Fuel and Support Your Workouts
In order for our bodies to function at their optimum potential we need a variety of foods to fill our daily quotas of protein, carbohydrates and fat. If you know me at all, then you know I strongly advocate eating or drinking your fair share of produce to support immune health as a daily practice as well. The BEST place to load up on your daily needs of vitamins and minerals is produce; if you don’t want to eat your veggies then juicing them is a splendid alternative. Since juicing is a whole separate conversation for another day, let’s tackle the topic at hand today; macronutrients.
In our world of creating strong fit bodies, protein is the most popular buzzword of all. Protein builds and repairs muscles, and without enough of it your body will be incapable of reaping the benefits of your hard fought strength workout. The average exercising adult needs 50-75 grams per day. To determine your exact needs for protein intake multiply your weight in lbs. by 0.45; that product is your weight in kg, then multiply your weight in kg by 0.8 and that is the number of grams of protein that your body needs each day. (Example with body weight of 139 lbs.; 139 lbs. x 0.45 = 63kg, 63kg x 0.8 = 50.4 grams of protein per day.) A word to the wise; be careful not to overdo it with your protein intake as an excess amount of protein turns into fat, not muscle.
Next up, Carbs, and YES you do NEED to eat your Carbs! Carbohydrates are the main source of energy, they provide fuel for metabolism and brain function. With too little carbs your body will use protein for fuel….when that happens you can say buh-bye to your muscle definition. Please hear me clearly, I want you to eat carbs, good carbs like fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes. I DO NOT want you to eat/drink sugary sodas and fruit flavored drinks, cakes, pastries, pizza, chips, fries and white grains. Please practice sound judgment and resolve in selecting your carbs. How many carbs you need really depends on your weight loss goals and your activity level, the more you exercise the more carbs you need to fuel your workouts. Trust that if you are selecting mainly fresh vegetables and fruits with a serving or two of whole grains or legumes you will not overdo it.
Finally, we chew on the fat. Fat protects internal organs, provides insulation, and transports fat soluble vitamins through the bloodstream. Eating your unsaturated fats can help to keep your blood pressure at a normal level, aid in lubricating your joints, and help you to feel satiated. Stick with the healthy version of fats though, the unsaturated ones- Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. Steer clear of the saturated fats you will find in whole milk products, hamburgers and most fried foods.
FEED THE WORKOUT
So how do I use these foods to get the biggest bang for my workout buck? I am very glad you asked! Prior to your workout you want to have some carbohydrates to support a high level of energy and a small amount of fat for sustainable energy to last through your workout. A good pre-workout meal would be oatmeal with walnuts and cranberries or whole wheat toast with peanut butter. If you need to grab just a quick snack that will enter the bloodstream slowly then an apple, orange, or raw carrots are all good choices. The pre-workout meal should be eaten about one hour before your workout.
LOVE THE MUSCLES
After a strenuous workout you will need to quickly refuel the glucose stores which are now depleted and give your body some protein to allow the muscle to rebuild. Foods that enter the bloodstream rapidly are good choices for recovery and refueling post exercise, from the carb standpoint opt for a banana, orange juice, or watermelon. The post workout protein should be low fat protein option such as beans, greens, legumes, other low fat protein filled foods or a protein shake. A couple of good examples for a post workout meal would be a protein shake, or a sandwich with some clean protein with a glass of orange juice, some yogurt with fresh fruit and some seeds like pumpkin seeds/hemp seeds/chia seeds/sunflower seeds.
LAST MINUTE GUIDANCE
Please always remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Stop eating when you feel full- NOT when your plate is empty. Keep “emergency foods” such as raw almonds, trail mix or protein bars in your bag/car so that you are never forced to make terrible dietary decisions.
With all of this I wish you well and hope that you will ask yourself one question before you decide whether or not to lace up your sneakers, or whether or not to take a bite….
“Is this what I want for my life?”
Why Do I Need to Eat Breakfast?
Mom was right! You do need to eat breakfast. If “because Mom said so”, isn’t good enough for you then keep reading and I will explain the science behind the need for some morning nourishment.
Let’s start with the name,BREAK – FAST (breakfast), when you wake up in the morning it is your bodies’ natural time of day to break the fast. You have burned through all of the fuel from the day before and your body needs some nourishment now to get this new day started. If you choose not to give it food your body will burn muscle for fuel instead. (If you are one of my clients you know how hard we work to build muscle to improve our body composition and boost our metabolism- PLEASE do not give that muscle away so easily!)
The plot thickens…. Assuming you skipped breakfast you are heading into starvation mode. Three things happen now; (1) Your body is going to store the calories that you do finally eat as adipose tissue (fat) in preparation for the next time you try to starve it. (2) Your metabolism slows way down to conserve energy. This means that activities performed will yield a lower amount of caloric expenditure because your body is trying to save energy. (3) Your serotonin levels have dropped (these control cravings) and now the candy bowl is a real threat.
If I have convinced you to eat breakfast and now you are wondering, “But what do I eat?” relax, I would not leave you hanging like that! A breakfast rich in protein and fiber with some heart healthy fat is going to leave you feeling satiated and with will-power strong enough to pass up on the tastiest “no-no” snacks. Think vegan sausage with veggies (scramble) and whole wheat toast, or oatmeal with walnuts and cranberries. If you are in a hurry then at least grab a piece of whole wheat toast and smack some peanut butter on it. Whatever you do, be sure that you include at least a bit of protein and fat, because if you do not then you can kiss your will-power goodbye for the day.
Breakfast does not have to be huge, but it must be present and it must be satisfying. Remember to drink plenty of water so that dehydration doesn’t creep in and make you think you are hungry. Listen to your body and eat small portions of nutrient rich foods to keep your body fueled up, then it will trust you enough to release calories as you work hard to burn them off! As I always say, a series of good decisions is all it takes, and each one brings you a step closer to being your best self!
How to Lose Weight and Maintain a Healthy Weight
The most frequent question that I get is “How do I lose weight?” Quite honestly it’s not a complicated solution; the difficulty is really just in the consistency piece. Here are the 5 areas that need your attention and follow through. If you get these 5 areas right, you can surely reach your goal weight and maintain your weight loss for a lifetime.
1) Eat nutrient dense foods.
It’s true what they say about calories in/calories out, however, not all calories are created alike, and they will not be processed by your body in the same manner. Eat whole grains rather than white breads, rice, etc. Foods that contain a lot of sugar and not much protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins or minerals, etc. are not likely to do your body any good. Carbs are a necessary component for basic brain and body function, but eat the good, natural carbs that contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.
2) Pay attention to portion sizes.
Look at the serving size, and eat one serving only. Take a look at the size of your plates/bowls/cups then measure out how much you would normally put into your dish, if you are constantly eating multiple servings it’s going to be very hard to burn off all of those extra calories every day. Maybe it’s time to buy smaller dishes if you have a hard time with a half empty cereal bowl. At restaurants, try drinking a glass of water before you eat, then stop eating when you are no longer hungry- NOT when the plate is empty. A couple of other restaurant practices are sharing a plate or save half for lunch/dinner tomorrow.
3) Be a clock watcher.
Eat small portions often. As stated above, only eat until you are no longer hungry. Plan to eat something every 2-3 hours. This means that you need to pack snacks and plan ahead. When we wait until we are extremely hungry before eating we tend to reach for ANYTHING to eat, rather than something that is good for us. Fueling your body with just enough food throughout the day keeps you feeling energized and gives your body only as much food as it can burn through at a time. No more belly aches and guilty conscience!
4. Stay Hydrated.
Drink water all day. Headaches and hunger are often linked to dehydration. Stay hydrated with water to avoid wasting calories on drinks, and with the often recommended 8 glasses per day you may discover that you are hungry less often too. Dehydration may also be the reason for your mid-day slump.
If you are not exercising at all right now then start slow, with 3-5 days of about 30 minutes of exercise, even walking will do. Add more days/time/intensity as you can take on more. Listen to your body and challenge yourself!
Give it a shot, you will be surprised at what you can do! A series of good decisions is all it takes, and each one brings you a step closer to being your best self! You deserve to meet your best self this year, don’t you?
Break through your plateau! Sugar and other nutrition facts you are ignoring!
If it were a snake it would bite you! Nutrition labels are right in front of us, the trouble is most people don’t really know how to read them. Some people think they only need to review calories and fat, but the other details are keeping you stuck in a plateau.
Let’s preface this conversation:
Before we get into it, let me just say that if you are someone who works out religiously and you eat like a saint, but you love to party and binge drink on the weekends or chug a few beers every night then there is no need for you to read this article…we have uncovered the source of your beer belly and likewise, the reason for your plateau. If you are not the drinker I just described, keep reading!
The BIG One:
Let’s start with the big one, SUGAR. There are multiple types of sugar, and almost everything has some sugar in it. A little bit is not an issue, but you probably have no idea how much sugar you are actually eating. Whenever you see a word ending in “ose” in an ingredient list, sugar is present (glucose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, galactose, dextrose, mannose, saccharose, etc). It’s darn near everywhere! We need to start looking at how much sugar is in our food and determine what we can eat instead of those high sugar options. I am asking you to make better choices. Here are a couple of examples:
Have a calculator or smart phone handy at grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, whatever...if it’s going in your belly you need to know what’s in it! Minimize saturated fat and sugar. Maximize whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables. Fresh fruit is good because it’s nutrient dense and let’s face it, the obesity epidemic was not caused by people eating too much fresh fruit! Many fruits are high in water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants too! Eat a variety of foods; and be sure to include a minimum of 5 servings of fruit and veggies!
If you already knew everything I just told you and you are still banging your head against the wall because of a plateau then it must be time to change up your workout, vary your routine, my friend!
Juicing- One magnificent part of the whole picture
In wellness as in all things in life, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That said, I feel that juicing is one magnificent tool to have at your disposal as you live a healthy, happy, fruitful life. There are a million and one good reasons to juice, here are a few:
I hope that you decide to include fresh juice as a part of your healthy nutrition plan. Fresh natural juices are a fantastic addition to any diet, but they do not have any fat and very little protein, so a juice is not a complete meal by itself. It is a supplement to your optimal wellness.
The side effects have been proven to be fantastic, here are a few:
You can juice nearly any fresh produce you can find, except maybe bananas, they just get mushy. Start with things that you enjoy and use portions that taste good to you. You can find ideas for juice combinations all over the internet, but I will offer you this; lemon and lime are very useful in reducing the bitterness of kale, and other dark leafy greens. Also, it is best to store your juice in a glass mason jar, and you and the family should consume it within 24 hours of being juiced to receive the maximum benefit. Lastly, pay attention to how you feel and start slow…use what you like and start with about 6oz. at a time.
Here are some ideas to get you rolling…..
What’s In a Name?
Why “True 10 Fitness”? That’s easy, it’s the entire reason why I do what I do. How do you feel on a scale of 1-10? At a “1” you feel sad, you have pain, you are unhappy and unmotivated. At a “10” you feel alive and invigorated; you are actively participating in your life and you are engaged in activities that contribute to your health and wellbeing. At a “10” life is exhilarating, a “10” feels like LIVING, rather than just existing.
I have not always been in great physical condition. I know what it feels like to be severely overweight/obese. I understand the pain, shame and lack of energy that comes with being trapped in a body that is limiting. Drained, tired and uncomfortable are a few thoughts I recall. Please know that it doesn’t have to be that way, no matter who you are, or what your circumstance, you can make changes to improve your situation.
There are three major components to getting out of the unhealthy body and getting into a body that will let you be you…100% and gloriously, YOU. One step is physical activity. Your body was built to move, and bodies in motion stay in motion. Keep in mind that there is strength in numbers and if you can recruit someone to walk or do any activity with you that might be easier. If you don’t have someone, then create your support system via a group exercise class, running/walking club, or a personal trainer. A group setting is incredible because it allows you to become part of a community of like-minded people. Studies show that not only will this create a higher success rate for the sustainability of your new healthy lifestyle, but also you will get more joy out of it. A group class is a chance to make new friends and have more people to cheer you on, people who look forward to seeing you each class. Friendship and accountability are fantastic sources of motivation.
The next key component of getting well is feeding your body with good solid nutrition. Foods that are minimally processed contain much more nutrition than foods that are highly refined and chemically processed. Try to eat foods as close as possible to how they are found in nature, stay close to the earth. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Once you’ve got the exercise and nutrition pieces locked-in, you need to also take care of the emotional/mental side of the equation. This is where the WILL to continue is found. As you begin to change your lifestyle you need to change the self-talk that goes on in your head. Allow yourself to see that you are getting stronger. Congratulate yourself for your everyday victories, no matter how big or small. Be kind and respectful to yourself. Realize that you deserve to feel well and you deserve to be on this journey.
The name “True 10 Fitness” has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with you. This is where you come to discover your true potential, your True 10. We all start somewhere and we all stumble along the way. The key is to love yourself enough to be resilient and pick yourself up by your bootstraps when you fall. I have two closing thoughts that I pray you memorize and feed back to yourself when you need it, first, “You are worth it”, and secondly from the wise mind of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is your journey about your health and your HAPPY life. Keep your eye on the prize, and unless you are reaching down to help someone up, don’t worry about what other people are doing.
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