Our body uses protein to rebuild muscles that have been damaged during exercise or weight training. However consuming extra protein will not simply result in you gaining extra muscle but rather for your muscle to grow and strengthen you need to provide it with a physical stimulus like exercise and weight training. This training will breakdown your muscle tissue, your body will then.
Whilst there are many benefits from aerobic exercise for weight loss, weight training has been proven to increase your metabolism (the rate at which you burn fat) and build lean muscle mass. As you gain muscle you burn fat as an energy source. Thus a combination of these two forms of exercise will ultimately see you achieve the best results.
It is definitely important to ensure you warm up before commencing exercise but there is no good evidence to suggest that ‘stretching your muscles’ makes much difference to your body’s capabilities and injury risk. A warm-up of 5-10 minutes of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise i.e. short jog/walk can be beneficial. Some studies have found that stretching before exercise can destabilize your muscles and may cause micro-tearing that can worsen with exercise, leading to further muscle damage and possible injury.
It is recommended that you stretch after exercise as part of a cool down to help the muscle return to its resting length. Stretching outside of exercise can also be useful to help maintain or increase flexibility which can lead to improvements in performance long term.
Muscle and fat are two distinct tissues that cannot be converted from one to the other. If you stop exercising your muscle tissue will shrink (atrophy), which means it may feel like fat but in actual fact your muscles have lost tone and decreased in overall size. Also, when muscles become smaller they do not need as many calories to function, which means your metabolism slows down and your required number of daily calories is also reduced which will have an overall effect on your body fat and weight if you do not alter your diet to adjust for the lower muscle mass and decreases eneergy expenditure.
There are no ‘magic’ hours that you should be eating. People associate late-night eating with a greater chance of weight gain because we usually consume more calories at night. The current recommendation is to start your day with breakfast and eat every 3-4 hours throughout the rest of the day. Ensure to keep lunch the same size as dinner so that you will be less likely to over-indulge at night. Lastly know that you can enjoy a small, late-night snack without the fear of waking up heavier in the morning.
During a workout your muscles undergo minor tearing as we are purposely overloading them to create a change. Once you finish your training session, while your body is resting, the muscle then starts to rebuild and repair itself, growing bigger and stronger. During this rebuilding process the muscle utilizes your fat stores as an energy source. As well as fat the muscles also require other nutrients such as protein and certain vitamins and minerals that you must try and receive through a well balanced diet. Which is all part of the lasting benefits of including resisitance training in your exercise regime. Lastly it is vital to give your muscles time they need to grow and develop, therefore recovery is a key issue that you must always address when planning your training schedule.