Losing weight takes hard work, both in the gym and the kitchen! You can spend many hours in the gym or on the road doing high cardiovascular exercise in an attempt to lose weight, but the fight against fat takes a combination of good exercise and a healthy diet. What you put into your body before and after your workout, whether it is a 10km run, an hour gym session or football practice goes a long way towards helping you reach your goal of losing weight.
Pre-workout diet for weight loss
Many people don’t eat anything before they work out from the fear of feeling nauseous during the exercise, however, it is vitally important to take some form of energy into your body before working out as your body needs something to burn and prevents low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and fatigue. Even if you are watching the calories, here are a few good snacks to have before you hit the gym:
1. Banana- Bananas are also known as nature’s “PowerBar,” as they are packed full of goodness and energy. Bananas are full of digestible carbohydrates (which you need to burn to create energy), and potassium, which aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function.
2. Oats- Oats are an excellent source of fiber and slow-release carbohydrates, which will keep your energy levels constant throughout your workout. Oats also contain Vitamin B, which helps to convert carbohydrates into energy and are easily digestible.
3. Wholegrain bread- Wholegrain bread is packed full of good carbohydrates, that gets burned quickly while working out. Toast your bread or eat it as it, and add a teaspoon of honey for an added boost or a few turkey slices or low fat chicken breast for a protein injection. If you want to lose weight, make sure you control your bread intake – i.e. choose bread as your pre-workout snack only once or twice times a week.
Expert tip! Before a workout, you should consume about 30 grams of carbohydrates and 15 to 20 grams of protein.
Post work out diet for weight loss
Thinking of treating yourself to a big hamburger and fries after your workout because you worked up such a sweat? Think twice…the food you eat after a workout plays a large role in rebuilding muscle, burning fat and replacing lost minerals . Here are a few ideas for great post-workout foods:
1. Greek yogurt – Packed with more protein than regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of muscle-building goodness. Mix it with fruit or honey for an extra kick or mixed berries, which help soothe muscle stiffness and add some granola or oats for a more filling meal.
2. Fruit salad – Fresh fruit is loaded with carbohydrates and sugars, as well as a plethora of enzymes that help to break the nutrients in the body after your workout. Go for energy-packed fruit such as bananas, apples, or pears – the fleshier, the better. Avoid canned fruit, as this is very high in sugars and can work against your goal of losing weight.
Expert tip! Eat kiwi fruit to aid with digestion and break down amino acids.
3. Wholegrain sandwich- A hearty wholegrain sandwich filled with protein based toppings such as chicken, turkey or egg is a great post-workout snack. If you want to avoid the bread, use whole wheat wraps instead packed with protein and salads. Avoid the fats though – no butter or margarine and definitely no mayonnaise!
4. Eggs- There are two schools of thought when it comes to eggs – some say they are good for you and others say they contribute towards high cholesterol. The answer to this argument is “everything in moderation”. Eggs are an excellent source of protein without any fat, so make the perfect post-workout snack. Hard-boiled or poached eggs are best, as there is no fat involved in cooking them – avoid fried eggs. If you want something different, make a fluffy omelette with a low-fat, protein-based filling such as cheese, chicken or turkey.
Expert tip! If you want to build muscle, you need to eat least 30 grams of protein and 30 to 35 grams of carbs within 15 minutes of your workout. If you want to lose some weight, try and eat at least 45 minutes after your workout.