Q: I am still trying to drop a few pounds before the 2015 tri season officially starts. Should I be following the “no eating after a certain time” rule to help me reach my weight-loss goals more easily?
A: I get this question a lot. In a word, no! Well-meaning, late-training athletes complain of poor recovery, fatigue and lack of motivation for morning workouts. When we dig into their food log, the reason is clear: poor fueling after evening training sessions due to either “fear of eating late” or simply lack of preparation combined with exhaustion.
RELATED: The Benefits Of Eating A Big Breakfast
Eating a post-workout recovery snack and eating a proper dinner are paramount to both productive training and reaching your body weight goals. Here’s what I recommend:
1. Ensure you are fueling adequately all day, not skimping on calories earlier in the day and thus overeating late at night, which can lead to weight gain (or prevent weight loss).
2. Fuel up before all evening workouts with a good, balanced snack, such as half a sandwich, a cup of soup, or yogurt and fruit.
3. Plan your dinners in advance to avoid poor last-minute choices or “grazing” on whatever happens to be in the kitchen when you arrive home late and hungry.
4. Include complex carbs, lean protein, veggies and good fats in your dinner meal, no matter what time the clock says. Good examples include lentils, salmon, kale and avocado or quinoa and beans, lean meat and sautéed veggies.
5. If you are trying to drop a few unwanted pounds, find other (smart!) places to cut calories, such as that third handful of pretzels at lunch, candy from the office candy jar or that extra beer on Friday night.