Whenever I first start working with a client, I tell them that they'll get to a point where they enjoy exercising. They all give me the same perplexed look, as if they're saying, "Look, Isabel, I'll exercise because I know it's good for me and I want to lose weight, but I don't think I'm ever going to enjoy it."
Exercise can be one of the most discouraging things about getting fit and healthy. Whether you're bummed about how little you can lift or how long you can run, it's easy to get dispirited. To many people, the gym resembles a medieval torture chamber.
When clients of mine are beginning a workout plan, they all inevitably face the same concerns:
- Muscle weakness
Everyone takes these symptoms as evidence that they just can't do it when the truth of the matter is, they can, they just aren't well prepared for a workout.
When most people think of the relationship between food and exercise, they imagine enemies. I need to go to the gym to work off that four course dinner I had the other night. Of course, that's partly true. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. But people often forget that food can be their ally in achieving their workout and weight loss goals. Providing your body with the proper fuel pre-, mid- and post-workout can work wonders on your body and turn you into a gym rat in no time, so keep the following tips in mind:
- Stay hydrated: This applies before, during and after a workout. Staying hydrated is absolutely essential to any successful workout. Dehydration will stop you in your tracks. Plus, water works as your body's internal air conditioning unit, preventing you from overheating. When you work out, not only are you losing water (through sweat), but your body temperature increases. Without hydration, you can get dangerously overheated.
- Try to eat something pre-workout: This can be especially difficult for morning exercisers, who don't have the time or the interest to wake up 2 hours before they hit the gym to make breakfast. A quick snack 30 minutes before a workout - a banana, oatmeal, or a handful of fruit - can help raise your blood sugar. Your best chance to lose weight is to hit the gym energized.
- But make sure not to eat too much: Heading into a workout stuffed from your meal definitely won't help you maximize your workout or lose weight. Keep in mind that the heavier the meal, the more time you'll need to digest or you'll risk cramps and upset stomach. Fiber makes you feel full, and protein and fat take a while to digest.
- Carbs are good!: Pre- and post-workouts are times when you don't have to worry too much about carbs. You still want to make smart choices, of course, but carbohydrates provide your body with its main source of energy. Too many people skimp on carbs because they think they interfere with their goal to lose weight.
- Eat smart post-workout: After a workout, your metabolism is going strong and you have a few hours to grab a meal rich in protein and healthy carbs to help you lose weight. Both protein and carbohydrates aid in muscle recovery and repair. Go for lean meat and rice or veggies. If youre in a rush, a protein shake is a great alternative (ideally mixed with water).