Saturday, March 29, 2014

Habit 4: For Fat Loss, Eat a Majority of Other Carbohydrates After Exercise

Pastas, such as orecchiette with ricotta and drizzled in a chard pan sauce (pictured below), are mouth watering and delicious entrees. Almost as delectable are the warm, delicious breads that accompany these dishes, and that we partake of at many restaurants, or at home when we dine in.
Courtesy Better Homes and Gardens

Such gastronomic adventures come with a price--an expanded waistline and flabby arms that serve as a not so subtle reminder that perhaps we should have made different food selections and/or pushed away from the table a lot sooner, on more than one occasion.

Still, many of us shudder to imagine--and refuse to live in a world--without our favorite foods, even if they aren't so good for us. After all, what's the point of being in great shape if we are going to be miserable and subsisting on cardboardesque rice cakes and the like?

Life is about balance, and the same is true of nutrition strategies. Instead of eliminating our favorite foods, we can use Habit 4 to stay on track and stay sane as we strive to accomplish our fitness and weight loss goals. For weight loss, eat a majority of other carbohydrates after exercise.

"After your training session(workout), it is critical to eat carbs because it starts the whole recovery/muscle growth process,"says Equinox Tier 3+ Personal Trainer CJ Blackman. "Following a hard workout, your body is severely depleted of glycogen and glucose but this is mainly dependent on the intensity of the training session and whether it was mainly aerobic(such as jogging) or anaerobic(such as lifting weights). Your levels of glucose/glycogen will be depleted none the less."

The benefit of this strategy, according to Blackman, "...is that it allows you to eat a relatively large amount of carbs without contributing to weight gain since your body needs to turn all these carbs into fuel for your future training sessions." See, you can have your proverbial cake and eat it too.

However, Blackman does urge caution regarding post workout food selections. He highlights common foods that are to be avoided, such as Gatorade, Muscle-milk, NO-XPLODE, C4. Blackman explains his opposition to these, "I would caution against these drinks because they contain very large amounts of sugar, preservatives, and excitotoxins."

Instead, Blackman recommends healthier options such as fruit, with a source of protein such yogurt or whey protein. Fruits and nuts can also be a great combination if you are a vegetarian or vegan.

The bottom line is that when you are looking to lose fat/weight, save these other carbs for after the workout. You will have earned it, and it will taste that much better.

This is part four of a five part series on The 5 Habits of Good Nutrition. Stay tuned for the rest of the series. 

Special thanks to Carlton Blackman, a Tier 3+ personal trainer at Equinox for taking time out of your busy schedule to provide us with tremendous insight and invaluable strategies to lose fat without sacrificing all of our favorite foods.

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