It is a common metaphor to compare our bodies to cars and it couldn’t be more true. Your body is like a Ferrari. You wouldn’t get on the freeway and drive without oil and gas.
Think of your body the same way. It needs very specific fuel and nutrition so that it runs optimally, performs, and gives you its best so that you can reach your goals.
The point of a workout is to go into it supremely energized and primed so you can challenge yourself beyond your current ability. Your body is a machine. Eating something before a workout gives you the foundation to work your hardest so you are building the most amount of muscle possible and getting the most from your workout of choice. This will help boost your metabolism and therefore create a flame that burns calories. When you become more fit, you have the ability to burn off body fat more efficiently.
You want a combination of easily digestible protein paired with a moderately fast carbohydrate. I suggest that you eat an easily digestible protein and carb-rich snack 30 minutes before you head out, such as a glass of skim milk, non-fat yogurt or a low-fat string cheese with an apple. With this said, the harder or longer your workout is, the more important the snack becomes.
After a long road trip, I like to fill my car with gas again before I get home. Our bodies are the same. A five mile run or one hour of weight lifting burns energy and “stresses” muscles. Post workout, it is essential to get food into your body immediately to refuel and begin the recovery process.
I often start this process while walking out of the gym locker room. The goal of your post-workout snack is 1) to provide fast proteins to muscles so they can begin the recovery process (this may help prevent muscle soreness, and will ensure a great workout tomorrow) and 2) provide fast carbohydrates to restore muscle and liver glycogen levels and to stabilize your blood sugar. After a workout, your body has a stronger propensity to refuel. Meaning, what you put in will be absorbed and utilized more effectively than if you wait 1-2 hours to eat.
The laboratory world of food science has proven that some foods get “assimilated” faster in your body than others. For example, dairy gets absorbed much faster than beef and table sugar gets absorbed faster than strawberries. It’s beneficial to choose a combination of protein and carbohydrate that will pass through your digestion system quickly so that they can be assimilated into your muscles, liver and brain.
You have a unique window after workouts where your body will utilize nutrition faster. Therefore, you want to choose fuels that partner with this process. Faster refuel means faster recovery. This is why sports nutrition products exist. Professional athletes know that their performance is dependent on fuel that is engineered to work with the needs of their body.
Real foods should be the cornerstone of your diet, but utilize scientifically engerineed foods immediately before, during or after workouts. This will help you maximize your workouts and fitness level. Try a Promax bar to provide you with the energy and protein to fuel and recover faster.
Okay, the top three sugar-coated holidays are coming up and you need to be ready for them! Instead of pretending like you’re not going to partake in this year’s candy corn, turkey stuffing, or Grandma’s secret pink Jell-o recipe this Christmas, get your body trained and ready… the good times are coming!
Morning Metabolism Wake-Up
The best thing you can do for your metabolism is to WAKE IT UP and get it moving, first thing in the morning!
Drink 16 oz. water.
Three rounds of:
> 10 Air Squats – Keep your weight in your heels and chest up.
> 10 Push-Ups – Chest to the floor! Drop to your knees if you have to.
> 10 Sit-Ups – Push those heels into the floor.
Eat a clean, simple breakfast. (My favorite is eggs, zucchini and avocado.)
Make your bed! This does not burn fat, but you’ll feel better throughout the day knowing you would make your mother proud!
Lunchtime (not party time)
Just like any race, those who are the most prepared usually take home the gold! Packing your own lunch is the best way to prevent “mid-day regret syndrome” which usually includes fast food, high-carb sugary snacks and wrestling with the vending machine monster! Some foods I pack with me are: lunch meat, full fat cheese, nuts and vegetables. I always have gluten-free Promax bars with me to snack on throughout the day and to keep me from getting hungry and making bad choices! It also helps that they are delicious tasting!
Winner, Winner, Protein Dinner!
Because carbohydrates are never hard to find, I like to prepare my meals around my protein! Chicken, steak or fish are usually the spotlight of my dinners, with fibrous vegetables as the sideshow! Asparagus, broccoli and brussel sprouts are great steamed or sautéed in coconut oil. Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats like avocado, fatty fish and nuts to your diet. They will help you feel fuller, longer, carry essential nutrients through your body and are a natural source of energy!
As our schedules get busier and busier we have to make sure we keep our health a priority. The only way I make sure to get my workout in is to make it mandatory in my schedule! What time you train is up to you, but if you are tired, drained or wiped out at the end of the day, I would recommend getting your Sweat On in the morning so you never miss a workout! I am including one of my favorite “no excuses” workouts I do whenever I don’t have time and can’t make it into the gym!
Five rounds of:
> 10 Air Squats – Getting that booty LOW.
> 8 Push-Ups – Touch the floor with your chest and drop to your knees if you have to.
> 6 Lunge Jumps – Keep weight in heels and chest up. Jump straight into the air and switch legs before landing.
> 4 V-Ups – Keep legs and arms straight.
> Two Minutes of Jump Rope (or 100 High Knees if you don’t have a rope).
On August 28th, Promax hosted a live Twitter event with fitness expert, Joel Harper and seasoned dietician, Julie Feldman. Harper provides nutrition and fitness advice, from Dr. Oz to elite athletes and celebrities. Feldman has been a practicing dietician for 13 years and is the author of “Grocery Makeover: Small Changes for Big Results”.
These two incredibly knowledgeable people answered a variety of questions and gave excellent tips about maximizing effort and time in the kitchen, and in a workout, to get the best results.
We highlighted a couple of the key questions and answers from our exclusive event—read on below!
Q: Julie, in your book “Grocery Makeover”, you mention three things people should focus on to achieve a healthy lifestyle. What are they?
A: First off, eat low-sugar, high-fiber foods coupled with lean protein to keep insulin production low. It is important to know that insulin is a fat storage hormone. Secondly, develop a game plan. The biggest mistake is thinking that being healthy is easy. Being healthy, successfully, requires planning. Thirdly, be a mindful eater. We are casual with what we eat. Raising awareness and mindfulness is critical.
Q: Joel, people tend to have less time to work out. What are some tips to get an effective workout with minimal time?
A: Pick exercises that use multiple body parts at the same time. Always push yourself. Don’t dilly-dally. Be your own coach instead of wasting time talking about it. Remember to listen to music that pumps your energy level up and makes you want to work harder and quicker. Lastly, plan your workout to ensure that you are as efficient as possible.
Q: Joel, how vital is protein consumption before/during/after a workout?
A: I can’t be clearer by saying that protein is CRITICAL to consume. Your body needs it. You always want to eat it within 30 minutes of working out. I always have a Promax bar in my bag. Protein has its hands in every critical function of the body. If you are exercising, you are breaking down muscle during the activity and you want to repair it afterwards with proper nutrition. The protein needs of active people are higher and influenced by the length, frequency and intensity of a workout.
Q: Julie, in your book, “Grocery Makeover: Small Changes for Big Results” you discuss the convenience of protein bars in your diet and the key food facts to look for in a bar. What are they and which bar do you recommend?
A: In our busy and harried lives, there exists a need for nonperishable sources of balanced nutrition. In my clinical practice, I find bars to be an exceptional option. If your bar is going to provide nutrition as a snack, it must have three grams of fiber. If your bar is intended to replace a meal, I aim higher and hope for at least five grams of fiber per bar.
Unless you are on a protein-restricted diet, it is essential to incorporate protein each time you eat. A meal should do more in the way of providing protein. Ideally, a meal replacement bar would have between 14 and 21 grams of protein per serving. Promax LS bars fit the bill, offering 18 grams of protein.
Avoid adding bars to your diet that are filled with unnecessary ingredients, including sugar alcohols. For example, if a bar sounds too good to be true because it has zero grams of sugar, be sure to keep reading (the label). By swapping a satisfying bar for one that hardly makes the grade, you will notice that you feel full for significantly longer and that your energy level is improved as well.
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