Timing Out Meals and Quick Tips
By Courtney Werner
Timing: Many of you may feel you know what “healthy” foods are versus “unhealthy” foods. Unfortunately, more often than not, we are tricked into believing what is healthy based on how labels read and the jargon used. For example, food labels with “Cauliflower Mac and Cheese” may sound healthy, but truthfully it may have more calories and fat in it than Kraft Mac and Cheese. We think if it’s Paleo, we can consume as much as we want, but the fat content is probably higher than a non-Paleo meal. There is a lot to navigate with regards to eating healthy. Today I’m going to touch on when is the appropriate time to eat to maximize energy and recovery for your workout, as well as a few tips on how to live a lifestyle that includes eating healthy- without too many restrictions.
Based on eatright.org, it is recommended you consume protein and carbs 1-3 hours prior to working out. It has been shown that protein primes the muscles with amino acids, and the carbs fuel your body for the workout ahead. If you are the type of person who prefers to not eat before, eat lighter carbs that are easily digestible, such as fruit, energy bars, yogurt- something that will not affect your stomach-but provide the energy you need to sustain yourself for the hour long workout.
During your workout it is important to remain hydrated, having a water bottle on hand to take a couple of sips during the warmup, while standing at the board, and during the workout will help you to remain hydrated. I am the type of person that prefers to not drink while working out, but I make sure to hydrate plenty beforehand as well as right after. Try out all of the options to see what works best for you.
Within the hour of completing your workout, you want to make sure to replenish and rebuild your muscles. Eating protein will ensure your muscles are appropriately fueled to rebuild themselves. Good proteins to consume post workout are salmon, chicken, eggs, or a protein shake. You also need carbohydrates to refuel your body for restoring your glycogen stores. Sweet potatoes, chocolate milk, rice and fruits are all appropriate carbs to consume after a workout.
Tips: My biggest tip when shopping at the grocery store is to shop along the perimeter of the store. You should not need to go in the inner aisles for the bulk of your food. Fruits, veggies, and meats are hopefully the basis of your meals.
That being said, I strongly believe for the everyday person, that moderation is key, and that we all need to live a little with regards to being happy with what we consume daily. Making sure to have a starch, veggie, and meat (or protein source) is the most important first step you can take when planning out your meals. Once you’ve cleaned up your meals to include each of those in moderation (and without processed foods), you will then be able to consider the appropriate carbs, proteins and fat amounts for each meal. Do not cut everything out at once, small steps to achieve a big goal will help to make your goals more attainable.
Recap: If you workout in the mornings, try to wake up early enough to consume an energy source to sustain you throughout the whole workout. If you train in the evening, make sure to have a snack between your lunch and when you workout. If you know you won’t have a chance to have a well balanced meal within an hour of working out, have a snack on hand to have post workout. You don’t want to starve your muscles of the much needed recovery they need after a workout. Shop the perimeter of the store, and be proud of what you eat daily. Bodies are made in the kitchen, if you work hard in the gym, work just as hard in the kitchen!