If your goal is to lose weight, you might be wondering what combination of diet and exercise will yield the best results. However, the truth is losing weight is about more than avoiding the foods that are bad for you—it’s also about eating the right ones. What you’re eating is of particular concern if you’re hitting the gym more regularly in an effort to beat the bloat.
Read on to discover why it’s important to eat both before and after a workout, as well as the best foods for losing weight.
Importance of Eating Before a Workout
Think eating before a workout is optional? On the contrary, research shows that skipping the pre-workout snack can cause your body to lose muscle instead of gaining it. That’s because a hungry body draws protein from the muscles in order to stay strong. Along with suffering a loss of muscle mass, you may experience a slowing of the metabolism that impacts your ability to lose weight moving forward.
While there’s no single, perfect food to consume pre-workout, it’s generally best to eat something that contains both a protein and a complex carbohydrate. For example, you could have an apple and almond butter or a half cup of oatmeal with a cup of blueberries. These snacks will up your energy level without weighing you down as you train.
Importance of Eating After a Workout
Along with eating before you hit the gym, it’s a good idea to have a snack when you get home. Because a vigorous workout can leave muscles glycogen-depleted, individuals need to eat to repair damage and restore energy. Additionally, consuming protein and carbs within an hour of exercising helps get your metabolism going. In fact, studies show that neglecting to eat within two hours of a workout decreases your body’s capacity for refilling muscles stores by 50 percent.
Here are some of the best foods for maximizing the benefits of your workout while expediting recovery:
- Protein shakes
- Salads with healthy proteins like chicken, tuna, or chickpeas
- Sauteed or steamed veggies
- Peanut butter with multi-grain bread or banana
- Pita and hummus
- Greek yogurt with berries
While you don’t need to eat a full meal after hitting the gym, having a quick snack can help you lose the weight faster.
Best Foods for Burning Fat
Just as foods have different calorie counts, they affect our health and metabolic pathways in different ways. Believe it or not, consuming certain foods actually increases an individual’s ability to lose weight.
For example, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that eating eggs can make it easier to lose weight. According to the eight-week study, subjects who consumed eggs for breakfast saw a 61% greater reduction in body mass index (BMI) and a 34% greater waist size reduction compared to subjects who ate bagels for breakfast. The results suggest that including eggs in a weight-loss program could be beneficial.
Similarly, research shows that consuming leafy greens like spinach can help individuals burn more fat, and eating salmon can control inflammation, which plays a significant role in weight gain.
By paying more attention to the food on your table, you can cut calories, boost muscle mass, and improve your overall health.