If you exercise, you not only want to burn calories but get good results from your investment of effort and sweat. For that reason, your diet is every bit as important as your workout. To exercise effectively, your body needs adequate carbohydrates and protein as well as calories. But what if you are exercising to lose weight?
If you exercise hard to get fit and lose weight, you need to make sure you give your body the fuel it needs for your workout but not so many calories that you end up gaining and not losing weight. Most meal replacement shakes are very low in carbs, and while their high protein content is ideal for AFTER workouts, they don’t always provide enough energy BEFORE a workout.
I have found the best way to remedy this problem is to eat a substantial solid meal of the day 2-3 hours before your planned workout so that a) you have the energy you need to exercise and b) your stomach is empty, so you don’t feel full or uncomfortable.
To do this I normally have a meal replacement shake for my breakfast, a solid but healthy lunch, and then exercise in the evening. Once my workout is done, I’ll either eat another solid meal or have another meal replacement shake depending on how hungry I am and how much time I have. I have found this works whether I am going for a run, hitting the gym, or going to a yoga class; I have lots of energy, am not hungry, but don’t feel bloated or gassy either.
Of course, some people are quite comfortable exercising on an empty stomach, but I am not one of them. It’s said that exercising on an empty stomach and in a fasted state burns more calories and fat, but I just feel more tired and cannot exercise as hard or as long, so it doesn’t work for me. Try it yourself and see how you get on.
Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand, and if you are doing one, you should also be doing the other. They are synergistic and, together, are the best way to lose weight and keep it off.
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