Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Fitness and weight loss:The importance of nutrient timing
The number and content of daily meals is an extremely important but overlooked facet of proper nutrition. The timing and quality of foods you eat, especially pre- and postworkout,
often means the difference between a successful diet and another failed attempt at physique enhancement. Skipping breakfast, avoiding postworkout meals and consuming highglycemic carbohydrates before workouts can easily transform a sound meal plan into a disaster. In addition, even the most sensible diets ignore the crucial nature of nutrient timing.
Elevating the metabolic rate is one of the most efficient ways to burn fat. The process of digestion of meals requires calories by itself, so the more often your body must break down food, the more efficient it becomes.Therefore, you should eat small meals throughout the day to maximize your metabolic response—and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, although the postworkout meal may be equally important.Studies have shown that diets that include a large breakfast result in significantly greater fat loss than diets that avoid it. Since the metabolic rate is fastest in the morning and slows throughout the day,it’s more likely that the calories you eat at breakfast will be used by the body and not stored as fat. Skipping breakfast, on the other hand, may result in vital losses of muscle and a subsequent decrease in metabolism.
The postworkout meal is equally essential for much the same reason.Your body exhibits an elevated metabolic rate after you exercise, much as it does when you awaken. Not eating food after you exercise results in muscle tissue breakdown and, of course, a corresponding tumble of the metabolic rate. Research has proven that the rate of protein synthesis doubles following exercise and remains elevated for more than 24 hours.In other words, the body is primed for the acceptance of protein for muscle maintenance and growth. Equally important is the need for consuming plenty of carbohydrates. After you work out, your body is somewhat depleted of its glycogen stores. Remarkably,studies have shown that high-glycemic carbohydrates are the preferred source for replenishing the body’s energy stores after training.
Not only does that result in greater storage for recovery and subsequent workouts, but it also significantly decreases muscle breakdown.Postworkout meals should contain about twice the normal amount of carbohydrates and protein, and you should eat them immediately following exercise. For example, if you were eating five meals per day and 3,000 calories, your postworkout meal would be approximately 1,000 calories, while the other four meals would average 500. Postworkout meals should also contain a larger percentage of protein than preworkout meals to keep up with the body’s elevated protein synthesis rate.
People make a lot of mistakes with the preworkout meal. How many fitness enthusiasts eat a bagel before exercise? Due to their alleged energy benefits, bagels are a popular preworkout food, but if you look at their glycemic index, it’s a whopping 103. The detrimental effects of eating such high-glycemic carbs before training are monumental. The corresponding insulin response will not only decrease energy stores for exercise, but it will also prevent fat breakdown. Fortunately, lowglycemic foods have much the opposite effect. They improve exercise performance without significantly compromising energy stores after a workout.That, in turn, leads to enhanced recovery and accelerated progress.
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