomach discomfort, nausea or cramping. The foods you choose to consume is just as important as eating pre-workout. The timing of meals as well can affect energy levels during exercise.

Pre-Workout Nutrition Facts

A good pre-workout meal plan should incorporate protein rich foods with carbohydrates. Of course, carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy. These macro-nutrients can be further broken down into two groups – complex carbs and simple sugars. The type of carbs to eat before an exercise session largely depends on the timing of a meal. Generally, food sources with simple sugars digest quickly and provide the body with fast acting glucose. For this reason, they make good snacks, which you can eat 30 minutes to an hour before exercise. On the other hand, complex or low GI carbohydrates are best eaten at least 3 hours before workouts since they take longer to digest. On the plus side, such carbohydrates will give the body a slow release of energy, allowing you to exercise for longer without experiencing total fatigue in the middle of your workout.

Proteins consumed pre-workout help to prevent muscle catabolism during the exercise session. Although high in calories, fats should be avoided before workouts since they metabolize slowly. In fact, they can leave you feeling sluggish and heavy.

Top 5 Pre-Workout Foods

Now that you know what nutrients are most beneficial to the body before exercise, the next step that follows is coming up with a meal plan. Here are a few suggestions for top 5 foods to eat before a workout. Take note also of the recommended meal timing for the various foods.

1. Chicken, Brown Rice and Leafy Greens
This dish will fully nourish your body if taken 3-hours before you hit the gym, running track or aerobics class. A meal like this will provide you with low-fat protein from the lean chicken to promote muscle anabolism as well as a slow release of energy from leafy greens and the brown rice.

2. Wholegrain Bread
Adding wholegrain bread to your pre-workout diet is highly recommended if you engage in endurance training activities like running, cycling or swimming. When consumed 2-3 hours pre-workout, wholegrain bread will help your body to increase glycogen reserves and provide a slow release of energy to fuel you throughout the exercise session.

3. Eggs
Eggs are great pre-workout foods for bodybuilders. Whether you like them fried, scrambled or boiled, they are rich in protein. As a result, eggs supply the body with branched chain amino acids, which prevent muscle breakdown in case glycogen reserves run out as you exercise. What’s more, you can control the fat and cholesterol content by removing the egg yolk. Eggs should be consumed 2-3 hours before your workouts to ensure ample digestion time.

4. Greek Yogurt and Dried Fruit
Dried fruits and yogurt can be consumed 1-1.5 hours before exercise to provide the body with a quick source of simple sugars and protein. For the best results, opt for low-fat, Greek yogurt, which tends to have the highest protein content.

5. Apples
Sometimes it can be hard to find time for whooping up a meal or even wholesome snack before heading out to the gym or running trail. In such cases, a quick dose of carbohydrates is your best bet to invigorate the body before the workout. Apples are healthy energizing foods that will boost your glucose levels when consumed even 30-40 minutes before a workout.

Lastly, remember to drink enough water before your workouts to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and loss of coordination, which may increase risk of injuries during exercise. Try drinking 16-24 ounces of water an hour before workouts and at least 7-10-ounces every 20-30 minutes of exercise.

 

 

 

Is Aerobic Training the Only Way to Burn Fat?

2 Weeks to Health

“I have read in popular magazines that aerobic training is the only way to burn fat. Is this true? If not are there other ways to burn fat, if so what are some?”

Perhaps I do not read these popular fitness magazines that solely claim aerobic training is the only way to burn fat because when I tried to find examples of a magazine claiming this, I fell short which was a pleasant surprise. However, I have seen this misconception first hand while working with friends and family. We live in a faced paced culture where every problem ideally has a single and simple solution. For example, if you are hungry you can grab a quick meal at one of the dozens of restaurants that are in your town, or if you need to talk to someone you send them a text 10 seconds later. Instant gratification and simple single…

View original post 511 more words

Why Strength Training is Important as You Age

 

As you get older, it’s more important than ever to take care of your health and stay active for as long as possible. The great news is that you can maintain and even improve your physical condition with strength training. There are many reasons as to why strength training is so important to keep up with as you get older.

 

Daily Activities

 

If you keep up with strength training as you age you will be able to keep up with doing things like daily chores, getting the groceries and even something as simple as taking a shower. These are all things that can mean a lot to people who worry about losing their independence.

 

Build Muscle

 

People lose five to seven pounds of muscle every decade after they turn twenty. It is important to develop a proper strength training routine so you can avoid muscle loss and build it instead. And this is possible, even if you are quite a few years past twenty and are only just getting started!

 

Get Rid of High Blood Pressure

 

If you develop and keep up with a proper strength training routine you have a good chance of reducing your blood pressure, as strength training makes the heart stronger and forces it to pump blood more efficiently. Blood pressure has a knock-on effect on many other areas of health, too.

 

More Calories Bunt

 

Strength training will help you to be able to effectively burn more calories. This means that you will have much more success with shedding unwanted weight in the long term.

 

Some Tips for Starting a Strength Training Program:

 

  • Always, always get advice from your doctor before you start.

 

  • You should start with training two days a week with a day of rest in between. Then you should add a third day to challenge yourself.

 

  • You need to pay close attention to proper form when doing exercises. This way you will help to prevent injury by doing an exercise incorrectly.

 

  • Always keep in mind that when you are strength training it should never cause you pain. If you experience any pain stop right away.

 

No matter what age you happen to be, it’s never too late to incorporate strength training into your fitness routine – you just need to be willing to adapt it according to your specific circumstances, and get the OK from your doctor. By helping to make sure that your body stays strong you will be helping to maintain your independence for many years to come.

How Does Exercise Boost Your Self-Confidence?

 

Many people start fitness training for all kinds of reasons that range from losing weight, to building muscle, to avoiding health hazards of a sedentary lifestyle. One of the overlooked rewards of regular physical activity is its ability to boost self-confidence.

If you feel like lack of self-esteem is holding you back from pursuing your dreams or accomplishing more, you can get out of this rut by being more physically active. And, the best part is that regular exercise can help you become more successful even if your goals are not fitness related.

So, how does exercise boost your self-confidence? Well, being more physically active can improve self-esteem in a variety of ways. In this post, you can learn about the top four confidence boosting effects of regular exercise.

Exercise Improves Your Appearance

When we are not happy about our looks, we develop an inferiority complex about our image. Whether you are unhappy about being overweight or scrawny, having body image issues often sparks off negative emotions. You may begin to have negative self-talk about what you don’t like with your physical appearance. As a result, negativity permeates your thoughts, leading to shyness, fear and a general sense of low self-esteem.

Exercise helps to improve body physique by getting rid of excess unwanted fat and improving muscle definition. Achieving these kinds of results can make you feel more attractive and better about the way you look, ultimately bolstering your self-confidence.

Strength Increases with Regular Exercise

Every day you hit the gym, go for a run or participate in your preferred type of exercise, the body grows stronger. When you feel physically strong, the same will also reflect in your mental state. This manifests mostly when you start to reap the rewards of regular exercise. In a sense, working out lets you discover what you are capable off when you put effort. And, once you build your strength to be able to lift heavier weights, run longer miles or achieve harder exercises, you start to get a feeling that you can do anything!

Working Out Reduces Stress

Stress can be mentally and physically draining. If you are in that state on mind, it is hard to remain calm and focused on what you need to do to accomplish goals and solve problems.

The good news is that you can beat stress through exercise. Studies have shown that physical activity helps regulate stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while at the same time releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain like endorphins and dopamine. All of these effects leave you feeling confident knowing that are not overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. Instead, you feel in charge of situations, your feelings, and actions.

Regular Exercise Improves Cognitive Function

Scientific evidence has shown that exercise boost brainpower. By committing to regular fitness training, you are able to concentrate more, think with clarity and become more productive. When you are at your best, you feel confident in your ability to get things done.

Conclusion

If you are in need of a confidence boost, make sure to get enough physical activity by committing to a regular fitness routine. Just remember to set realistic and attainable goals to avoid giving up on your fitness goals and end up not reaping the confidence boosting effects of exercise.

 

How Does Strength Training Help You Lose More Fat?

 

 

Consider the following:

 

  • 1 in 3 people are overweight or obese

 

  • Strength training burns fat faster than cardio, interval training and other forms of exercise

 

Applying those 2 facts, there is a good chance that you may be looking to trim some fat from your body. If so, an understanding of how different types of exercise lead to health and wellness is required.

 

  • Cardiovascular exercises are those which you can perform for a prolonged period of time. They elevate your heart rate, and keep it up. Dance aerobics, jogging, and running on a treadmill are all forms of aerobic exercise.

 

  • Interval training requires altering your rate of speed and intensity. You sprint or do push-ups at your highest intensity for 30 seconds, then follow that up with 90 seconds of jogging or resting. You follow that process for 15 to 30 minutes.

 

  • Strength training requires pushing or lifting weights through space. This could be as simple as curling a set of dumbbells, or performing body weight exercises. Strength training often involves cyclical forms of exercises, performed in sets of a certain number of repetitions.

 

The way strength training outperforms other traditional exercises in the fat burning department has to do with Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Very little of this occurs after cardio exercise. You do burn calories and fat while you are enjoying a cardio workout, but this stops shortly after your exercise is over.

 

Interval training is much better than cardio exercises at burning calories and fat after your workout is over. Your metabolism functions at a higher rate for hours and hours after your interval training session. Unlike many cardio sessions, which can go for 45 minutes or over an hour, interval training sessions are recommended for 30 minutes or less.

 

Weight training, especially those movements that work multiple muscle groups, are even better than interval training for long-term fat loss and calorie burning. Health professionals now understand that after a weight training session, you can expect to burn calories for anywhere from 24 to 38 hours after you have finished your workout!

 

The long-term weight loss benefits come from a metabolism boost, and the fact that you are building muscle. Muscle burns a lot of fat, even when you are just sitting around. As your muscles are repairing over the next day or day and a half after you strength train, they require fuel to repair themselves. This comes from your fat cells, and the process burns calories as well. Choose weight training over other forms of exercise for maximum fat burning potential.

 

4 Muscle Building Tips for Men Above 40

 

Many men who are above 40 often find that they’ve let themselves go. Even those who were active and had athletic bodies in their twenties may notice that their fit bodies have now gone to seed.
This is usually because family and career commitments took priority while exercise and fitness was relegated to become something that they’d do if they had the time. Usually the time never came and the muscles just got weaker and smaller due to atrophy.
In fact, after the age of 30, most men experience some muscle loss every year. If you don’t use it, you lose it. To make matters worse, testosterone production decreases and your metabolism drops too. Now you’re dealing with faster weight gain, lower stamina and weaker muscles.
It may seem like it’s impossible to build strength and muscle after all these years of neglect. Yet, the human body is marvelous and dynamic and if it’s challenged, it will respond. You just need to know how to go about doing it.
At the age of 40 and beyond, you’ll most probably not be able to train in the same way that you used to… or the way that younger guys do. Your body will take a longer time to heal and the chances of getting injuries are also higher. With age comes a decrease in mobility, flexibility and limberness.
You’ll need to take these into consideration when you begin your training. In this article, we’ll look at 5 ways to build muscle once you’re in your forties. Adopt them and you’ll be safe and still progress well. It’s never too late to start.

1. 80% intensity
This is a good rule to follow. If your maximum is 10 reps, always do 8. The goal here is to increase volume and not intensity. If you do 3 sets of 10 reps, you may wish to go up to 4 or 5 sets.
Unlike the younger guys who can lift hard to failure and be fine after 2 days, you might either strain your joints or suffer from delayed onset muscle soreness for 4 to 5 days which might mean you not working out because of pain. This is time wasted and you could have actually been training.
So, aim for volume and over time you will get stronger. Then you may raise the poundage/resistance and still be at around 80 percent of your maximum effort. As long as you’re getting stronger, you’ll probably be gaining lean muscle and boosting your metabolism.

2. If It Hurts, Go Light
If the weight you’re using hurts your joints, use lighter weights. If bench presses hurt your shoulders, you should give push-ups a try. They work the same muscles and are just as effective.
If leg presses hurt, try bodyweight squats. In fact, before even working with weights, it would be a good idea to just stick with bodyweight training for about 2 months. They’re just as effective for building strength and muscle. If you apply point 1 above and go for volume, you’ll see amazing improvements.

3. Stretch after Every Workout
This goes without saying but it’s especially crucial when you’re older. Tight muscles not only cause aches and pains but you can actually strain a muscle or joint if you aren’t flexible enough.
Spend at least 7 minutes doing light cardio before your workout. This will get the blood flowing to your muscles and warm them up. Remember to also do about 15 minutes of light stretches after every workout. This will ensure that you can lift weights through a full range of motion and you’ll gain more muscle over time.

4. Focus on Form
When it comes to muscle building, good form is everything. Always maintain good form when executing the exercises. Do not jerk, kick or do strange flicks and whips with your body just so that you can get the weight up and say you did an extra rep.
If you can’t do an extra rep with good form, then don’t. It just means you aren’t strong enough yet. Give it time and keep training. Over time you’ll get stronger and be able to do that extra rep with good form.
Slow and steady wins the race. As long as your form is good, your progress will not be impeded by injuries due to strain or jerking.