Eating the right foods is as important as being regular at the gym. If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, consume the right nutrients from foods that give you energy to exercise, repair muscle tissue, and help your body to recover after workout.
Contrary to popular belief, carbs are an important part of this process and quitting them won’t help you lose weight. Compiled from Al Arabiya News and Healthy Eating, here are five things you should include in your diet to get the desired result without compromising on carbs.
Carve out health regimen with carbs
Don’t quit carbs if you want to gain muscle — mind you, these are complex carbs which are rich in fibre. Carbs are important for muscle growth as they replenish glycogen stores (a chemical form of carbs in your muscles that fuels them during exercise) that are drained from your body after a workout. The trick here is to include fast carbs which contain a high glycaemic index in your post work-out meals. These include foods such as cereal and different types of breads. According to research, fast carbs lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar which is critical for restoring glycogen in your body. These are sugars stored for energy in the muscles and liver when eaten within two hours of exercise.
Go for a high-calorie diet
Eating salads all day won’t help you gain muscle. Your body requires energy to function and support muscle growth. A low-calorie diet won’t supply sufficient vitamins to your body and will deteriorate your performance at the gym and slow down metabolism. Therefore, you need to consume enough calories to aid this process and reach your goal. This surely does not mean resorting to junk but choosing the healthier way out and incorporating healthy foods in your diet is the way to go. Strike a balance between high-carb foods and low-carb ones, because eating too much of the former will accumulate body fat in the long run.
Increase protein intake
Proteins are vital because they build muscle and repair muscle tissue. They also help produce hormones and boost immunity. High-protein fish such as Tuna and Salmon contribute to muscle gain and fat loss at the same time as your body uses up the energy to digest protein.
Eat good fats over bad fats
Fats are also crucial for muscle gain because they are concentrated sources of energy. Incorporating healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, olives and nuts in your diet will help boost workouts and provide a healthy diet. It is essential to avoid bad fats such as artery-clogging trans fats, while also including good fats such as omega-3 fatty acids in your diet regularly. Good fats help reenergise the fuel in your body and also help towards a healthy heart. Remember that changing your body composition from fat to muscle takes months of hard work, so don’t get disheartened if you don’t see fast results. Persistence is key to get skinny on fats!
Keep yourself hydrated
A high-carb diet would require you to keep hydrated all day long. Hydration is extremely important for a healthy body. Water is the most abundant nutrient and balances all other body systems. Dehydration can hamper your workout greatly because it reduces endurance, strength and concentration. It also causes fatigue and sluggishness. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day to replace the fluids lost through sweating during exercise.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2015.