Choosing the correct ingredients to get the most rewarding outcomes.
As the days get warmer and the sun starts to shine, it can be daunting to think that summer is already around the corner – especially since its bikini season. With gyms still closed and for many months our outdoor exercise limited, it’s been easy to slip into the trap of skipping workouts and indulging in comfort food to help us through these crazy times.
There is nothing wrong with a little bit of treat yo’ self. Whether it be a cheeky glass of vino or a few squares of chocolate, it’s all okay in moderation, right? When it comes to getting our exercise gear on and earning these indulgences, it’s safe to say we want to know what will be the ultimate combination to help us look, and most importantly, feel our best – again, summer will be here before we know it (with hopefully fewer restrictions, pretty please Dan).
Before the workout even begins there are a few things we tend to think about: what we are going to wear, what type of fitness we will be doing, how long it will go for, and what you will eat beforehand. The pre-workout meal, drink, or fast is a constant topic of debate that really impacts everyone differently. There isn’t quite a one size fits all in this type of situation, but it definitely helps to know which options are available and how they can affect you.
When it comes to picking which nutrients to consume to reap the benefits of our workouts, there can be many possibilities to choose from. Here are the options we know have been on your mind and are ready to debunk for you:
To have pre-workout powder or not? That’s the real question. These are marketed as the ultimate energy boost to get you through those tough sessions – anything from your HIIT to a long-distance run, to some heavy lifting. However, there still can be unhealthy substances used in these powders that go beyond the usual ingredients of caffeine, beta-alanine and creatine. Medibank suggested that if the powder contains Dimethyl amylamine (DMAA), consult your GP before use. The article also reported that “fuelling your body with the right food instead can be a healthy, cost-effective approach to training”. Foods such as fruit smoothies, bananas, oats, yoghurts, and apples are able to give you that charged feeling.
Drinking water is essential for our survival – meaning it is good for you! When working out, constant hydration is necessary to make up for all the fluid lost during your movements. The more you move, the more you should drink. Best of all, it’s the healthiest option. Sport drinks can also appeal to our sense of taste, over plain ol’ water. Better Health states, these thirst-quenchers are sipped since they contain electrolytes and carbohydrates, which “have concentrations that allow the body to refuel during exercise.” Be cautious as these beverages can contain lots of sugar, so perhaps a fruit or vegetable with great proportions of water is the better choice. Anything high in sugar is probably not the best option for that summer bod when you’re working up a sweat – bye bye soft drinks, juice and cordial!
No food at all
This has been given the tick of approval from Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Lopez, so we need to talk about it. Fasted cardio involves pushing it to the limit on an empty stomach as it’s supposed to burn those calories quicker. Does the stomach grumbling approach to getting fit actually work? This one is really a hit or miss. Some studies say that it doesn’t quite make a difference between the two states of hunger, whilst Tiffany Chag, MS, RD, CSCS, a performance coach and registered dietician at Hospital for Special Surgery tells Refinery29 “if you haven’t eaten, your body will have to go find fuel, and it’ll go to fat for fuel.” She then explains that “over time, your body will get used to using fat for energy, and will learn to prioritise fat over other sources of fuel.”
Other than weight loss, there are plenty more advantages to eating in limited time frames. Intermittent fasting can “help lower cholesterol, improve glucose control, reduce liver fat and improve blood pressure”, as well as “increase endurance, better motor coordination and improve sleep” according to Michigan Health.
All these methods should be performed safely. Remember, results may vary depending on the person. If one option doesn’t work for you, there are other selections you can try until you find the perfect fit.