Reduce the chance for poor eating choices by planning each morning what you're going to eat and when. It doesn't mean you need to keep a food journal, but at least have a rough game plan for when you're going to eat based on your work or personal schedule. Most of us have priorities to attend to outside of exercising and we are continuously on-the-go. If you know you are going to be out and about for several hours then bring snacks with you so that you can be sure to fuel your body every 2 to 3 hours. A simple handful of almonds in a Ziploc bag and an apple will suffice. Splurging happens when we fail to plan and our cravings get the best of us.
2. REFUEL POST-WORKOUT.
It is a scientific fact that the human body depletes muscle at a quicker pace then it repairs it. Include protein in your post-workout consumption within 30 minutes of exercise. When we exercise, we tear our muscles. So, if we fail to refuel afterward, we do our muscles a disservice. And, don't forget the carbs! Glycogen is the chemical form of carbohydrates that is stored in your muscles for fuel. The body's natural reaction during a workout is to increase cortisol levels in order to release glycogen to be used as fuel. This is great during a workout because obviously we need energy. But, we want it to stop ASAP post-workout because it inhibits the uptake of amino acids and glycogen left over will be stored as fat. Once you feed your body carbs, it will signal it to stop depleting the glycogen stores from your muscles.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY.
At the end of the day, not one size fits all. Some will say they workout best when they eat 30 minutes prior while others will say they get nauseous if they don't eat at least an hour beforehand. Follow the general rules of eating every 2 to 3 hours, fueling up pre- and post-workout, balancing protein and carbs, and avoiding junk food. If you're having cravings at night, maybe you need more protein throughout the day or carbs early in the day. Optimize until you find the perfect fit and then hone in on your self-discipline to stick with it!
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