Thursday, February 21, 2013

Just Eat It :)

Your Questions Answered

What to eat pre-workout

Our bodies use calories for energy, not a news flash.  The part that gets tricky is when we try to figure out how many and how often we need them.  There is no hard rule as to how far in advance you need to fuel your workout.  Some people can eat 5 minutes before a workout, while others need a little more time to fuel.  If you workout very early in the morning, you may even have enough fuel from what you ate the night before.  For me, I prefer to have something within the hour prior to my workout.  Carbohydrates are the bodies fastest source of energy, so you'll want your snack to include some carbs.  Protein is digested a little more slowly, so having a little protein in there will help you finish your workout strong.  You don't need a ton of calories, but of course this is all relative to how intense your workout are.  Here are some typical pre-workout foods that I recommend:

3 Ingredient cookies from Skinnytaste.com

These are great & so simple!

2 bananas
1 cup of oats
1/4 cup crushed walnuts

You just combine these 3 ingredients (peel and mash bananas...I assume that goes without saying, but just in case...) drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake at 350ยบ for 15 minutes.

Other options:

An apple and a 1/2 cup of greek yogurt

A small sweet potato topped with greek yogurt (mix a little honey and cinnamon into the greek yogurt for added antioxidants and fast acting carbohydrates...oh, and deliciousness)

A few apricots and 1/4 cup of pistachios

A cucumber and a Babybel Light

1 tablespoon of almond butter on a rice cake

You get the idea?  A little bit of protein & some carbs.  A little bit of healthy fat is OK, but not too much.  You don't want something that takes a long time to digest to be sitting in your stomach while you workout.  It will just slow you down.  This is just a small snack.  You don't need much, so keep the portion small.  Under 200 calories.  If you have lunch a few hours before your workout, you might not need anything until after your workout.  Bottom line, listen to your body and it won't take long for you to figure out how much is enough.  Don't forget the water!  Staying well hydrated all day will be one of the most important factors in fueling your workout.

What to eat post workout

This can be a controversial subject as well.  Muscles are composed of about 75% water and 25% protein, so it makes sense that if you want to maintain and build lean mass, you'll want to be well hydrated and have adequate protein intake.  Post workout, carbohydrates are metabolized quickly and fuel muscle recovery the fastest so you want a nice balance of about 60% carbs and 40% protein.  This is what is recommended by most in the industry.  If I'm being completely honest, I probably flop my ratios and get 40% carbs and 60% protein.  I've played around with my post workout nutrition for years, and this seems to be what works best for me.  Over time, you'll settle into what works best for you.  Don't panic, 10-20% fluctuation in this ratio will not derail your progress if you are fueling your body with proper nutrition on a regular basis.  P.S.  The more muscle you have, the more protein you can metabolize.  

This guy:

 Needs more protein than I do:

Different goals=different caloric needs.  So, generally speaking, these are your best post workout options:

The classic post-workout protein shake is what I go to most often:

Other great options are:

Egg whites and salsa-I'm a huge fan of whole eggs.  The yolks have plenty of good nutrition in them, but right after a workout the fat will slow the delivery of protein to the muscles, so post workout-keep it to egg whites.  On a typical large egg each egg white has about 20 calories and 3.3 grams of protein.  

Kefir-Lifeway is a popular brand.

If it's mealtime after your workout and you want something a little more substantial, then just stick with something like Chicken breast and a sweet potato or Tuna with asparagus.  Think lean protein and a vegetable.  

What to do in between

If you are looking for something to do in between your pre and post-workout snacks/meals, try my group workout from yesterday:

The only equipment your need are some dumbbells.  Let me know if you have any questions!!

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