A disciplined workout regime is the key to weight loss and muscle gain. However, this should also be accompanied by a proper diet. Your hard work at the gym will only be put to waste if you don’t eat the right food. Take note of these following nutrients that your body needs to successfully keep off the weight or pack muscles:
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. You need carbohydrates to do just about anything, from opening the door to walking out of the house, and of course to complete your workouts. Carb-enriched food should form the bulk of your daily meals, but when your goal is muscle gain, carbs should only make up about 60-65% of your daily diet. Carbohydrates are either simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are basically sugars that give you an instant energy boost, complex carbohydrates on the other hand are essentially starches which can be found in pasta, breads and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates provide the body with a slower release of energy. Both types are broken down in your body into glucose, which is absorbed by the cells to be converted into energy. The energy that your body doesn’t use is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. This can only be stored in limited amounts and when they drop too low, you’ll suffer fatigue or, worse, your body will take proteins from other parts of your body, which will result in loss of muscle mass. Your muscles need glycogen after a workout, they can refuel their glycogen stores twice as fast as normal. Eat a carb-based snack mixed with some protein within 45 minutes of finishing your workout routine.
Protein helps build muscle. In fact, muscles essentially store protein, which functions for various things such as tissue repair and transporting of nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, more protein doesn’t automatically means more muscle. Eat some protein with every meal but limit it to around 15-20% of your daily diet. Try not to eat more than 200g of protein a day because your body can’t store the protein that you don’t use. When it comes to protein, quality is more important than quantity. Protein is made up of about 20 amino acids, nine of which are called ‘essential’ because they can’t be made in the body. Proteins that contain those nine essential amino acids are known as complete proteins, they also have a greater biological value (BV). The higher the BV, the better the protein will be for muscle growth and repair.
People assume that dietary fat is immediately converted to fat on the body, which is of course not true. What actually causes the body to put down fay is when you eat more calories than you expend. Fat provides the most concentrated form of energy and contains nine calories per gram, twice or more than that of either carbohydrates or protein. That’s why too much fat in your diet will quickly lead to weight gain. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ban all fat from your diet, it serves crucial functions for the body such as hormone metabolism, tissue structure and cushions organs, and transports the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat should ideally only make up around 25-30% of your daily diet.
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