You're right in identifying that you need to lose body fat before focussing on any muscle building. Losing body fat requires an energy deficit,(best achieved through extra energy out) and gaining body muscle requires extra energy plus an appropriate trianing routine. I can't help with the training/exercise side of things but a few tips for the food and to answer your question about protein shakes.
At this inital phase of aiming for weight loss:
- don't worry about the shakes, you don't want to be adding extra protein or kilojoules into your body you want to be encouraging your body to use up energy stores (ie fat)
- Look at total food and kilojoule intake and start by reducing any ‘extra’. This can come from eating when you aren't physically hungry (a little is normal but a lot can add up) and also eating more than you need at any one time. Aim to stop eating when you are 80% full = your satisfaction point.
- make sure you aren't restricting energy intake, you want to give your body enough energy to do its day to day business and burn body fat via exercise.
Once you've lost the body fat and move into the muscle building/toning phase:
- Ensure you have adequate energy from food across the whole day to do your day to day business plus fuel your exercise. At this stage you aren't trying to lose any mass so you need to be eating enough so that your exercise isn't burning body stores (it will break down muscle if it needs, which is not what you'll be after in this phase)
- Look at timing of meals and snacks around your exercise sessions, particularly when they are focussed on muscle building. Ensure you have something to eat or drink with energy in it an hour or two before your session and then the same again within an hour of finishing. The best food options combine both carbohyrdate and protein - carbohydrate to replace energy and protein to repair/build muscle, if you just have protein then it will be used for energy replacement first and only for muscle repair if there is any left over. You can simply use food but this is where a protein shake can be convenient.
An Accredited Practising Dietitian can help to give you more specific advice for your situation (find an APD on www.daa.asn.au). There are also some great evidence based nutrition fact sheets on the AIS (www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition) and the Sports Dietitians Australia (http://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/) websites.
Accredited Practising Dietitian
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