Is It Time to Eat?
By Mark Nelson
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It probably is. Because if you're like many
people, you don't eat often enough. According to
trainer Chalene Johnson, you should eat at least five times a day. That
includes three meals and two snacks. So why eat so often?
It helps prevent your body from storing
I kid you not. Our bodies are actually
programmed to store fat, and this trait has helped us humans keep going over
the eons. At many stages during our existence, it was critical to our survival.
If you look back in time with me, I'll show you why.
Picture yourself wearing an animal skin or
scratchy woolen toga, a few smears of mud and no hair product. (Don't feel bad
- no one else looked good, either.) If you look in your hand, you'll see that
you're carrying a spear that you made yourself. The reason for making it is
that you're hungry.
If you throw well, you eat. If you miss, you
don't. So being able to store energy in the form of fat will hopefully sustain
you until your throwing improves.
This same survival tool remains part of our
So the best way to avoid slipping
into this fat-storing mode is to keep your metabolism going with small meals
and snacks. Eating frequently prompts your body to efficiently keep working and
burning the calories.
And if that weren't enough by itself,
there's another good reason to avoid long waits between meals.
Eating regularly tames wild cravings.
By eating smaller meals on a regular
schedule, you'll help your body work comfortably on fewer calories, and stay in
an energy (fat)-burning mode. This will help you feel more energetic, and keep
your blood sugar stable, which will reduce carb cravings before your next meal.
Now let's say you need even more help
controlling your cravings for the wrong stuff. What do you do?
Start your day with the right stuff.
Chances are, you don't eat in your sleep. So
when you wake up, your cells are ready to absorb essential nutrients and, in
Throughout the night, your body uses excess
or circulating proteins to replenish your muscles, hair, skin, and nails. In
addition, your body uses proteins to create millions of antibodies for defense
against bacteria, which often attacks while you sleep. That's why eating a
healthy breakfast packed with protein is good for you.
Starting your day with eggs, nonfat cottage cheese,
P90X® Peak Performance
Protein Bar, or
can help you get a good serving of the protein and nutrients you need.
And a good rule of thumb for the timing of
this meal is within an hour of waking up. If that's not possible, have a meal
or snack as early as possible to get your metabolism revving. So what about the
rest of your day?
Lift weights, then lift plates.
Another smart time to eat is about 30 to 45
minutes after a workout. At this time, the enzymes responsible for energy
production are in high gear, and the energy-storing hormones within our blood
This means less energy will be stored as
fat. Carbs will be immediately taken up to replenish the low glycogen stores
caused through exercising. Protein will be used for the recovery and growth of
new calorie-burning muscle tissue. And the best news is, your body will burn
most of the nutrients from the meal to fuel these reactions. That's why eating
after a workout is a good idea.
Having protein late in the day, for perhaps
your last meal or snack, will also provide your body with the protein it will
use overnight to revitalize your muscles, hair, nails, and antibodies.
Of course, remember portion size. If you're not sure
how much that might be, use the palm of your hand as a guideline. It's a good
trick, since you probably have your hands with you.
As with most things in life, timing is
everything. So when you're trying to drop lbs., don't just think about what you
eat - think about when. This will enable you to get more nutrients from fewer
calories. Of course, the fewer calories you eat, the easier it is to lose
weight. So eat right. On time. On schedule.