Fueling for Fitness

As a health and nutrition coach, people often ask me: What do I eat before I exercise to make sure I have enough energy to get through? What do I eat after my workout to recover? These are important questions, because what you’re eating could be sabotaging your workout results! A one-year Stanford University study of 350 men and women found that those who worked out three to five times a week for 30 – 40 minutes had NO significant weight loss! How can that be? It’s due to what, when and how people eat before and after their workouts. Filling up with the right fuel at the right times is essential to keeping your energy up, your workout performance high, and your body in fat-burning mode!

Top Tips for Fueling for Fitness

• Hydration is more important than you can imagine. Start drinking water as soon as you wake up. In the morning, you haven’t had water for six to eight hours and your cells need replenishing. Drink a full glass of water before you eat or drink anything else (coffee doesn’t count toward hydration). Plain hot water will actually penetrate the cells the fastest.

• Stay well-hydrated throughout the day. It won’t work to just start drinking water right before or during your workout. Hydration is an ongoing process. If you’re not drinking enough water, you will run out of energy – both mentally and physically.

• A daily goal is to drink half your weight in ounces of water each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces a day – more in very hot weather or if you plan to have a rigorous workout. Hydrating regulates your body temperature, replaces water lost through sweat, and helps transport nutrients to your cells so you have energy. Did you know that most people are chronically dehydrated? Dehydration is a key reason for low energy, headaches, poor concentration, muscle cramps, and digestive issues. Take a moment to think about your day-to-day water intake; are you getting enough?

Avoid “Sports” Drinks

Contrary to popular belief (and advertising), Gatorade (or Vitamin Water or Propel or Powerade) is NOT a good hydrating choice, particularly if you want to maintain or lose weight. Why? These drinks contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, as well as other ingredients you want to avoid such as food dyes. High-fructose corn syrup, aka sugar, can make you hungrier by increasing your body’s hunger-regulating hormone (ghrelin) and lowering the hormone that tells you when you’re full (leptin). Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase sugar cravings, and many contain unhealthy chemicals.

cocnut_water Instead, if you feel you need more than water after a heavy workout or in very hot weather, turn to “nature’s water” – coconut water. Choose only those brands that are 100% pure raw coconut water, with or without natural fruit – no sugar added! You can also add Chia seeds to your water for energy! Chia Seeds are known as running food. Chia was first cultivated by the ancient Aztecs who would go on marches for days, surviving only on chia, yet being able to sustain high energy levels. Chia seeds contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper. When you put them in water, they plump up and get very soft.

What to Eat Pre-Workout

As a general rule, you want to eat about half the calories you expect to burn during your upcoming workout. Eat 1 ½ to 2 hours pre-workout, and your meal should consist of:

• 60% GOOD carbs (about 40 grams) • 30% CLEAN, LEAN protein (10-15 grams) • 10% HEALTHY fat (less than 10 grams)

• Note that the percentages may vary based on the level and length of your workout.

Good carbs fuel muscles and enable peak performance. They also keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable during your workout.

Clean lean protein prevents the breakdown of muscle for fuel, and gives your muscles a head start on recovery after exercising.

Healthy fats help balance blood sugar and ensure that fat-soluble vitamins are delivered to your cells so your body can use them. Healthy fats also keep your joints lubricated and they slow digestion, allowing for sustained energy and longer workouts.

For Morning Exercisers, here are some examples of a pre-workout breakfast:

• Oatmeal (with no added sugar) topped with walnuts, berries and half a banana

• A protein shake (see recipe below)

• Food For Life Bread (toasted) with pure almond butter and one sliced fruit (banana, apple, strawberries, etc.)

For Afternoon or Evening Exercisers, here are some examples of a pre-workout lunch:

• Steamed vegetables with quinoa

• Brown rice with lean protein and vegetables

• Soup and salad

A balanced meal one to two hours before your workout might be all you need. But some people need a small snack about 30-45 minutes before a workout for an ENERGY BOOST. **Snack examples** include: a banana, a Smoothie (see recipe); a Larabar or Power Bites (see recipe) or other all-natural bar. **You want clean, fast-digesting carbohydrates,** little protein, very little fat, so the fuel is available during your workout. And all meals and snacks should be accompanied by water.

Tips:

• If you work out first thing in the morning, you will want to have your snack before your workout and your breakfast meal after.

• The larger the meal/snack, or the more fat and protein it contains, the longer you will need to properly digest before exercising. If you consume too much food, or food high in fat, your muscles will focus on digesting that food instead of on your workout. That can cause stomach upset, muscle cramping and deplete your energy.

What to Eat POST-Workout

After your workout is a time for your muscles to rebuild, repair and recover. You should refuel within 15-30 minutes of your workout, and your post-workout snack should have more protein than carbs if you are strength training, and more carbs than protein for cardio exercise.

In the same way that I don’t recommend Gatorade’s ingredients, I steer clear of protein drinks such as Muscle Milk, Boost or Detour. Read the label and you’ll find sugar, additives and chemicals – not what you want to put in your healthy body! Instead, have a post-workout smoothie with plant protein. If you take the time to prepare for your workout – beginning with water in the morning and eating consciously throughout the day – you’ll find that you have the energy to exercise better and longer, and that helps you reach your goals!

Recipes will be posted shortly, there are some good ones up already for smoothies…

As with all days eat, heal and live!1898230_816696338357058_21970766_n

Jennifer

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Creating workouts that fit with my busy life

I have a lot on my plate I have 40-ish animals, 2 kids, 1 husband, a new career and I cook nearly everything we eat each day starting at 5:30 making my hubby breakfast and lunch to take to work. I sometimes don’t stop until 5:00 and by then I am tired and its time to start to think of cooking dinner and locking down the farm and feeding the rest of the animals their dinner.

I do not want to stop exercising and yet I find myself wanting to put that last on my list of things to do especially in the winter with the shorter days, cold weather etc. Most often I succeed and run out of time to get in a workout and my lazy self wins. Inside my head I am doing two dances; a celebration for the lazy winner and a sad dance of disapproval for the high energy side of me that loves to move and sweat.

Today however I have figured out how to accomplish a few tasks and combine them. I do not consider this multitasking I will call this being fit and focused with prioritizing my to do list. Each day on my farm there are things that need to be done but its cold and dark in the morning and by the time I get outside to feed my animals I leave little to no time for yard or garden tending.

breathe and get through tough times

So the breakthrough was simple; pick one task in the yard/garden that requires repetitive movements and that can keep me active for 45 – 60 minutes. As I looked around my yard today there was so much I could do since I have been neglecting my yard since….um December (gasp!) I picked the most urgent, my leaf covered roof. I lugged my rake, shovel and a broom up a ladder to my rooftop and proceeded to work myself into a nice elevated cardio just with raking and shoveling. To add to my workout I had to climb up and down the ladder to stomp down the leaves in the green bins I had place below. I have 3 green bins so I would climb up and down 2 times per bin and jump and stomp the leaves down so I could cram more in. When my bins were full and placed out on the street I walked down to my neighbors and borrowed two of theirs and played repeat. So with two more bins came more raking, shoveling, ladder climbing, bin stomping and lugging them to the street.

All in all I worked out for 45 minutes and worked up a nice heart rate. I know I could have done more but for today I was able to accomplish working out and getting one thing done on my farm that needed to be checked of my to do list. Tomorrow will be a new adventure and I think I will now look at my chores around the property as my daily exercise routine and really work at getting fit while enjoying my farm and garden chores.