Our expert says:
Congratulations on losing some weight and exercising as regular as you do!
The most important dietary habit to build muscle is to make sure your total energy intake is sufficient for the amount of exercise that you do and also that the timing of your nutritional intake is right in relation to when you are training.
If you do your weight training, it is a good idea to have a meal, for example breakfast if you train in the morning about 1-2 hours before you train, make sure this meal has got some carbohydrate (a slice of bread, breakfast cereal) and a portion of protein (matchbox size of low fat cheese or ham, one boiled egg, etc). This will ensure your muscles have enough fuel during your training session to keep building muscle and to not break it down.
Then during your training (if you train longer than 90 minutes) you can drink a normal sports drink (energade, powerade, etc.) to keep the carbohydrate levels up and if you can afford it, you can add a protein to the sports drink (eg. peptopro - which you can get from pharmacies). It is very expensive (R100 for 10 sachets) and not a MUST if you want to gain muscle, it is an optional extra.
The last tip is to then have a meal / meal replacement shake within a half an hour after your training session. This will ensure that your muscle glycogen stores re-synthesize (to help you train better the next day) as well as help your muscle recover from any damage caused during the training session. The way muscle gets stronger is by breaking it down and rebuilding it again. This can be a normal meal that you would have, i.e. a sandwich or you can have a meal replacement shake if it is more practical (good examples are Nestle Nutren Active, Ensure, Replace, etc.)
For more examples and a detailed eating plan you can always go see your nearest dietitian!
You can also see a Biokineticist who will help you with an exercise program specifically targeted at the areas where you want to tone / improve your muscularity.
Good luck and enjoy the day!
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