Weight training is a great way to burn fat and lose weight without having to spend excessive amounts of time in the gym.
But like any exercise program, weight training affects more than just the muscles.
For the purposes of this article, we'll discuss what happens to the digestive system after long periods of heavy weight training.
Before we go any further, remember that it's important for you to discuss your health with your doctor before beginning any weight training program.
There are many generalizations in the weight loss industry, and what is healthy one for one person may be unhealthy for you.
Your doctor will know best how you should approach diet and exercise in relation to your overall health.
Often times people confuse digestion and metabolism as being one and the same. This has led to several misconceptions regarding weight training and the digestive system.
A proper understanding of both bodily processes can help you better plan an exercise program that will realize the maximum benefit. This is especially true if you're engaging in weight training as a means of weight loss.
In simplest terms, digestion is the process of breaking down food into its various components, then distributing the nutrients throughout the body and expelling the waste. Digestion begins in the mouth and moves through the stomach and intestines to completion.
Metabolism on the other hand, is the process by which your body uses the energy and nutrients provided by digestion. The more efficient your metabolism, the better your body is able to use the energy and nutrients supplied to it.
Metabolism and the digestive system are heavily dependent upon one another in terms of getting the most from a weight training workout. It does your body no good to have a great metabolism if the digestive system is not supplying it with enough nutrients for proper exercise.
By the same token, an efficient digestive system without good metabolism will end up storing excess calories as fat. Both must be working together at maximum efficiency to gain the most benefit from your exercise regimen.
The point of a weight training program is to put stress on specific muscle groups in order to increase their tone and mass. Physiologically speaking, weight training forces excess blood into the muscles which causes microscopic tears in the muscle tissue.
As the muscles rebuild, they become stronger and larger. So, if weight training is done properly, the body is directing a large blood supply to the muscles.
The digestive system is related in that it too, requires increased blood flow to function properly. When we eat, the process of digestion includes the mouth, stomach, and intestines, which all require extra blood flow during times of increased work load.
During periods of heavy weight training, there is competition for blood flow between the muscles and the digestive system, especially if there's food still working its way through the stomach or the intestines.
Which system wins this battle for blood supply depends on which one has the heavier load. That's why proper nutrition and a specific eating schedule is so important to successful weight training. You do not want the competition between muscles and the digestive system to favor digestion, because that robs them of needed blood supply.
As a general rule, you don't want to begin a weight training workout while you're hungry. It's wise therefore, to eat a sufficient amount of food 60 to 90 minutes prior to beginning exercise. There is some disagreement over which foods are best to eat before exercising, but most experts would agree that a good supply of carbohydrates should be ingested.
After your exercise regimen is complete, you'll also need to refuel your body. However, refueling too quickly can also rob your muscles of necessary blood flow. So plan on eating no sooner than 60 minutes after your workout. Again, there is debate about the best foods to eat after your exercise, but protein is a good option since it's required to build muscle mass.
If you practice a proper eating schedule and diet recommended by a professional, the digestive system, metabolism, and muscles will all work together for maximum benefit. You will lose weight, build muscle mass, and notice an overall improvement in your well-being.