What you take in largely effects what you put out.
You can work out four hours a day, but if you aren’t taking proper care of yourself with the things you eat and drink, you’re in trouble.
Not only will your results slow and stop abruptly, but you can also be causing injury to your muscles and tendons.
The quality of the nutrients you get dictates the results you’ll see in your workout, and this is something that is often underestimated by exercise enthusiasts.
Working out is only one part of a major lifestyle change that you need to make in order to see yourself through to the end of your fitness journey.
If you want to get leaner and stronger, half the battle is in what you eat, how you eat it, and when you schedule your meals.
Hydration is the Key
There’s nothing wrong with things like tea and coffee, provided you aren’t loading them up with sugar or flavored creamers.
Two percent milk and artificial sweetener with tea or coffee may actually be good for you.
Many people use green tea and coffee to help boost their metabolism, helping them tap into their natural energy reserves.
Soda and the occasional energy drink are perfectly fine on occasion, but you shouldn’t let them become a part of your regular diet.
They’re empty calories, and the added sugar is more harmful than helpful.
You should really be drinking anywhere between 6 and 10 cups of water a day, depending on your weight and the weather.
If you’re sweating, your body needs to be able to replenish the water you’ve lost. Dehydration can lead to muscle injury, extreme fatigue, and even fainting.
If you can’t stomach so much plain water, consider adding fruit slices or zero calorie flavoring to make it more palatable.
Know How Many Calories You Need
Working out burns calories.
It doesn’t burn as many as cardio, but you’re still losing some calories while you’re pumping iron.
How many calories you should consume depends on your basal metabolic rate, and how much fat you’re looking to cut. This number will have to be frequently adjusted.
Sticking to a specific calorie number as you continue to build muscle can cause a halt in your progress.
Consuming too few calories can cause your body to start eating your muscle, negating your results before you get to see them.
People with higher muscle mass need to eat more calories to maintain their muscle. As you continue to bulk up, you should be increasing your calories to keep your muscles strong and vital.
You want to eat calories from good sources rather than junk food – the kind of calories you eat matters just as much as the quantity.
Consider When You Eat
You may have heard that you should eat a large meal before you work out. While that’s true, you don’t want to work out too close to meal time.
Your body needs to use the energy to digest your food, and you won’t have enough energy to complete a meaningful workout while you’re digesting. Try to eat three to four hours before a large workout.
If you need a small snack before you get started, try something natural with protein.
Something like peanut butter and a banana can help give you the boost you need without drawing the energy of too many of your internal processes.
Post workout snacks should also be light and protein filled.
If you can’t grab a piece of fruit, a handful of roasted nuts can provide you with healthy fats that will strengthen your body and replenish the energy you’ve used while working out.
Eat Foods that Repair Your Body
Muscles require a lot of protein to repair themselves as they grow. You want lean protein, as it’s best for your body to digest and use immediately. Quality protein, like tofu, lean fish, and chicken breast are easily utilized by your body.
Heavy proteins, such as red meat, may put a strain on your system as they take a long time to break down and nourish your muscles.
If you’re a beef eater, opt for lean ground beef. It’s versatile and easy to incorporate into your meals.
Though things like protein shakes are largely helpful, you can’t rely on them as your sole source of protein.
Adding a scoop of powder to a smoothie will help you meet your protein requirements, but you need to enjoy that smoothie beside a wholesome breakfast or lunch full of edible protein and good carbs if you want to see the effects.
Avoid Gimmicky Diets
Everyone’s body is different.
You don’t have the same nutritional requirements as someone who is a different age, size, gender, or weight from you.
Your muscle mass and your fitness goals require specialized attention. There is no out-of-the-box diet plan that’s going to work for you. You need to tailor your diet to the results that you want.
Things like detox diets and shakes that are supposed to boost the effectiveness of workouts are based on complete lies.
There is nothing you can eat or drink that will detoxify your body. Your organs detoxify your body on their own.
These things add an excess of nutrients to your diet that you can’t use, and you’ll simply pass them.
They may also be adding empty calories that your body can’t use for anything.
How you eat should directly correlate to what your goals are. Figure out your BMI, body fat percentage, and current muscle mass.
It’s simple, and any sports medicine doctor can get you those figures in a short amount of time. From there, you should base your diet around your goals.
As you continue to make progress, your diet should be updated to reflect your changes.