How Healthy Eating Can Complement Your Gym Workout
Which is more important for weight loss, exercise or a healthy eating plan? It’s an area of research where the pendulum swings back and forth. It’s the chicken and egg conundrum of the weight loss world. A few years ago, a study found that calories eaten count more than calories burned, and that exercise can stimulate our appetites, leading us to eat more.1
Then research from the University of Colorado found that it was exercise more so than a weight loss diet that helped people successfully maintain their weight. When we take an objective look at the science, the logical conclusion is that BOTH regular physical activity and diet plans for women contribute to weight loss. Regular exercise and healthy eating work in tandem, with a regular workout plan inspiring you to eat energy-boosting workout foods, and a weight loss diet providing the energy and vitality for a full body workout.2
Problem is, the phrase weight loss diet doesn’t exactly get most people’s mouths watering. But it can! With the right foods and recipes, a healthy eating plan can also be a delicious eating plan. The best workout foods can taste good, too.
Here are some tips on the best foods to eat as part of a weight loss diet, as well as how to make them taste delicious.
The best pre- workout foods
They say you are what you eat, and this is most definitely true when it comes to your energy during a full body workout. Eat junk food—or worse yet, nothing—before you hit the circuit, and you’ll be dragging.
Before you sweat it on the Curves circuit, do the following:
Make sure you eat something.
Hitting the gym on an empty stomach is a bad idea. Why? For one, you need calories to fuel you through your full body workout at Curves. Exercising on an empty stomach can also spark your body to burn muscle, which can slow your metabolism over time.3
Eat a combination of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, lean protein, and fluids
During a strength-building, whole body workout, your muscles need quick energy. You get this from carbs such as whole grain breads, cereal, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Your body also needs protein to help your blood cells deliver nutrients and oxygen to your muscles as they work. 3
Good pre-workout foods include:
- A banana with peanut or almond butter
- Avocado on whole grain toast
- Half-cup brown rice with half-cup black beans
- Six ounces Greek yogurt topped with ¼ cup trail mix
- Half-cup oatmeal topped with 1 cup raspberries
- Whole grain crackers with hummus
- Apple with ¼ cup walnuts 4
You also need lots of fluids to keep your body cool and hydrated as you sweat. Try to drink at least 16 ounces of water about two hours before you work out. Water is better than a sports drink, unless you will exercise for more than 60 minutes in hot, humid conditions. 3
What to eat after your full body workout:
It’s just important to eat the right foods after your whole body workout as before. Eating healthful post-workout foods about 30-60 minutes after you’re done will help build and repair your muscles, restock your energy, and help keep your metabolism revving. Wait longer than this to eat—or eat the wrong foods—and you’ll miss the opportunity to refill your muscles stores. Look for foods that serve up lean protein to help deliver amino acids to your tired muscles. You don’t need much—just 20 to 30 grams. Here are some suggestions:
- Whole wheat bread topped with two tablespoons natural peanut butter or two tablespoons hummus
- Omelet with two eggs stuffed with sautéed vegetables and avocado
- Salad topped with ½ cup chickpeas, olive oil and vinegar
- Shake made with half a banana, ice, one scoop protein powder, almond milk, and hemp seeds
- Four ounces grilled salmon with a baked sweet potato 4
Spice things up.
Add some healthful spices to your meals and snacks to make them even tastier. Ginger, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon and other spices not only make healthy alternatives to sugar and fat, they also come with health benefits that can help prevent disease. 6
Look to Curves
Members of Curves Nutrition Program have the added benefit of a customizable weight loss meal plan that goes hand-in-hand with the circuit’s strength training and cardio. The healthy eating plan is easy to follow, flexible, and satisfying. To fuel your body before, after, and during your whole body workout, it’s a great way to go.