Being overweight increases your heart disease risk. Increasing your metabolism by building muscle is one way to burn an extra 100 calories each day, promote weight loss, and heart health. Now that you’ve started a strength training routine, you want the best results for your efforts. This means paying attention to what and when you eat pre/post workout, as well as how frequently you train.
Foods before/after the workout for the most efficient results: You do not want to start your morning workout without eating something first. Your blood sugar and glycogen (carbohydrates stored in muscle and liver) are depleted by morning and if you do not eat something first your body is likely to preserve fat and perform poorly. Quick absorbing carbs with give you fast fuel for your morning workout. Good choices include juice, fruit, toast, or even a sports drink -- not a protein bar. If a “bar” is easiest for you to do, an energy bar would be a better choice before your morning workout. Energy bars contain more carbohydrates, which provide the quick energy.
Metabolic Window: It is important to eat within 45 minutes post-exercise. This 45-minute period is referred to as a “metabolic window.” During this time, the enzymes to replenish muscle and protein stores are at peak levels. This means you want to eat a snack that contains protein and carbohydrates. Examples: a peanut butter sandwich, yogurt with fruit, bagel with cream cheese, or a handful of nuts. The turkey/PB sandwich you are already having is a good choice. By grabbing a snack within 45 minutes of your workout you will maintain/build muscle mass, replenish glycogen stores, and reduce the amount of fat your body stores.
Weight Training Frequency: Also, be sure to give your body at least 48 hours between weight lifting sessions. The way muscle is built -- you lift weights and the muscle fiber is torn, during the next 48 to 72 hours the muscle fibers are repaired and made stronger, increasing your muscle mass. So picture one step back, two steps forward in the muscle building process. If you lift weights too often, you do not give your muscles time to heal and rebuild muscle fibers. A way around this is to alternate upper body and lower body workouts.
I don’t want you to think all this talk about strength training only applies to muscle bound types along the lines of Schwarzenegger. Maintaining a health lean body mass (muscle) is critical for everyone -- men and women alike. Everyone can fall prey to the “middle age spread”! Establish a strong defense of regular activity and you’ll maintain a healthy body weight, essential lean body mass, and avoid heart disease.