Let me paint you a picture…
You’ve started a new exercise regime. Everything is going well. You’re lifting weights for the first time – actually enjoying it, definitely loving feeling stronger… and tighter.
Each session gets just that little bit easier. The habit builds. You fuel your body with a nice big protein shake after each session.
You’re eating a little more carbs as your body needs them to recover from the additional work it’s doing for you. Only good stuff though, brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, a bit of grainy breads here and there. Some extra fruit.
It’s been a couple of weeks and you jump on the scales excited to see the encouragement for your hard work…
AND the number on the scales has gone Up.
Now, before you freak out and conclude that lifting weights makes you fat. Or chunky. Or anything other than fit, lean and strong here are some important considerations:
1. The most valuable feedback is not that infuriating little number in the scales.
It is the mirror. And how your clothes are fitting. If you’re looking and feeling lighter and tighter. If other people are noticing and complimenting. If everything except that little number on the scales indicates you’re on the right track, then you’re on the right track!
=> It is true that you can gain muscle at a rate to equal the fat you’re losing and subsequently your weight can initially remain the same or even go up before your fat loss starts to surpass your muscle gain.
2. Not all fitness peeps will agree with me here – however – I’m 100% of the viewpoint that if weight loss is your primary goal, you do not need to feed your body extra starchy carbs to account for the extra training.
A lot of the post exercise refuel comes under the category of “I deserve” ….you know, “I just worked my butt off and I deserve a nice big pasta for my efforts.” Or, the equally result destroying “I need… to get me through.” You may be familiar with this one too, “It’s been a long day and I need a little sugar hit to get me through this work-out”
=> If you regularly find yourself needing or deserving extra fuel before or after your session then how about a black coffee before? Or timing your training so that you’re due for a scheduled meal or snack after. The best time for your body to utilize carbs as fuel is in fact in the hour following an intense work out – however my caveat here is that these carbs are not extras – they are what you would normally consume as part of your weight loss nutrition.
3. If your hunger is genuine and not “I deserve” or “I need” based then fibrous veg are the best fuel choices to bump up. As always focus your meals around a heap of varied fibrous veg, some quality protein and good fat (like 1/4 of an avocado, 30-50gm nuts or seeds).
=> Your body craves what you feed it. This is tough when you’re used to cereal, sandwiches and the odd hot chips fix…. as I was for many years – however – it only gets easy when you start to replace your processed or starchy carbs with fibrous veg, quality protein and good fat.
Perhaps, like me you’ll freak yourself out (in a good way!) when you start to crave protein… even more scary green veg!
Finally the most important factor is that if you are taking the right actions then you will get the right results.
Patience and consistency are required.
Perhaps more than what has been necessary in the areas of your life in which you’re currently successful. You might have to wait a little longer than you would like, however the question to ask yourself is: How much is it worth to you?
Honesty is also required. Too often I meet people who expect to see results for their exercise without putting the effort into their nutrition.
You don’t need perfect, however you do need to be getting close to your ideal fat burning day regularly.
Let’s take a look at yesterday. First imagine I’m your personal trainer and we’ve just completed a fantastic weights session in which you’ve given your all. I’m asking you about your food yesterday:
“How was it?”
(Now that’s a really common answer, given regularly, by people who are not yet at their goal weight)
So, perhaps my good and your good, are a little different right? 🙂
“Ok, so let’s get specific…
If a 10/10 is your best case scenario, absolutely awesome, fabulous fuel for your body day in which you:
- Focus primarily on one ingredient foods.
- Eat breakfast of 1+ fibrous veg, lean protein and good fat.
- Eat lunch of 2+ fibrous veg, lean protein and good fat.
- Eat dinner of 3+ fibrous veg, lean protein and good fat.
- Have planned and portion controlled snacks.
- …and no unplanned little extras.
- Have drinks that are planned… primarily water.
- …and no unplanned little extras.
- Avoid processed carbs such as cereal, bread and biscuits… they are for the weekend, or cheat day.
- Include a variety of 6+ multi-coloured veg in your day… 20+ is even better.
What did you score on my scale of 1-10 yesterday?