Strike harmony between workouts and diet
Upping your fitness routine is an important part of achieving your dream body. But as anyone who has worked out in earnest knows; hitting the gym hard often leads to an increased appetite.
The only time you really need to add to your calorie intake is when you are intensely training for something specific like a competition or a marathon. If you are simply exercising to lose weight, it's important you don't undo all that good work by eating more. Here are some tips for staying on track.
Track your calories
If you're setting aside days of the week for workouts, it can be easy to tell yourself that extra biscuit is OK because you're working it off later. Sadly that will simply negate all your hard work and mean you don't see a change in your weight. Use an app to set a calorie goal based on your current weight and height and your goal weight, then stick to it - even on workout days. You need to be burning more than you eat, or you won't get results. But speak to a dietician at your gym so you don't under-eat.
Pick the right foods
Certain foods are empty calories, with sugary snacks one of the best examples. While you might experience an initial rush of energy, you'll be hungry again soon after and won't be able to get through a workout with a snack. Make sure your diet is a healthy balance of fibre, good fats, fruit and vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates. It would be ideal if you could get all of these into each meal. Foods such as wholegrain bread, lean meats and fish, eggs and avocado all help you stay fuller for longer, meaning you have more energy to go hard at the gym.
Time your meals right
Make sure your work your gym sessions around your meals. If you're an early riser, have a smoothie that comes in at around 150 calories before you hit the gym, then refuel with a sensible breakfast. If you prefer to save your workouts for the evenings, plan your dinner for right after. That way you'll have some food to look forward to and won't be snacking on top of your regular meals.
But remember: if you find yourself feeling shaky during workouts, you're not eating enough. Speak to a dietician and come up with a specific plan that works for you and your weight goals.