If you seek to lose weight and improve your health and fitness, should you diet or exercise? The answer: you should try a carefully tailored mix of both.
As the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Matters magazine explains, increasing your physical activity is good for the heart, but unlikely to spur weight loss unless you change your diet, too. What you eat can help you maximise the results of your workouts – here are several reasons why…
Aim for changes that fit in with your lifestyle
You could find “diet” a rather scary word; after all, it can imply wholesale changes to a life that would be left with few traces of your old routine. However, it might be beneficial for you to consider your “diet” not by that word, but instead as an approach that seamlessly integrates into your life.
To start with, you could take up subtly different habits that you enjoy. This can help you to stick to those changes and so create the conditions for results that are sustainable over the long term.
Consider what activities and options most excite you
To help yourself continue adhering to a new regime, you shouldn’t consider it simply a means to an end; instead, it should be deemed a new way of life.
Therefore, look for fitness-friendly activities that you would enjoy even if the health benefits were removed from the equation. You might want to start walking, instead of driving, to work – or pursue structured exercise sessions, like those focused on swimming or a particular sport.
In mornings, should you first eat breakfast or exercise?
If you are aiming to get healthier or simply offload weight, perhaps you should exercise before tucking into your morning Shreddies. According to a University of Bath study detailed by The Guardian, fasting helps internal fat stores to break down as a means of sustaining exercise.
However, you should still eat before exercise if you have type 1 diabetes. Failing to heed this advice could risk you picking up the condition of hypoglycaemia.
Routinely eat protein shortly after each exercise session
You might recall personal trainers once advocating the consumption of protein-rich foods during a 30-minute “window of anabolic opportunity” that would supposedly open after an exercise session. Taking advantage of the window in this way would reportedly help the body to develop lean mass.
These days, this advice is largely deemed out of date and discredited by research. Yes, your muscles can make better use of protein if it is consumed post-exercise – but the window is closer to 48 hours.
What exactly should you eat following exercise?
You should consume both carbs and protein, advises leading nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert in an Independent article. “This combination will help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores in addition to stimulating the growth of new muscle,” she says.
You can learn even more about good nutrition at a Prestige Boot Camp retreat, which can help you strike an especially good balance between diet and exercise.