A hungry womanWorking out on an empty stomach can boost your overall health and fitness.

Simply skip breakfast and exercise first thing in the morning and then have a protein recovery meal 30 minutes after your workout. Whether you choose to exercise on an empty stomach or not, your post exercise meal is crucial to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the process toward repair and growth. An example of a catabolic process is knowing that your muscles actually endure a break down phase because of hormones released during each workout, and that you have the ability to counteract this process by consuming high-quality nutrient sources before, or after your exercise sessions.

If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the catabolic process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. The correct time to eat is within 30 minutes after your workout. Your meal should include fast-assimilating proteins, such as a high-quality whey protein shake with no sugar added.
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If you cannot exercise in a fasted state due to fatigue, or simply opt not to for some other reason, you can also consume whey protein before exercise. It’s an excellent breakfast choice. A 2010 study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise demonstrated that consuming whey protein 30 minutes before resistance training can boost your body’s metabolism for as much as 24 hours after your workout.

Dr. Mercola Miracle Whey Protein Powder (Chocolate)Certain amino acids, such as leucine found in high-quality whey protein activate certain cellular mechanisms which promote muscle protein synthesis, boost thyroid, and also protect against declining testosterone levels after exercise. They have also have been found to improve performance in high intensity exercise.

Leucine helps you lose weight and builds muscle when dieting

Leucine triggers muscle growth. Leucine is an essential amino acid, which simply means our bodies cannot produce it and we must get it from dietary sources. Researchers have known about leucine for decades, but exciting new research has shed a new and broader light on this important health-promoting amino acid. Much of protein’s benefits may be attributable to leucine due to its ability to stimulate protein synthesis, help turn on the body’s switch to build muscle and spare muscle when dieting.

Whether you’re interested in building muscle or preventing muscle loss that normally occurs during dieting and aging, stimulating protein synthesis is absolutely key. Most people know that consuming protein induces an increase in muscle protein synthesis, which is why protein supplements are popular to consume after exercise.

A large number of studies have shown that high protein diets help spare muscle loss during dieting and weight loss. Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted studies that examined weight loss diets containing 10 grams of leucine per day and 125 grams total of protein per day.The groups consuming high leucine diets had greater weight loss, greater fat loss and better preservation of lean body mass. In these studies, the high leucine diets also resulted in better glucose control.

The best food sources of leucine include any proteins from animals that naturally contain all the essential amino acids. The protein source with the highest leucine content is whey, which contains about 10% leucine or 10 grams per 100 grams of protein. If you drink a whey protein shake that has about 25 grams of protein, you would get about 2.5 grams of naturally occurring leucine.
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Eating too many carbs in relation to protein and fat is a big mistake

Scientists have found that as you age, the ratio between protein and carbohydrates is critically important. Research shows that a high-protein/high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet is most effective both for muscle building and weight loss. In order to build muscle, you clearly need calories, but there’s compelling evidence showing that calories from fat are far better than calories from carbohydrates.

To maximize the benefits of exercise, you’ll want to avoid fructose and other sugar drinks, unless you are engaged in intensive and prolonged cardio exercises that will allow you to burn these sugars and not store them as fat. Most casual exercisers and those seeking to mostly improve body composition and optimize health and fitness need to stop using energy drinks, sports drinks, like Gatorade and most energy bars that contain fructose  and even “healthy” drinks like vitamin water.

These fructose laden drinks sabotage your exercise benefits by tricking your body into gaining weight by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. It’s also important to realize that consuming fructose, including that from fruit juices, within two hours of your workout (before or after) will also decimate your natural human growth hormone (HGH) production.

If you are doing high-intensity interval training, such as CrossFit, a major benefit of such exercise is an increase in your HGH, HGH is also known as “the fitness hormone,” and some athletes pay a lot of money for HGH injections. But the combination of eliminating fructose and doing high-intensity interval training while fasting is a natural and the preferred way to optimize your HGH.

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