Tweaking your body shape isn’t always just about the kinds of foods you’re putting into your body. When it comes to bulking up or slimming down, how you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Changing up when you eat your meals and how often you’re eating (aka your “hunger clock”) to match your exercise schedule can make all the difference when trying to curb your appetite, lose weight or build muscle. Good news: there are a few ways you can rewire your eating habits to help you feel your best.
Get used to breakfast.
Eating balanced meals each day is a well-known key to being healthy. So naturally, we can’t stress enough how important breakfast really is. A morning meal will get your metabolism rolling and give you enough energy to start your day. While it can take a while to actually start to crave breakfast, once you get into the habit of having it, you’ll be less hungry later in the day. And being full for longer means that you’ll feel satisfied when you eat a normal-sized portion of food for lunch. So don’t even think about skipping it.
Having small meals or snacks between breakfast, lunch and dinner can actually be good for you (as long as you make healthy food choices and don’t over eat). An apple or a hardboiled egg, for instance, are some great healthy choices. Snacking between meals can boost your metabolism, which means you’ll be less ravenous than you usually are for dinner.
Eat before your morning weight sesh.
When you’re trying to build muscle, you need extra calories in your body to burn. Lifting weights on an empty stomach means you’ll burn stored energy (not what you just ate)–so you’ll end up exhausted and hungry instead of refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
Morning cardio? Keep your stomach empty.
Contrary to lifting weights in the morning, you shouldn’t eat before morning cardio to burn body fat. Having an empty stomach during cardio means that your body will get rid of stored fat instead of your food. In turn, that translates to getting slimmer faster. Maybe we’ll wait to eat breakfast the next time we start our morning cardio workout.
Wait 60 minutes.
Waiting at least 60 minutes before exercising doesn’t just apply to going swimming: it applies to all afternoon exercise too. When you eat before you exercise, you’re body has to work to digest its food while doing the workout, which won’t leave you feeling so hot. Either wait the 60 minutes or eat after your done exercising–your body will thank you later.
Stop eating two hours before bed.
If you eat right before bed, your metabolism will work a lot slower than it does during the day (which is bad news if you’re looking to lose weight). So give your body enough time to digest your food. After all, you deserve to feel good when you wake up in the morning.
Check out the video above to learn more about how to reset your “hunger clock.”