Are you religious about your workouts - yet still don’t have the body you want? Exercise will provide disappointing results if you’re kind of like “Well, what I eat is not really a big deal because I’ll burn it off anyway.” Whether you agree with me or not- there are 2 key components to getting into the best shape.
1. I’ve almost always witnessed that the greatest outcomes are based on 80% diet and 20% exercise.
2. When you work out matters.
Eating and Timing: One of the worst times to work out is right after you’ve eaten a main meal (except for breakfast) since that’s a light meal to begin with. You have to time your workouts and here’s why. Let’s say you eat a big lunch at noon and then go for a workout at 1 p.m. Despite the fact you probably won’t have fully digested your food, you will also work up an appetite too early. When you are done around 2 or 3 p.m., you will be ready for another meal. A protein shake may hold you over if you plan to have dinner by 5 p.m., but who eats dinner at that time? Maybe your grandparents in Boca Raton. Since we are more social in other parts of the world, dinner is not until 7, 8 or 9 p.m. and that will create a problem. You don’t want to go into a dinner meal being ravenous. You’ll end up overeating and that negates any benefit from your time at the gym.
You also don’t want to have dinner and then go to the gym after 8 p.m. This is for the same reason of eating way too late at night. If you get home around 9:30-10 p.m. and your workout was worthwhile, once again you will be very hungry. Now if you are disciplined and can have Greek yogurt, some grilled chicken breast or turkey slices then it’s not a problem. Yet most people can’t stop with just a light snack and end up overeating right before bed. It’s one of the sure ways to keep on the weight despite how many calories you may have just burned. The other problem with late workouts is that they can be over-stimulating and not good when trying to unwind and get in a good night’s sleep – which is another key to weight loss.
The best thing is to eat very light before a workout, enough food to give you energy but not something that qualifies as an actual meal. In fact, a lot of athletes and competitive body builders who want to look shredded often skip meals prior to a workout for better results. Some studies have shown that pre-workout fasting helps metabolism and prevents insulin resistance. With that being said, you shouldn’t exercise if you are feeling extremely hungry or low energy.
Getting into the habit of planning workouts around meal times is the way to not eat double meals. For example, having breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and having a second breakfast at 9 a.m. after cycling, or eating lunch at noon- going for a run an hour later and having another lunch around 3 p.m., or lastly (which is the worst) eating dinner at 6 p.m., taking a yoga class at 8 p.m., then coming home at 9:30-10 p.m. and eating once more - which will end up calorically being a second dinner when all is said and done.
And before you obsess too much about how you didn’t work out hard enough or if you totally didn’t work out at all, DON’T! It really comes down to what you put in your mouth. It’s better to have healthy habits like taking the stairs when possible, not looking for the closest parking spot and accepting the 20 yard walk or just simply not sitting on your butt all day, combined with a really well managed diet than extreme exercising and eating all wrong.