Some of you may not know that I am an avid outdoors woman. I love being out in nature and some of my favourite activities are hiking and canoing. What I don’t love about canoing is paddling upstream. For short amounts of time no problem but for the most part, I like to go with the flow… I am able to go farther, faster and enjoy my journey that much more. What does that have to do with cardio? For me, I try to do the same with my exercise program. As much as I can I go with the flow and avoid paddling upstream. This means scheduling it in my calendar, wearing the right clothes and shoes, doing things I enjoy or learning to enjoy the results and eating properly before and afterwards.
When you are trying to decide what to eat before and after your workout think about timing and quality.
Eating well before a workout means eating early enough beforehand that you are no longer expending energy digesting but not so early that you don’t have the energy to work out to your full potential.
Eating well before a workout means choosing high quality foods that are nutrient dense and ideally are comprised of a protein, carb and fat. The closer to your workout your meal/snack is the less fat and protein it should contain.
Here is a small example of what you may look for in a pre-workout snack or meal:
- A full meal – at least 2 hours before a workout – 5 oz grilled fish with 1/2 cup brown rice and a side salad.
- A small meal – at least 1 hour before a workout – protein smoothie with 25 grams protein powder and 1 cup fruit and 1 tbsp flax oil.
- A small snack – approximately 1/2 hour before a workout – a piece of fruit ie. banana (if you are really hungry add a small handful of nuts or 1 oz cheese).
After your workout, think about replenishing your energy stores with a small amount of protein and some easily digestible carbs. For example, fruit and nuts, crackers and cheese, protein smoothie, cottage cheese and blueberries, 1/2 tuna salad sandwich etc. I know that some of you will try to forgo this post workout snack thinking you will burn more calories but trust me, your body doesn’t work this way. Replenish and you will not be famished by your next meal which allows you to keep your portions under control and allows you to choose the right foods (rather than the easiest foods). This post exercise snack will also keep your metabolism revving and help you BURN FAT!!
Remember ladies, stop paddling up stream…go with the flow and you will always achieve more, go farther and enjoy your journey.
Christine is a yoga instructor, personal trainer and nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and womens health at Four Forty Fitness for Women in Burlington, Ontario. Check out the website at www.fourfortyfitness.ca