Let’s face it diets are sexy and enticing. You walk into the bookstore and they are a dozen books on the South Beach Diet, the Atkins diet the 17 day diet, all with pictures They pull you in with their promises of 10 pounds in 10 days, no need to workout, with checklists and times when you can eat certain foods. I am sure that you have heard it all-I know I have.
One thing is true….Diets don’t work. No for the long term. Sure they work for the initial week or two, the sense of accomplishment is motivating, but then you cheat. First it’s a day then two, they pretty soon you feel like a failure and have gained back the 10 lbs you lost, plus two. Or maybe you stick it out but then start to eat “real” food again and the weight creeps back on. It’s an endless cycle of diet, progress, backslide, which leads to dieting again. What if you could say good bye to that hellacious cycle and make lifelong changes that will help to change you…both physically and mentally? Luckily you can and there is no deprivation, no hunger pangs, no feeling of failure if you eat a cookie. Sounds sexy and appealing right?
5 changes you can make today to feel better tomorrow.
#1 Drink more water…
The benefits of water are often overlooked. Water helps detoxify, lubricate our joints, stave off hunger, boost our metabolism and our immune system. Add lemon, lime to help make it more palatable if you desire but be careful the additives aren’t out weighing the benefits by containing too much sugar.
#2 Crowd out
Eating well is like a muscle-you have to use it to make it stronger, and the more foods that you eat that are good for you, the less appetizing junk foods will be. Don’t deny yourself just add more beneficial foods in like fruits, veggies and whole grains. You will be surprised how quickly your palate reawakens.
#3 Say “I Don’t” not “I Can’t”
Saying “I Can’t” disempowers you, it slows progress and it will stunt your success. “I don’t” puts the control in your court, it says that you are making a choice.
I can’t eat fast food…surely you can. I don’t eat fast food…oh ok well thats another story altogether.
#4 Grocery Shopping
The grocery store is a health and wellness nightmare. If you can shop at farmers markets, however if you must shop at a supermarket make sure you make a list & stick to the perimeter. Be an educated shopper, know the deadly dozen, know how to read a label and beware of GMO’s.
#5 CHEW your food
We are always in a rush. But eating quickly is puts us at a disadvantage for eating well. Chewing is the first step of digestion and an important one. If we chew slowly we give the digestive system ample time to do its stop-that is to tell us when we have had enough. Next time you eat try and chew your food 50 times-difficult isn’t it? But notice how many more flavors and textures you experience and how much quicker you feel satiated.
Lifestyle changes are lifelong changes and what works for someone else may not work for you. Experiment try new things. Make notes of what works and what doesn’t. Remember why choose failure when success is an option!
Have you hit a plateau, not seeing the results you want with your fitness regimen? Are you ready to bring your training to the next level? What to eat pre and post workout can help maximize the benefit of the workout and extends those benefits all the way through the day and into your next training session, yet is one of the most overlooked areas of nutrition for most athletes.
To break it down simply…
– What you eat before (and if needed, during) your workout is crucial for fueling the workout itself and maximizing your performance throughout.
– What you eat after your workout is crucial for optimizing the recovery process (which basically begins as soon as your workout ends) and ensuring that your body has all of the supplies it needs in order to recover, adapt and improve the way you want it to.
Pre Workout Meal…
Consider this meal as the “energy or fuel” phase for your workout. On a basic level the purpose of this meal is to provide enough energy for you to optimally perform and maximize your workout. At times this may even include a during workout meal such as when you are long distance running or hiking for long periods of time. On a more complex level your pre workout meal helps reduce muscle glycogen depletion, reduce muscle protein breakdown and reduces post workout cortisol levels.
With that being said your pre workout meal needs to consist of 2 things…Carbs and Protein. If you are a numbers person there is a formula for this…For a 60-90 minute workout you need:
Protein = 0.25g per pound of your target body weight.
Carbs = 0.25g per pound of your target body weight.
Now I love working the formulas and tracking my numbers, but for me the novelty wears off in a week or two when real life catches up. So I make a list of good pre-workout meals and stick it in the inside of one of my cupboards. That way when I am pressed for time I don’t have any excuses to fall back on. Ideally you should have this an hour to two pre workout.
Post Workout Meal…
Whereas the pre workout meal is your “fuel or energy phase”, post workout is the “anabolic phase” or “rebuilding phase.”
The goals of the “rebuild” phase are to replenish muscle glycogen that was depleted during your workout, and to reduce the muscle protein breakdown. Additionally it helps to increase muscle protein synthesis, reduces muscle soreness and fatigue. This meal helps to greatly enhance overall recovery, and to reduce cortisol levels (reducing cortisol levels are always good).
So what should your post workout meal consist of? Carbs and protein. Sound familiar? The previous formula also still applies but the time period to consume them in is a little tighter. Your post workout meal should always be within 60 minutes of your workout but ideally 30 minutes. Whats excellent about your post workout status is that you are literally a sponge at this point absorbing far more carbs and amino acids from protein then any other time during the day. With that being said you can get away with eating much more fast absorbing carbs (higher glycemic index) post workout. Again I like to keep a list of foods that
fit this profile on hand so that I can prep my meals easily without too much thought.
So there you have it. Although a pre and post workout meal is not rocket science it is often one of the most overlooked areas that can help bring your results to the next level. Over the next week make no changes to your diet and take note of what you normally eat pre and post workout and how you feel during your session as well as after, and throughout the day. During the second week start making changes. Notice that more often then not you get your post workout meal in 2 hours later? Pack a shake that you only have to add water to. Small changes can yield big results.
Stay tuned for the worst foods to eat pre and post workout as well as my cupboard cheat sheet of my pre and post workout meals.