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Top 5 Nutrition Tips For Working Out

I get a lot of questions from my clients and friends about pre, post and even intra-workout nutrition. Here are my top 5 tips for the content and timing of your workout nutrition!

1.) EAT CARBS BEFORE YOU WORK OUT!
Unless you just plan to go on a gentle jog around the neighborhood, carbs are an essential part of weight training or intense training (think 75% effort +).  During weight training and high intensity training (*cough* CrossFit *cough* weightlifting), your body’s need for glycogen (energy made from carbohydrate) increases dramatically. If you don’t eat carbohydrates before you work out hard, you can experience poor performance, loss of focus, muscle failure, light headedness, blurred vision, and loss of endurance. Reach for carbohydrates like oatmeal, sweet potato, fruit, and whole grain bread. This doesn’t mean plow through platefuls right before going to the gym though – aim for a reasonable portion, about the size of your fist for ladies and two fists for gents.

2.) EAT CARBS AFTER YOU WORK OUT!
You don’t need to slam chocolate milk as you lay on the floor in a pool of your own sweat post-training. You DO however, need to consume a meal within 45-90 minutes of your workout ending. This meal should have a reasonable amount of protein (1 palm-full for ladies, 2 palm-fulls for gents), carbohydrate (1 fist for ladies, 2 for gents) and fat (1 thumb for ladies, 2 thumbs for men). This post-workout meal will insure your body can do the following: recover from that training session (lower cortisol, the stress hormone which causes muscle wasting and body fat accumulation, and restore glycogen, the body’s fuel), build muscle (protein is the building block) and raise blood sugar levels so you can go about your day without feeling like you’re about to black out.

3.) KEEP IT WHOLE!
Don’t use your workout as an excuse to chow down on donuts, gummies, skittles, high sugar cereals or sodas. Though fast digesting carbohydrates can be good for elite athletes during a 100m sprint at the Olympics, for most of the population, whole foods (whole grains, fruit, potatoes, rice) are better. You get less chemicals and unknown substances, more slow-digesting carbohydrates that give a steady stream of energy, and less of a post-workout crash.

4.) HYDRATE!
Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. Try putting electrolytes in your water for added benefit (vital for hydration, blood pH and proper nerve and muscle function). Drink a minimum of 18-25oz of water during the 3-4 hours leading up to your workout, drink water during your workout as you can tolerate it, and drink a minimum of 10oz of water after you finish your workout.

5.) CALM YOUR CNS WITH ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS!
Taurine, Glycine and Magnesium will all help lower stress and cortisol post exercise (that mean hormone that wants to undo all your hard work), calm your Central Nervous System (CNS), help get rid of inflammation, and improve blood flow to muscles. You can get them all in powdered or capsule (or even some in liquid form) online or in your local health food or supplement store.

 

The Do’s and Dont’s in a Macro Plan, Part 2!

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding macronutrient/”macro” eating plans. This is a 3 part blog post (this being part 2) discussing some of the do’s and dont’s of following a macro plan. Stay tuned for part 3 if part 1 and 2 intrigue you!

DO #5: DO expect to lose weight at a rate of about 1-2 lbs per week. This is healthy and sustainable.

DON’T #5: DON’T expect rapid “lose-20-lbs-in-a-week” type of progress. Low carb and low calorie “crash diets” cause a large initial loss on the scale that can feel exciting and rewarding. However, as soon as unsustainable diets like those end, and people go back to higher calorie or carb intake, all of that weight is gained back almost immediately (sometimes even more weight will be gained than was lost). This is because a crash diet makes no lasting change in the body’s metabolism and relies primarily on water weight loss.

DO #6: DO expect to eat carbs. Based on your body type and activity level (see images above), you can expect to eat anywhere from a moderate to high amount of carbs on a flexible macro plan. Ideally, macro calculations (your daily intake) should not be solely based on your activity level. Whether your body type is more endomorphic, mesomorphic, or ectomorphic will determine your relative macro ratios (this is not set in stone however – it is merely a good starting point).

DON’T #6: DON’T plan to constantly change your macro numbers. The worst way to observe results is to constantly change the experiment. Nutrition is the most fascinating science, and without the scientific method, the likelihood of success is low. Treat your nutrition as an experiment: in order to draw a well-proven conclusion, you must have a lot of data to prove it. If you try a certain macro ratio for only one week (and do not observe weight, measurement, and visual changes over multiple weeks at that same macro ratio), you cannot definitively say that macro ratio wasn’t right for you. Plan to stick to your initial numbers for at least one month (of tracking very consistently) before manipulating your intake.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

The Do’s and Dont’s in a Macronutrient Plan!

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding macronutrient/”macro” eating plans. This is a 3 part blog post (this being part 1) discussing some of the do’s and dont’s of following a macro plan. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 if part 1 intrigues you!

DO #1: do expect to be able eat any and all foods on a macro plan. No foods are “off limits”. That being said, DON’T #1: don’t expect to able to eat like an a**hole all the time. Are donuts allowed? Sure. Should you be eating them every day? No.

Along that same vein, DON’T #2: don’t expect to eat unlimited quantities of your favorite foods. The quantity of food you eat has to meet your daily energy requirements, and a balance of protein, carbs and fat is still required.

DO #2: do calculate your macros and daily energy expenditure based on your overall activity (how active is your job/whatever you spend the majority of your day doing + how active is your exercise regimen?)

DON’T #3: don’t just calculate your intake for your active days; you should also have a separate intake for your rest days (when your activity level is lower). More often than not, this means less carbs.

DO #3: do understand that a flexible macro plan allows you to lose weight WITHOUT exercise. But..

DON’T #4: don’t expect to eat as much if you have no exercise in your daily routine. The more you move, generally, the higher your intake will be.

DO #4: do understand that your macro ratio (protein:carbs:fat) is based significantly on your body type (are you endomorphic, mesomorphic or ectomorphic? More on this later…)

Stay tuned for part 2!

Pre Workout Shake Recipe!

LOVE this pre workout shake – it provides me with protein, carbohydrates (fuel) and caffeine (energy boost) for my training! Plus it’s delicious!

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened nut milk (almond, cashew, coconut)
1 cup strongly brewed coffee (chilled – Trader Joe’s cold brew is fantastic for this)
1/2 – 1 banana (depending on how hard your training session will be)
1 scoop protein powder (vanilla and chocolate will both work here, I LOVE Vital Proteins collagen whey!)
2 cups ice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! Pour into your shaker cup and enjoy on your drive to the gym!

Macro Friendly Chicken Salad

Ingredients!

• 2lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

• 1½ cups halved red grapes

• ½ cup chopped pecans

• ⅓ cup diced green onions

• 1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt

• ¼ cup dijon mustard

• ½ teaspoon dried sage

• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

• ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

• 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

• salt & pepper to taste

Instructions!

1 In a large bowl mix shredded chicken, red grapes, pecans, and green onions.

2 In a small bowl add yogurt, mustard, sage, smoked paprika, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk together.

3 Add the liquid mixture to the chicken.

4 Stir everything together until it is completely combined.

5 Serve on a slice of bread or in a cup of bibb lettuce.

Makes 8x 4 oz servings

Macros per serving: 35g protein, 3g fat, 10g carb