It’s all well and good finding an exercise regime that works for you, but it’s a lot harder eating right. When asked how he obtained his kingly body for the hit movie 300, Gerard Butler said that he worked out for seven to eight hours a day and ate just enough for energy return. Now most of us don’t go to these lengths to get fit, but regardless of how much you work out, your diet can either help or hinder your goals.
To effectively make use of the muscle you are both building and breaking down during a workout, you need to consume four key things: protein, carbohydrates, fat, and liquids.
Protein primarily builds and repairs tissue. If you are working out correctly, you are essentially tearing down the muscle you have; protein builds that muscle back up stronger than it was before. Fish, eggs, red meat, chicken, and beans in 3 ounce amounts is enough to properly ensure that muscle repair occurs.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which your muscles use for energy, allowing you to complete a more intense and fulfilling workout. Pasta, rice, fruits and veggies, as well as whole grain breads, are all good sources of carbohydrates.
Contrary to popular belief, eating fat isn’t bad; in fact, it can be good for you. Often, fat is broken down into glucose, much like carbohydrates are. When it isn’t, it’s used to help transport vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.
While this should go without saying, liquids shouldn’t be ignored. If you neglect to drink water before, during, and after your workout, your body can’t sweat, which can have dire consequences. Proper hydration is essential to your workout and everyday life.