Weight Loss, Diets and Nutrition

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Pre Workout Nutrition

Energy Balance

There are more diets out there to lose weight then there are pounds to be lost. The nutrition weight loss field has been saturated with fad diets. Every year it’s a new revolutionary diet program that promises to solve all of the average Joe’s weight problems.

The truth to weight loss is simple, “Energy Balance”. It is a fact that energy can not be created nor destroyed, only transferred. The energy that we eat is represented as calories. If the amount of calories we eat in a day equals the amount of calories we use in a day, then there can be no weight change.

If you eat more calories then you use then you will gain weight. It does not matter what kind of calories are in excess, weather it is protein, fat, or carbohydrates, your body will store it as adipose tissue (fat cells) if it is not used. On the opposite end of that spectrum, if you use more calories then you eat you will lose weight.

If weight loss is your goal, then you should not allow the negative caloric balance to exceed 500 calories. Anything beyond that will cause your metabolism to slow down. That is known as starvation mode when your body adapts to a low calorie diet. You should also try to create a negative caloric balance through exercise and diet, not diet alone.

That is the main concept behind “Energy Balance”. Calories in and calories out. All the weight loss diets and pills out there are designed to put your body into a negative energy balance, because that is the only way you can lose weight without a surgeon’s knife.

Should You Eat Before the A.M. Workout?

A frequent debate that is often brought up by dedicated morning workout enthusiasts is the issue of eating before your morning workout. You hear everything from burning a higher amount of fat if you don’t eat too higher levels of energy if you do eat. So which is best, to eat or not to eat?

The simple answer is that it all depends on your goals. Are you working out for performance, cosmetics, or health? First lets go over the theory of working out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. The goal is to deplete your glycogen stores (stored muscle energy) through the night so that by morning the only thing your body has left to rely on for energy is stored fat. This sounds great in theory, but the reality is that most people’s glycogen stores are not fully depleted by morning, and the types of workouts they do are pretty inefficient for fat burning.

Now if you are training for performance, then most likely your workouts are based on endurance or high intensity. These types of workouts are demanding on the bodies energy system, therefore it is ideal to make sure your glycogen stores are filled as much as possible.

The most common obstacle is what and how much to eat before your morning workout. Most of us do not wake up 3 hours before your morning workout, so our pre-workout meal is limited in size. On top of that, most people are not even that hungry in the morning. The solution is a nice glass of juice or a couple pieces of fruit. They will help hydrate you while replenishing your glycogen stores. It’s that simple.

So now when people ask you “ to eat or not to eat “ you know how to answer. You should if you are looking for performance and it’s not a huge factor if you’re just an average workout Joe.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Whenever somebody starts a workout program, the top nutrient they think of is protein. Protein is the main component used in building and repairing muscle, but amateur athletes tend to overdo it.

The main cause of this problem is the source of the information they are getting their nutrition education from. Bodybuilding magazines are focused on building maximum muscle and selling supplements. Protein supplements are one of the top purchases for any athlete, not just bodybuilders, but any athlete.

Most studies in the nutrition field are done in the metric system. It is universal in the scientific world. The published studies on protein intake are in Kg of body weight not in pounds. That is huge when it comes to how much protein you should be consuming.

The general rule for protein intake varies from goal to goal. If you are just looking to maintain muscle mass and you are an athlete outside of bodybuilding, then 1 gram of protein per Kg of body weight is sufficient. If you are trying to build muscle mass, then 1.6 grams of protein per Kg of body weight is needed. The human body cannot synthesize more then that amount.

To figure out your weight in Kg just divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. You will see that the number of grams required is far less then you thought. Which most likely means that those supplement company’s who fill the pages of those bodybuilding magazines will soon see a drop in protein supplement sales.

Low Carb Diet Dehydrates

All the hype the last couple of years has been the low carbohydrate diet. People are drawn to follow this diet because of its fast results and simplicity. The reality though is there are many negative effects to the body on this diet and it is unrealistic to stick with this type of eating long term.

One major issue with the low carbohydrate diet is the dehydrating effect on the body. We get a lot of our water intake through food. The best food for hydration is carbohydrates. A carbon molecule holds up to 4 times its weight in water. Cut out the carbon and you cut out a lot of water. Considering that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, it is unlikely that you will drink enough water to replace the lost water through carbohydrates.

Now the best way to lose body fat is to raise your metabolism. The largest factor contributing to a high metabolism is your muscle mass. More muscle means higher metabolism and eighty percent of muscle is water. So if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, then your muscles will not be fully hydrated and therefore cause your metabolism to drop.

The fast weight loss in the low carbohydrate diet is almost all water. This type of water loss will cause your body to be in a dehydrated state, which leaves you with little energy and a slower metabolism. Water is needed for almost every function in the body. There is nothing but negative side effects to a dehydrated body. The fast number drop on the scale is water loss, not body fat.

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