You Asked, He Answered – Integrity Fitness

Paul Walker, certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist, lifestyle and wellness coach and owner of Integrity Fitness answers your personal fitness and nutrition questions.

@aidenbranden: In your opinion, is working out in the morning or night better?
Morning training induces a calm, relaxed, clear state all day long — you think better, you feel better, you’re less stressed. There’s also a lot less chance to miss a workout, because things tend to pop up during the day if you planned on working out later. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule. Moving the body daily for a minimum of 15-20 minutes, when you can and however you can, is always the answer.

@annascono: Should carbs be consumed before or after a workout?
Despite the bad rap that many carbs get today, they are an essential part of properly fuelling your body before a workout. If you are training for a sport, then have some carbs before you train and compete, if that’s what you want to do. I would suggest about 30-50 grams of carbs per hour of training 30-60 minutes before you train (plus 10-15 grams of protein). It depends on your body weight and sport.

If losing body fat is the goal, the answer would be based on the time the day and your fitness level. Early risers in a fasted state will need some fuel in before they plan on performing high-intensity exercise. Unless you know your body well, training on empty often reduces sustained performance, or you run the risk of low blood sugar, and that will cause extreme nausea and/or dizziness. Eat at least half a banana with a dash of peanut butter, half a cup of Greek yogurt, or a protein smoothie made with water and some fruit, like berries. Not too many, as having carbs before you work out literally programs your body to use those free-circulating carbs for energy and not your stored body fat.

Depending on when you work out, and if your schedule allows, you should try and get a full meal in your system 1-2 hours post-workout. For many this is their largest and most nutritious meal of the day. The focus should be on balance, making sure you have a good ratio of healthy carbs (veggies, fruits), a clean source of protein (chicken, turkey, fish) and some healthy fats (avocado, nuts, nut butters, etc.).

@fasciano_t: Do BCAAs really help during and after a workout?
Branched-chain amino acids are commonly referred to as BCAAs, and these amino acids are not always readily made by the body. Simply put, BCAAs support lean muscle growth and help prevent muscle wasting — exactly the kind of help you want when you exercise. So, BCAAs help with muscle recovery, maintaining lean mass and even building new muscle. I have played with the time of the day with my BCAA consumption and found zero difference in muscle recovery, growth or performance. I personally prefer glutamine over BCAAs for muscle soreness, muscle growth and muscular endurance.

@danieladamic: What type of training is better for fat loss, cardio or weight training?
I love this question — we get it all the time. The right answer is both. Steady-state cardio will preserve muscle, but who really wants to jump on a treadmill for 45 minutes? Resistance training or weight training builds muscle, shapes the body and, in turn, will stimulate the metabolism — but again, it can be boring for some. I find that to strip off the body fat, nothing works like metabolic circuit training to manipulate the body and speed up the metabolism. Circuit training that uses all your big muscles, like your legs, your chest and your back, with functional conditioning movements added in, is the ideal recipe for losing more calories and toning the body. And you don’t have to train long with this method, as it keeps the body burning calories long after the workout has ended.

@sandramazz: How can I maintain my weight this summer with all the BBQs and alcohol? Any tips?
For me, being an awesome guest and bringing your own food that everyone can enjoy, like a veggie or fruit tray, or a fun homemade appetizer, is always best because you know you’re going to have something to eat. Try to stay with the white meat and lay off the carbs. If I know I have an event, I tend to eat and train super balanced all week with the intention that I’m going to a function. That’s part of the balance in my lifestyle: giving myself permission to indulge that day.

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