If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you have it all wrong!
If you have been following along these last few weeks, I have given you a glimpse of what you should be eating and drinking for optimal health. Lean meats, fish, dairy, whole vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, unpasteurized fruit juice, water, etc. See Grocery List - Fruit , Grocery List - Vegetables, and Grocery List - Meat, Poultry, and Fish for some guidance in what to eat.
What I have not yet discussed is when to eat. I like to call this nutrient timing. Improving your nutrient timing will allow your metabolism to stay high throughout the day and turn your body into a well oiled, fat burning machine.
If someone asked you, "What are the two most important meals of the day?", what would you say? If you said breakfast and after your workout, you are correct! Do you know why?
When you are getting your long night’s sleep, your metabolism is at its most efficient state and you have tons of stored energy and low levels of glucose in your muscles. It is extremely important to eat a healthy meal within 1 hour of waking up in order to keep your metabolism high and build up stores of nutrients for the day. You have to avoid simple carbohydrates and refined sugars, because these foods will have a negative effect on your metabolism. Plus, the excess glucose actually turns into fat! Don’t start your day with a plate of fat. Instead, eat lean proteins (e.g. egg whites or natural peanut butter), complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grain english muffin or a whole grain bagel), whole fruits, and vegetables. Breakfast will affect your metabolism more than any other meal. The effects last the rest of the day. If you are not eating breakfast, you are shooting yourself in the foot. I would say you’re shooting yourself in both feet. If there is anything you take away from this post it is that you should start every day off right with a good, nutrient-rich breakfast!
AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
Cardiovascular and anaerobic exercises both use nutrients very quickly, so exercising, like sleep, will create nutrient deficiencies in your body. For this reason, what you eat after your workout can be very similar to what you would eat for a healthy breakfast. In the meals following your exercise, you should replenish your body with lean proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables. If you consider yourself to have a sweet tooth, post-workout is probably the best time of the day to get your sugar fix. A little sugar improves your insulin and glucose levels. I’m not a huge fan of sweets, but my post-workout protein shake includes hydrolyzed whey protein (quick dissolving for quick supply to the muscles) and sports drink mix (sugar). If you drink a post-workout protein shake, make sure it is immediately after the workout. Also eat a solid meal within two hours of your workout. Avoid fatty foods (even healthy fats) in the 6 hours following your workout.
EAT SIX MEALS PER DAY
You have probably heard this one before. Eating six meals each day is incredibly important for maintaining a high metabolism. You will get nutrients more frequently, avoid over eating, and spend less energy handling waste products. Many studies have shown that a person who eats 6 meals each day gets way more nutrients than a person eating the same exact food in 3 meals. The body can only absorb a certain level of nutrients, so large meals create tons of excess waste that slow the metabolism down. If you’re eating three meals per day, it is time to make the change! Take a few minutes each morning or night to prepare your meals if you have to.
These three rules apply to everyone wanting a healthier body. If you want an individualized eating plan meant for your particular goal (weight loss, muscle mass, etc.), feel free to email me or leave a comment below. I would be more than happy to help!
Let us know! Which one of these tips do you struggle with the most? If you eat 6 meals per day, how do you take time to prepare each meal? Leave a comment below!