Are you eating THIS?
Ok, so you’ve gotten in the habit of moving your body.
Maybe you want to drop a few pounds. Gain some energy. Sleep better. Or even live longer.
And exercise can do all that and more.
Or maybe you’re just sick of me bringing it up. (Fair.)
No matter what the reason, good for you.
Getting up and moving is the hard part.
Now, the trick to making it a little easier each day to reach your goals, feel energy during your workout, and recover faster afterwards – is no big secret.
It’s all about how you fuel your body, before you start, and when you’re done.
My routine has changed over the years. I used to subscribe to the idea of working out in the morning on a completely empty stomach.
The idea is that you burn more fat that way. But more recent research definitely calls this into question. And actually points to you burning muscle for fuel when your tank is empty, the last thing you want to do.
Plus, when I workout with nothing in my system, I feel lethargic and slow.
So, my recommendation is to get a little something in your stomach before you start, so you’re not thinking about being hungry, and you have a spark of energy to work from.
It doesn’t have to be much.
A piece of fruit (an apple, or banana), a quick smoothie, or yogurt with some nuts or dried fruit. A mix of complex carbs and a little protein is a good rule of thumb. (I like some nut butter with my fruit.)
I’m also a coffee drinker, which actually is a Godsend when it comes to exercise. A cup of coffee not only wakes you up, it will boost your performance considerably (the research proves it).
Just don’t overdo it. Jittery is no way to exercise.
Ok, so now you’ve worked out. A jog or brisk walk, some weight work, a bike ride – whatever your routine is, as long as you’re moving enough to get your blood pumping, work up a little sweat, and it requires some effort.
Congratulate yourself. Well done.
Now, what you eat after your workout is even more important. Because the right fuel aids recovery, and helps muscles repair themselves, and come back stronger.
This is where protein is your best friend. I find exercise makes me hungry, especially if I push myself. A healthy smoothie, with clean protein, fruit, nut milk and whatever other spices and veggies I’ve got on hand… this is my salvation.
It fills me up, feels like a reward, and gets to work in my body, while patching me up from the inside.
You can also snack on hard boiled eggs, sprouted or whole grain toast with nut butter, or a protein bar, for variety.
Be careful with these bars though. All too often, they’re loaded with sugar and simple carbs, which will leave you feeling hungry later, and set you up for a crash.
Which is why I prefer a smoothie to a bar. I know exactly what’s going in there, and they’re less expensive too.
Everybody (and every body) is different. Experiment a little, to find the right fuel for you.
I don’t recommend something too out of the ordinary, especially if you’re working out away from home (or you’re heading out to the local 5K).
Nobody wants a surprise tummy ache, or worse, interrupting their exercise. Stick to clean and healthy, and once you find the fuel that works for you, you’ll actually crave it.
And after your workout, you’ll deserve it too!