I speak to a lot of people each month, and it seems that one of the least know vital information for losing fat and building and maintaining muscle is pre and post workout nutrition.
Most commonly people just don’t have the information necessary to getting those results wanted from training, well I hope to shed a little bit of light on this; at least on this one aspect of muscle building and maintaining the muscle you have.
Doing intense early morning exercise for example, it seems there are quite a few of us who do this, but don’t eat anything before exercising and who train for 45-60 minutes, shower, change and then eat. meaning they have gone without food for between 7-11 hours.
“Well, whats wrong with doing that?”
Don’t get me wrong, if you have no goal in maintaining the lean muscle you have or building muscle, this is certainly no problem. But for those wanting to lose weight or gain muscle it can mean the difference in achieving your goal fast and effectively or struggling for years to keep the muscle you are working so hard for.
The reason?… if you are trying to build muscle, you will be doing resistance training of some sort, you will not have eaten for up to 10-11 hours since your last meal the night before. which means your muscles will have a very limited store of energy for intense training or resistance training.
What has muscle got to do with fat loss?
The more lean muscle you have, the more energy you use(burn more calories) loss fat faster.
It comes down to this, because the body runs like a machine (that is to say it needs fuel to run it), okay everybody knows you have to eat to survive. But what happens when you have used all your muscles energy supplies during a workout and you haven’t eaten for hours before and after your workout?
Well your body is pretty smart and knows it better get some energy from somewhere fast to keep you going, and it does this by breaking down the muscle. That’s right, it breaks down the muscle in order to have a source of energy.
“why doesn’t it break down the extra fat I have?”
Two reasons- the first is sort of “starvation” mode. A defense mechanism, thought to have evolved during hunter / gatherer times. As the body doesn’t know where its next meal is coming from, it becomes super efficient at making the most of the calories it gets from food and drink.
But once those are used it does this by protecting its fat stores, and using lean tissue or muscle to provide it with the calories it needs. This directly leads to a loss of muscle tone, which in-turn lowers your metabolic rate. The body therefore requires fewer calories to keep it going over, and fat loss slows down.
And second reason is that it easier for the body to break down muscle tissue than it is to break down fat, which is why the muscle tissue is normally the first to be broken down for energy
The solution is to aim to eat 6 meals per day and alternate main meals with smaller snack meals.
Combining good fats with every meal is not only good from a nutritional point of view, but it will also help make the protein a more sustained release, so you feel fuller for longer.
Since your body will be receiving food more often, your metabolism has to shift gears from burning calories slowly to burning them at a faster rate. By including protein with every meal, you will protect your muscle tone, and prevent it from being broken down for fuel.
I hope this sheds some light on the subject and hopefully this helps you achieve your goals faster.