It was not until recently when I was in the middle of Phase 2 of Jamie Eason's LiveFit program that I realized something very important about how the diet part of "diet and exercise" comes into play in a completely different way than we normally think about. My trainer told me over and over again that "Abs are made in the kitchen!" It took me a long time to realize that he was right. I can do all the ab exercises I want but I'll never see results in that area until I make changes to my diet. What I neglected to realize was that diet should not just support weight loss but more importantly should support the structure of your workouts. It needs to support your bones (calcium) and muscle growth and repair (protein and amino acids). Your caloric intake for the day should be properly proportioned to the amount of calories you burn during your workouts so that your body stays strong, healthy, and to keep your energy levels up. You also want to prevent yourself from going into starvation mode.
Do NOT skip meals - I'm on Phase 3, Day 60 of the LiveFit trainer (24 more days baby!) and I cannot stress the importance of making sure you get all your meals in. After the first few days of Phase 3, I was so exhausted, in so much pain, and was not recovering enough between workouts to be able to perform effectively. It made me so crabby (I am NOT fun to be around) and I would cry at the end of my workouts because I felt like I did not perform well. I make sure my meals are planned out a week ahead and set up the night before. I keep a protein shake and some almonds on hand at all times in the event that I may not have time to sit down and eat a meal. The protein is filling and supports muscle growth and the almonds give you a little energy boost.
We hear it all the time, "Watch what you eat!" This is not just to support weight loss but certain foods that are high in fat (the bad kind) and carbs can make you feel sluggish, which will prevent you from performing well during your workouts. When I eat crappy foods, I notice a big difference. I get tired faster and can't do as many reps or as much weight. Make wise choices because they will not only affect your physique but also your ability to get through a workout!
Supplement! It is so NECESSARY to take a calcium supplement if you're doing a lot of weight lifting. Also, it is difficult to get all the nutrients you need out of your food for the day so I take a multivitamin. This is not meant to be a replacement for the nutrients that you should still be trying to incorporate into your meals but it will help prevent your body from lacking in certain amounts/levels.
Water, water, water. Yes, taking in protein 30-45 minutes after a workout is necessary to to help those sore muscles repair but so is your water intake! If you're dehydrated, your muscles will not recover very quickly and you may experience excessive soreness. Make a conscious effort to increase your water intake so that you can recover from your workout in order to perform better for the next workout!
My trainer suggested a glutamine supplement to help me with muscle recovery. It's my next experiment so I will report back with my results after I give it a try.
As always, I'm not a medical or fitness professional so it is important to consult with your doctor if you have real concerns. I just share what has been working for me so far!
Peace, love, and bellbottoms!