When Should I Train??
Unless you’re in an organized sport where your training time is predicated upon the sports coach, you have to decide what time you are going to get yourself up to go to the gym. Should it be first thing in the morning or before I go to sleep? Should it be during my lunch break? These may be questions that you ask yourself. But after considering your job, your perceived free time, or your spouse’s schedule, your training goal can be the key that helps you make your final decision. How your body reacts to training times can greatly increase the training effect of your workout program. With this increased knowledge you’ll be equipped to get the most from your training program.
In order for you to gain muscle, you will need compound exercises at a high volume. In order for you to perform this work, you will need to be in a slight calorie surplus to give the body the nutrients necessary to build new muscle tissue while keeping fat at bay. The time you train can further enhance this effect by supporting your training with the fuel it needs to do more work in the weight room. By choosing to train mid-day or late afternoon, you can assure that you have eaten enough meals to properly fuel the body to train while blunting the spillover effect of training too early. If you train at a high level early in the day then begin to eat, the exercise post oxygen consumption (known as EPOC) will go into effect. This just means that you will have an elevated heart rate all day to the body’s response to repair itself. This could mean that with a higher metabolism you could be spinning your wheels by burning more calories than you are taking in, which would put you in a caloric deficit. Simply put you could be actually losing fat when your goal is to be in a muscle building phase.
Take heed that you want the body to use all of the calories for the surplus that it needs to build muscle. One may not see a problem from training in the morning but take remember that by just continuing to eat more can cause your body to start gaining fat at an accelerated rate, fat that you would then spend months to get off again which could also sacrifice the muscle that you worked so hard to get
Contrary to gaining muscle, you want to preserve the muscle that you already have while trying to lose as much fat as possible. This is where early morning or even fasted training could be most useful. When you sleep your body is in a fasted state and this is where fat is most vulnerable. When the body senses hunger it releases enzymes that tell you to fuel yourself. If the neural response to eating is not met by actual food from the outside environment, then the body will use its own stores (fat) to keep the body from going into starvation.
When you awaken in the morning on an empty stomach your body is in full gear burning fat. So by training first thing in the morning you can aid in the reduction of fat by making sure the calories you burn from your training session are used to burn fat, not help in the digestion of food from all day. Since caloric intake is the main basis of fat loss, all calories burned should be dedicated to fat loss. Of course, you would use a leucine-rich supplement such as SciVation ‘Quake’ to protect your muscle while training fasted, The EPOC effect will also help by burning more calories, granted you take care of your end of the deal by eating to your specified caloric deficit.
As long as you’re in a surplus to gain muscle, a deficit to burn fat, and you train hard the time of the that you train is not the most important factor. But this advice could be the icing on your cake of achieving your specific training goal.
So are we ready with a cliche right out the gate? No? Well here it comes anyway: Your eyes are truly bigger than your stomach. Gosh, I know its bad but there is much truth in this simple saying.
Let’s break this down
The craze of diets and macros, especially IIFYM, has hit the internet by storm with huge gusts of useless information that can put your mind in a complete whirlwind. This is used to prey on your ignorance to nutrition strategies to buy products that you don’t need or put you on competition diets that are completely devoid of some macronutrients, leaving you wrecked, tired, and begging to gain the dreaded “rebound weight”. On the flip side, those bulking plans that you see on the internet will surely get you big, but I don’t think to become the Pillsbury Doughboy was the intent. How do we combat this unintended result, you ask?
- When Starting Out Measure Everything
Quickly let’s immediately address perceived notions regarding food portions. YOUR NATURAL INSTINCT TO CHOOSE FOOD PORTIONS IS INHERENTLY FLAWED. Caps too much? Well, there is an emphasis on this statement because one really needs to understand. You will either grossly underestimate or overestimate any and all portions of food naturally. This is because your body instinctively looks at food based on need (this can be skewed based on upbringing and a heavy addiction to sugar) and not for you to look good or be “swole”. For example, how many of you pour 3/4 cup of cereal NATURALLY into a bowl? Yeah, I don’t either. This is why when you start on a nutrition protocol you must weigh and measure your food. Without this information, you are captain of a ship with no map, setting sail to the island of nowhere – or an unintended destination.
2. Weighing and Measuring Your Food Keeps You On Track
Can you imagine where we would be if we did not have GPS on our phone? How many of you even know how to use an old-fashion map? This question may seem silly but this is how most of us are with our nutrition. Sure we hit the gym but there is no plan for the things that we put in our mouth. For this reason measuring your food is of great importance. When you do not weigh your food you play a dangerous guessing game that sends a signal to your body to just store everything as fat. Your body does not have time to play with you. It is built for survival and will fight to stay in homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s “normal”. However by weighing your food when you are on a specific nutrition plan, you can measure and track over time how your body reacts to certain amounts of food. This tracking will help you to adjust your plan over time to make the necessary changes to reach your goal. Now you are the captain of your ship WITH a map to get to your destination.
3. The Discipline of Measuring Will Teach You How to Eyeball
Most people are not in a specific nutrition plan year long, but still want to keep the condition that they attained while on a diet. To do this there still must be discipline in your nutrition. This is the true secret as to how people stay lean year long. However you will not see more experienced people weigh all of their food. Why? Because consistent measuring over time has given them a better understanding of proportions. Over time the tedious task of measuring your food will allow you to truly see what 7 ounces of protein really looks like. By measuring time and time again you will now be able to finally “eyeball” food and make the right choices of food portion due to the habit of weighing and measuring. This skill only comes from the discipline you show in the beginning by weighing everything.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Weighing your food may seem tedious but I can assure you this habit is one of the quickest ways to ensure your nutrition plan gives you quality results to help you lose fat and build muscle. Don’t be the captain with no map!