All exercise is not created equal. All diets are not created equal. True statements. A walk in the park won’t help you as much as an interval workout will. Eating chocolate before a workout won’t give you nearly the same energy as will whole wheat toast with peanut butter. To get the most out of your weight loss journey, it’s important that you choose the right workouts and munch on the right foods to maximize your benefit.
So…how to decide?
The key thing to keep in mind is that you cannot and should not choose a workout that you will not like or will have trouble sticking to. If running is boring to you, consider something like CrossFit. If you dislike group workouts, think about varied routines on exercise machines. It’s important that you enjoy the physically tiring activity that you’re engaging in…otherwise you’ll have a hard time putting yourself through the struggle. And if you’re one of those people who has a hard time believing that you can like anything physically intensive, then just shoot for a workout you know you can push yourself through.
Point to drive home? Be wise in your selection. It might take some trial and error to get it right. You might even find that jumping from one workout to another every so often works best for me. Just make sure you’re doing something that works your heart and your muscles…that which does not tire you is not good enough.
Second point: Cardio is more important than resistance training!
We may love our weights, but they will not accelerate your weight loss the same way that cardio workouts do! Aerobic workouts simply burn more calories, and they place more strain on your heart. That just means more effective weight loss and a stronger heart. Keep lifting weights, though. Having muscle is important for a strong body and a good metabolism. And when you’re on a mission to lose weight, resistance training helps ensure that your weight loss doesn’t come from your lean mass.
Ok, so we know about our workouts…but what about our pre and post-workout snacks? Does what we eat matter? Yes!
Certain types of foods and certain nutrients are better energy-boosters and aid more efficiently in workout recovery.
Pre-workout: Eat something that’s a mix of complex and simple carbs and that includes some amount of protein. Stay away from high-sugar foods and snacks. Those will likely give you a mid-workout crash. Complex carbs and proteins give you energy as you go and will hold you up until you’re done. Examples include oatmeal with fruit, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, and coffee. (Yes, java)
Post-workout: Protein is great, especially if your workout involved some sort of resistance training or really worked your muscles out. Grilled chicken, chocolate milk, and low fat cheese are all good options.
Most importantly, don’t ever forget to hydrate before, during, and after your workout. And this means water…sports drinks (i.e. high sugar) are not necessary unless your workout is extremely long…try more than 2 hours.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll find your workout doing more for you. If you’re interested in more advice on good workouts or good foods, talk to your weight loss consultant today!