What Your Doctor Hasn’t Told You About Working Out

By Lee Bellinger / December 26, 2013

These 5 Superfoods
Give Your Workout a Boost

Superfoods We recently heard a farmer talk about the importance of food in terms of fitness. “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet,” he said at one point. He was speaking from experience.

Several years ago, he was overweight despite a very active lifestyle. Chest pains sent him to the doctor, where he discovered he was perhaps only weeks away from a heart attack. A quadruple bypass surgery convinced him that he wanted to do things a little differently when it came to how he ate.

The point is that the foods you eat can sabotage your efforts at physical fitness… or they can give you a boost and make it easier to become fit and healthy. What you eat and when you eat it
can supercharge – or sabotage – your workouts.

These 5 Foods
Supercharge Your Fitness

Some foods give your body more fuel and provide the building blocks for lean muscle better than other foods. Try these energy powerhouses to help you see faster results from your fitness routine.

Eggs: We usually talk about eggs in terms of the perfect food. They contain all the nutrients needed to bring one live chicken into this world – a great balance of amino acids, a variety of vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and lots of protein. The nutrients in eggs help your body burn fat and build muscle – and that’s the perfect combo when you’re trying to get fit.

Eggs are a great case in point that taking you health advice from the mainstream media is not a great idea. Many people stopped eating eggs altogether due to overblown news reports about the negative effects of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a natural and essential compound and not nearly the health threat that many reports have made it out to be.

Peanut Butter: We don’t know about you, but we can’t think of a more satisfying snack than a spoonful of peanut butter. Peanut butter helps you stay full, it’s loaded with protein, and it’s another fat-burner/muscle-builder that can help you get more out of a workout. Just be sure to pick a natural peanut butter that’s not loaded up with processed sugars and fats.

Chili Peppers: Try keeping a jar of pepperoncinis in your fridge. Grab two or three of the spicy treats when you’re feeling munchy. You can get a similar effect from the endless variety hot pepper sauces and jellies – far tastier and healthier condiments than high-sugar ketchup.

The heat in chilies helps spike your metabolism, which means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re just sitting around.

Green Tea: Flavorful, zero-calorie green tea gets a lot of praise for its antioxidant properties, but it’s also a good fat burner and metabolism enhancer. People who drink four cups or more of green tea a day have an easier time losing weight.

Ground Chia Seeds: You may not be familiar with chia seeds, but these nutritional powerhouses are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and protein. They also contain a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. The fiber gives you a slow burn effect, meaning your meals keep you feeling full and energized for a longer time. And the protein is what your body needs to build muscle. Try sprinkling a spoonful of ground chia into a bowl of oatmeal or adding it to your favorite smoothie.

When You Eat
Is Just as Important
as What You Eat

What you eat is obviously critical to maintaining good health, but when you eat can be just as important. Use these three tips to time your meals and snacks for better fitness.

Tip #1: Your body releases different hormones throughout the day that affect your appetite. Eating when your appetite is naturally high can help reduce cravings during the rest of the day. But eating at off times can disturb the balance and leave you feeling hungry all the time, which can lead to overeating. Try planning your meals on a consistent schedule to keep your appetite hormones in balance.

Tip #2: Eat before a workout. Before you exercise, you want to give your body fuel to work with. A small snack will usually do the trick. Try pairing some complex carbohydrates with a little bit of protein – a half an apple smeared with peanut butter, a handful of almonds and a plum, a few slices of deli turkey and a handful of grapes, or some carrots and hummus all work well. A snack like this will help give you the energy to perform better during your workout.

Tip #3: Eating is just as important after a workout. If you’ve done a cardio workout, you should wait to eat for about an hour after you’re done. A mix of vegetables and lean protein is ideal for increasing your body’s insulin sensitivity, which promotes weight loss and better health overall. After a strength-training workout, you want to eat within a half hour. Make this snack a combination of starchy carbohydrates and easy-to-digest protein like whey. Doing this will help you to build muscle faster.

BONUS TIP: Many fitness buffs eat five meals a day. Of course, this does not mean adding two additional meals’ worth of calories to your daily diet. It means spreading your calorie intake out in smaller portions over the course of the day. Small meals are burned faster than larger meals, so they fuel your body without contributing to obesity. This can be a significant lifestyle adjustment, but the rewards are great if you’re willing to make the break from America’s typical gut-busting meals.

What you eat and when you eat it has a big impact on your fitness levels. Exercise alone isn’t enough – you need to give your body the right fuel at the rights times if you want to lose weight and build muscle faster. Try these five foods and three eating tips to help you reach your fitness and health goals faster.