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Changing your diet is important when doing a lot of exercise. Whether it is to energise you, to fuel your body, or to sustain your weight loss, eating the right foods alongside your fitness regime is essential.
Express.co.uk spoke to Deanna Hammond-Blackburn, a personal trainer and nutritionist, about which foods to eat before and after exercise.
She explained that making “smart food choices” is “key” when working out.
Deanna said: “Many people will try to either completely overhaul their diet or not change it at all once they start exercising.
“Getting the right nutrition is essential to being healthy and losing weight.”
The personal trainer continued: “The key thing is to make smart food choices instead of following restrictive diets.
“Our bodies need carbohydrates, fats, and protein to function properly so cutting out too much of any of these will be detrimental to your health.”
Even though burning more calories than you consume can lead to weight loss, Deanna said it is not necessarily the best thing to do when doing a lot of exercise.
People who work out need more energy to be able to sustain their fitness routine.
Deanna said: “Creating too much of a calorie deficit can also be unhealthy: your body will go into starvation mode and bodily processes such as the metabolism will slow down, meaning your body won’t be burning calories effectively anyway.
“This means you’ll also be more likely to binge eat.
“Instead, start off your fitness journey by incorporating more frequent meals with smaller portions.
“This will help keep your metabolism working efficiently throughout the day.
“Try to reduce the amounts of processed foods and sugary foods, and eat more complex carbohydrates that will keep you feeling fuller for longer.”
Deanna recommended eating “complex” and “healthier” carbohydrates.
She said: “Fruits, vegetables, whole grains – these will provide slow-release energy that will keep you on your feet throughout the day.
“Try healthier carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and pasta, whole grain breads.
“Healthy proteins, such as chicken, salmon, tuna, eggs, will also provide longer lasting energy.
“High fibre foods such as beans will keep you feeling fuller for longer which means you won’t feel the need to snack.”
The personal trainer continued: “For those that need more of a quick boost to their energy, coffee is also a good option.
Surprisingly, caffeine “signals the body to break down fats and coffee contains some essential nutrients for our health too”, Deanna said.
She added: “Stay away from high-sugar syrups though, and go for low-fat milk or non-dairy options to help keep the calories from mounting.”
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