Protein: How Good Food Can Help Your Fitness

How Protein Can Help Your Fitness Journey

You may have heard people say that you need to eat protein pre-workout and post-workout and that it’s important for your health but what does that mean? At Xercise4Less Gyms, we want to help you work towards your fitness goals and you can do that with our quality equipment and facilities but also by making your diet a priority and by eating clean.

One of the key reasons for consuming a healthy amount of protein is that helps your body build and repair. This is essential after your gym sessions at Xercise4Less because no matter your goals, you need to help you body recover from the hard work that you’ve just put your body through. Whether you’re using the equipment, facilities and group exercise classes at Xercise4Less to focus on weight loss or weight gain, protein is essential to your diet to help your body with recovery. High protein foods include lots of amazing nutrients that help you feel strong and healthy and this is something all of us need no matter our goals.

The Benefits of Protein

There are lots of benefits to consuming protein. We say consuming as you can eat and drink protein to help you hit your daily target of protein. Remember to consume protein within a balanced diet though so then you’re able to balance out the foods with fats, carbohydrates, fruit/vegetables etc. and have a healthy diet to help you with your goals.

But why should you include protein in your diet? Lots of reasons. Firstly, protein helps with muscle growth as it helps your maintain or increase your muscle mass and strength. Even if you’re working towards a significant weight loss goal, muscle mass is really important as you’ll be burning fat from your body and replacing this with muscle help you during your workouts at Xercise4Less. Whether you’re working on weight loss or muscle gain in the gym, by consuming a significant amount of protein, you’ll be able to lift weights and use resistance machines with ease.

Another great thing about high protein foods is that they keep you full and reduce hunger levels. This is because they are rich in nutrients and cure your hunger for longer which will reduce your need for snacks which can be unhealthy or reverse progress on your fitness journey. For those people focusing on weight loss, most meals that you have should be protein focused but also include vegetables and then fats/carbohydrates. This is a balanced diet that will keep you healthy but also means that you’re focusing on your weight loss goals by keeping you full without under eating.

Forms of Protein to Include in Your Diet

Protein is really important post-exercise. It helps your body to minimise DOMs (delayed-onset muscle soreness) which is the reason why you sometimes feel sore after a workout. If you’re pushing yourself using the quality equipment at Xercise4Less such as the Free Weights Zone and Resistance Machines Zone, you need to consume protein-rich food/drink 30-60 minutes after your gym session.

Protein isn’t just for meat eaters. There are lots of amazing high protein foods that are meat free and plant-based so that both vegetarians and vegans can fulfil these needs too. Try to include these within your diet, especially after your next workout at Xercise4Less to make more progress on your fitness journey:

  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean beef
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts and seeds

Protein shakes are also great to help you make progress with your fitness mainly because they mean that you can get your protein fix easily. If you’re not able to cook a protein-rich meal after the gym, try a protein shake instead. They will cure your hunger, boost muscle growth and help your body with recovery. Mixing them with water with lower your calories intake or mix with milk for a higher calorie option.

Squats in Class

Become Part of Our Supportive Community

Joining Xercise4Less means that you get a great value gym membership but also join a fitness community that will help to push you closer to your fitness goals. Whether you’ve never stepped foot into a gym before or are an experience gym goer, joining Xercise4Less community today will help you take those all-important first steps onto your health and fitness journey. We understand that people use our gyms for different reasons so we want to help people and guide them towards their goals.

Take those all-important steps on your gym journey by joining Xercise4Less Gyms today and exercise in a safe and spacious environment. Benefit from quality gym facilities like our Ladies Only Gym Zone, spacious Spin Studio or Combat Zone or attend one of our classes including the famous Les Mills sessions – either way, completely transform your workout programme with us.

Foods to Boost Energy and Performance

Eat Clean to Improve Your Fitness

Regular exercise is really important to help you improve your physical health, allow you to focus on your mental health and become fitter. However, if you focus on your exercise routine whilst neglecting your diet, you’re only delaying your progress. To make a positive impact on your fitness journey, eat as clean as possible and you’ll soon start to notice a difference on your fitness in alignment with your goals.

Try not to confuse eating ‘clean’ with repeatedly eating salads or vegetables (unless you love them of course!) or cutting out food groups such as carbohydrates because instead you should be following a balanced diet that consists of a healthy amount of carbohydrates, protein, fats and vegetables.

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Boost Your Gym Performance with Good Food

The power of a good diet should never be underestimated. Once you start to take your diet a lot more seriously, you’ll notice that you’ll start to perform better in every one of your gym sessions as well as making good progress according to your goals. If you’ve noticed that your fitness journey isn’t moving as you’d like it to, it’s likely that your diet isn’t right but not to worry because this can be resolved in a few simple steps.

Firstly, you need to pay attention to what you’re eating before your gym session. If you’re overeating, this can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. On the other hand, if you’re undereating, you may start to feel dizzy and weak. If you’ve noticed that you tend to feel like this in the gym, it’s time to make your pre-workout eating routine a priority.

Everyone is different and some people prefer to feel full before a session and others don’t but either way, we’d suggest eating around 30 minutes before your session. This could be something small like a banana (packed with carbs and potassium to give you energy) or a bigger protein-heavy meal such as scrambled eggs/tofu, toast and avocado.

After you’ve eaten a good pre-workout meal, you won’t be stopped during your time at Xercise4Less. Look into the nutrients of the food you’re eating before your gym session because you need something carb-dense but also light to prevent fatigue. Don’t be afraid to try a few different meals until you find what works best for you.

Rowing Machine Workout

Sticking to a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is your best friend. This is what will help you reach your fitness goals faster and help you see a difference in your body quicker. A balanced diet consists of a variety of food/drinks but all in good measure. A balanced diet doesn’t mean you can never eat the foods you enjoy (pizza, burgers, fries etc.) as you can still eat these but you just need to be aware of how often you’re eating these and instead, balancing them out with healthier, clean foods such as lean protein, wholegrain carbohydrates and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Other ways to stick to a balanced diet includes eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg every day, having a potion of potatoes, bread, rice or pasta regularly meals (at least twice a day), including regular protein into your diet and drinking at least 6 glasses of water. As we mentioned, a balanced diet does allow you to have things like sugary drinks and oils/butters but they just need to be in smaller amounts and in moderation to allow you to prevent over consuming these and reversing your hard work in the gym at Xercise4Less.

Whether you’re using your Xercise4Less Gym to work on your weight loss and burning calories or packing on size and building your muscles, take some time to focus on your diet and you’ll soon notice a real acceleration in terms of your fitness journey and fitness goals. 

Become Part of the Xercise4Less Community

Joining us means that you get a great value gym membership but also become part of a fitness community that will help to push you closer to your fitness goals. Whether you’ve never stepped foot into a gym before or are an experience gym goer, register your interest in joining the Xercise4Less community today and take those all-important first steps onto your health and fitness journey.

Benefit from quality gym facilities like our Ladies Only Gym Zone, spacious Spin Studio or Combat Zone with full-sized boxing ring or attend one of our classes including the famous Les Mills sessions – either way, completely transform your workout programme with us but don’t forget your diet too!

Fuelling Your Body Post-Workout

Feeding Your Body the ‘Right’ Food

Your diet and nutrition is always really important. You need to know what you’re putting into your body and the effect that this is having on your body and your progress. This is essential in day to day life but especially after a workout. Once you’ve been to the gym, burnt calories and built up a sweat, you need to refuel your body almost instantly with the best food and drink. This will help you make a positive impact on your fitness journey and reach your goals faster.

Bicep workouts - woman curl

The Importance of Nutrition

Regardless of your fitness goals, people tend to gravitate towards the gym to help them get there and that’s great! For weight loss, we’d recommend dedicating some of your gym sessions purely to cardio training on treadmills, stairclimbers or stationary bikes or following HiiT routines in our spacious fitness studios. For muscle growth and weight gain, we’d suggest working out in the free weight zones and using resistance machines.

At Xercise4Less, we’re proud to offer quality facilities to help you do this freely. However, all of your progress at the gym can be slowed down if you aren’t eating the best food to suit your goals. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your nutrition because this is what makes the biggest impact on your body. For weight loss, you need to be in calorie deficit. This means that you’re eating less calories than you’re burning. Weight loss is often associated with foods such as salads and vegetables but you don’t need to cut out any major food groups and eat food you don’t enjoy in order to lose weight. You can follow a balanced diet that consists of fats and carbs and still lose weight; as long as you’re in a deficit.

Similarly, with weight gain, your diet is incredibly important. You need to be in calorie surplus but with clean foods. Gaining weight needs to be doing correctly so try and avoid junk, fried foods where you can because although these are calorie-dense foods, they’re also high in saturated fats that you should avoid where you can no matter your fitness goals.

Optimise Sleep Blog - Healthy Food

What to Eat After Your Workout

Once you’ve smashed your gym session at Xercise4Less and are coming round into a period of recovery, you need to have a think about what you’re going to eat. We recommend eating within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout.

During a period of exercise, your body breaks down your muscles and uses a lot of energy to help you going throughout your session, so by consuming a healthy meal within an hour of your workout, you’ll notice a positive impact on your body. Protein and carbs should be high up on your recipe list after your workout.  Don’t forget to include some healthy fats in your meal too as they will help you to recovery quicker. Carbohydrates are great for muscle repair and growth so regardless of your fitness goals, you need to have a healthy amount of these in your diet, especially post-exercise. Lean protein is a great source of energy whether you’re focused on weight loss or weight gain; just be wary of your deficit or surplus.

Some good examples of things that you could eat after your gym session include:

  • Porridge with Fruit and a Protein Shake
  • Protein Pancakes with Berries and a Banana
  • Poached Eggs with Wholegrain Toast
  • Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato or Rice and Avocado
  • Tuna Pasta with Avocado, Cucumber and Tomatoes
  • Wholegrain Wraps with Turkey/Chicken/Tofu/Quorn
  • Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter
  • Yoghurt with Fruit
  • Smoothies

These meals and snacks can help you replenish your body and cure that instant hunger that you’re guaranteed to feel once your workout is over. Whilst your food is super important, so is your drinking. You lose a vast amount of water as you sweat during your workout so try to drink a litre of water in the first 1-2 hours after your workout. This will keep you hydrated and prevent headaches and excess fatigue.

Re-Opening Xercise4Less Safely Soon

We’re really excited to re-open our doors and have all of our members back soon. When you’re a member of Xercise4less Gyms, you will be supported to become better and reach your fitness goals.  Our gym facilities are full of equipment as well as that help you shed excess weight or build up your strength. Not forgetting that we have exclusive Ladies Only Gym Zone to allow our female members to feel comfortable during their workout.

Once we re-open, we’ll be taking extra precautions throughout our clubs to help our members stay safe. This includes introducing additional cleaning and social distancing practices. If you’re wanting to restart your fitness journey following Covid-19, register your interest with Xercise4Less Gyms for our exclusive re-opening gym offers. You’ll have plenty of space to workout your way at any of our gym locations across the UK; in most cases we’re double the size of other high street gyms.