With New Year’s upon us, you likely have a few resolutions in mind. If eating better and exercising more are at the top of that list, then you’re in luck. Today’s post covers all you need to know to burn weight and look great!
Here are the absolute essential rules to eating and exercising the right way:
- Fuel up before you work out.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Remember: cardio is key.
- Kick liquid calories.
- Don’t miss breakfast.
- Allow for rest and cheat days.
- Eat right after exercising.
- Track your progress.
- Stick with your new routine.
1. Fuel Up Before You Work Out
Just like an engine needs gas to run, you need food to exercise.
If you try working out on an empty stomach, you’ll notice a drop in your performance. You won’t be able to go as hard or for as long.
Not to mention working out without fuel can leave you feeling dizzy or light-headed.
You don’t need to eat a four-course meal before you go for a run by any means. But a light snack or pre-workout can do wonders for keeping your energy up.
Additionally, make sure you wait at least 30 minutes after eating before doing anything strenuous. That way, you’ll avoid upsetting your stomach. Keep in mind, however, that it’s always worth listening to your body – general advice states it’s best to leave 1 to 2 hours between eating and exercising.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
There’s almost nothing better for your health than staying hydrated.
Drinking enough water will do everything from enhancing your physical performance to improving your mood. Plus, water is an appetite suppressant that’ll make your cravings more manageable.
Also, keep in mind you’ll shed water much faster than usual while working out. Especially if you do cardio!
So, keep a large jug or water bottle on hand whenever you go to the gym. And make sure you drink a glass or two after you get back from runs as well.
3. Remember: Cardio Is Key
I know, I know – no one likes hearing they have to run!
But the truth is, doing cardio is an excellent way to keep off calories. Not to mention it improves your overall energy levels, which helps you seize the day!
Remember that cardio doesn’t have to mean running. Here are some other aerobic activities worth trying:
Doing cardio doesn’t need to be strenuous. Even taking a brief daily stroll around your neighbourhood can significantly bolster your health. Just make sure you start slow if you’re not used to exercising.
4. Kick Liquid Calories
If you want to eat and exercise better, pay attention to what you’re drinking.
Whether it’s soda or beer, we get a surprising number of calories from what we drink. Usually because of all the sugar that companies put into their products these days.
Plus, drinks like soda aren’t only packed with calories. They also don’t really fill you up. So even though you’re overloading on sugar, you’ll still have cravings and feel hungry.
Drink water instead when you can. It’s healthier for you than processed beverages. And it’s essential to drink a lot of it if you want to maximise your workout performance.
5. Don’t Miss Breakfast
Growing up, you likely heard several times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
And it turns out that’s the truth!
After a full night’s sleep, your body will be low on calories. If you try to work out on an empty stomach, you’ll feel that lack of energy and might get light-headed.
Furthermore, research has correlated eating breakfast with all sorts of health benefits. From improving your cognitive performance to preventing obesity.
You read that right: eating breakfast can actually help you lose weight and stay in shape!
However, you need to be conscious about what you’re eating. For example, cereal and orange juice are typically better for you than doughnuts and coffee.
6. Allow for Rest and Cheat Days
Staying in shape is all about consistency. Still, everyone needs a break once in a while.
If you’re planning on a new diet, don’t think that means you can’t have a cheat day occasionally. Your hard work will make that odd piece of bacon or chocolate taste even better.
The same goes for exercising.
It’s vital to give yourself at least one but preferably two rest days a week. Doing so allows your muscles time to heal and recover.
Foregoing rest days can lead to overtraining and injury. So don’t skip out on them just because you think it makes you tougher – it doesn’t!
7. Eat Soon After Exercising
Plenty of people wonder how long they should wait after eating before exercising, but you might be confused to read that you should also eat after an exercise session. It sounds especially strange on paper, doesn’t it? After all, isn’t the point to burn off that weight?
As it turns out, post-workout meals aren’t only satisfying – they’re also crucial for your health.
Your muscles need calories and nutrients to replenish themselves after a workout. Otherwise, they won’t be able to build strength and recover properly.
Failing to get those nutrients will mean that your hard work was for nothing. Because your body won’t have what it needs to turn your effort into better cardio or stronger muscles.
8. Track Your Progress
What if I told you that improving your health is as easy as paying more attention to it?
Fitness trackers are an excellent way to see just how much your new habits are helping you. And according to research, tracking your health correlates to better weight loss results.
Plus, it feels incredible to see the fruit of your labour.
Watching your BMI go down, or how much better you’re eating, can be a major confidence boost.
Many fitness tracking apps also allow you to compete with friends, which is a great way to stay motivated. After all, you can’t let your buddies beat you!
9. Stick with Your New Routine
Above all else, you need to stick with your routine.
Working out and eating healthy can be extremely challenging. Particularly if you live with people who aren’t also trying to maintain that lifestyle.
Just remember that the destination is worth the journey (but do try to enjoy the journey, as well!). And you may even find that a healthier lifestyle gets easier the longer you do it.
Once you start seeing and feeling results, you’ll know it was worth it. It might take time, but you can do whatever you set your mind to!