Fueling Your Workouts: What to Eat Before and After for Optimal Performance and Recovery on Vancouver Island

Fueling Your Workouts: What to Eat Before and After for Optimal Performance and Recovery on Vancouver Island

Pre-workout, post-workout​If you’re looking to maximize your workouts and achieve your fitness goals, it’s essential to pay attention to your diet. What you eat before and after your workouts can make a big difference in terms of energy, performance, and recovery. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of eating the right foods at the right time, and provide you with some ideas for pre- and post-workout meals.

Why Eating Before Your Workout is Important

Many people believe that working out on an empty stomach can help burn more fat. However, research has shown that your body burns the same amount of fat whether you eat before or not. In fact, working out on an empty stomach can lead to muscle loss, slow your metabolism, and make it harder for you to lose weight in the long run.

When you’re hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle instead of from your kidneys and liver, where the body normally looks for protein. This can cause muscle mass loss, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Plus, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you’re not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session. Not giving proper fuel to your body before a workout is like ‘driving a car on empty.’ You also might not have enough energy to maximize your workout, and you limit your ability to burn calories.

What to Eat Before Your Workout

The best pre-workout food contains some form of complex carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are digested faster than fat or protein, and this is important, as eating too much fat or protein or even a large-carb meal within two hours before a workout will drive blood flow to the stomach, not the muscles. Carbohydrates are rapidly used up during a workout, leaving fat as the fuel the body will burn once the workout gets started. Avoid saturated fats and even a lot of healthy protein — because these types of fuels digest slower in your stomach and take away oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles. The key is to consume easily digested carbohydrates, so you don’t feel sluggish. Here are some of my favorite snacks to keep me energized during my workout without weighing me down:

  • Banana with almond butter (2 tablespoons)
  • Multi-grain crackers (10) with hummus (3 tablespoons)
  • Apple and walnuts (1/4 cup)

The Importance of Eating After Your Workout

During exercise, your body uses the fuel stored in your muscles known as glycogen for energy. After workout, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down. Eating (or drinking) something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism burning strong. Research shows that your body’s ability to refill muscle stores decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just two hours after your workout compared to eating right away after your workout.

What to Eat After Your Workout

According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, consuming protein and a little carbohydrate is best immediately after exercise. Here are some ideas for foods to eat after your training sessions to help speed up recovery, maximize exercise benefits, and help maintain lean muscle to aid in weight loss:

  • Protein shake made with half of a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk, and hemp seeds (excellent protein source)
  • Salad with roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup), light olive oil, and vinegar
  • Sautéed or steamed vegetables (1 cup) with non-GMO tofu (1/2 cup)
  • Quinoa bowl (1 cup) with blackberries (1 cup) and pecans (1/4 cup)
  • Burrito with beans (1/2 cup), brown rice (1/2 cup), guacamole (2 tablespoons), and salsa
  • A quarter cup of sliced grapes mixed into half a cup of cottage cheese
  • A quarter cup of blueberries mixed with half a cup of yogurt
Hydration Matters: Why Drinking Water is Crucial for Health and Fitness

Hydration Matters: Why Drinking Water is Crucial for Health and Fitness

Drinking water, benefits of water, dehydration, joint pain, digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system, sugary drinks, soft drinks, diuretics, minerals, disease prevention​Water is an essential substance on Earth, as all plants and animals require it to survive. The human body is made up of around two-thirds water, and it plays a vital role in almost all of our body’s functions. Despite this, many people don’t drink enough water and may be unaware of the many benefits it provides.

In this article, we will discuss why you should be drinking water, its benefits, and how sugary drinks can negatively impact your health. We will also provide tips for increasing your water intake and maintaining good hydration levels.

Why You Should Be Drinking Water

Water is essential to our survival, and our bodies require it to function correctly. If we do not drink enough water, it can lead to dehydration, which can cause a range of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, joint pain, constipation, and indigestion. It can also lead to more severe conditions such as colitis, kidney stones, bladder and urinary tract infections, and more.

Even a slight decrease of 2% in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration, including daytime fatigue, fuzzy short-term memory, and difficulty focusing. It’s estimated that 75% of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration, and for 37% of Americans, their thirst mechanism is so weak that it’s often mistaken for hunger.

Drinking water is also crucial for weight loss. One University of Washington study found that one glass of water shut down hunger for almost 100% of dieters. When you drink water before meals, it can help you feel full, and you’ll consume fewer calories. Additionally, consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration, where the body’s cells are never quite hydrated enough, leaving them in a weakened state and vulnerable to attack from disease.

Benefits of Drinking Water

Water serves as a lubricant in digestion and almost all other body processes. It also lubricates our joints and cartilages, allowing them to move more fluidly. Less lubrication equals greater friction, which can cause joint, knee, and back pain, potentially leading to injuries and arthritis.

Water is also essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and chemical reactions. It transports waste material out of our bodies and helps to remove toxins from the body, particularly from the digestive tract. Water is also necessary for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available, the more fat it will burn for energy. Without the presence of oxygen in the bloodstream, the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only does your body burn more of your fat stores when well hydrated, but the increased oxygen levels will give you more energy too.

Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in it can actually reduce fat deposits.

Sugary Drinks Don’t Hydrate You (Water Does!)

While many people consume beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol, soft and sugary drinks, water should be your primary choice for hydration. These beverages are all diuretics and will cause not only the loss of water, but they will also diminish the body’s water reserves. Most fluids should be replaced by drinking pure water. The rest you should get from fruit, vegetables, and their juices.

It’s difficult for the body to get water from any other source than water itself. Soft drinks and alcohol steal tremendous amounts of water from the body. Other beverages such as coffee and tea are diuretics and steal precious water from the body.

There is no health reason to drink sports drinks: “Most experts agree that water works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages for moderate exercise.”

If you want to learn more I recommend you the book “The Body’s Many Cries for Water” is a book written by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, a medical doctor who claims that many diseases and ailments are caused by chronic dehydration. In the book, Dr. Batmanghelidj explains that the human body requires a certain amount of water to function properly, and that many people do not drink enough water to meet their body’s needs.

The book is based on Dr. Batmanghelidj’s own experiences treating prisoners in Iran during the 1979 revolution, where he had limited access to medication and other resources. He found that many of the prisoners were suffering from various health problems, which he was able to alleviate by simply prescribing them water.

Dr. Batmanghelidj argues that chronic dehydration can lead to a range of health problems, including asthma, allergies, arthritis, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many others. He believes that many of these conditions can be prevented or cured by simply drinking more water.

The book provides a detailed explanation of the science behind dehydration and the various ways in which it can affect the body. Dr. Batmanghelidj also offers practical advice on how to ensure that you are drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated.

While some of Dr. Batmanghelidj’s claims have been met with skepticism by the medical community, his book has been popular among those who believe in the importance of hydration and its potential health benefits. Many people who have read the book report that they have experienced improvements in their health after increasing their water intake.

Overall, “The Body’s Many Cries for Water” is an interesting read for anyone who is interested in the science of hydration and its potential impact on health and well-being.

Achieving Optimal Alignment: The Importance of Posture and How to Improve Yours

Achieving Optimal Alignment: The Importance of Posture and How to Improve Yours

Posture check, perfect posture, bone stacking, spine health, muscular foundation, body alignment, weight distribution, knee alignment, pelvis position, neutral spine, upper chest opening, head placementHow to Perfect Your Posture: A Step-by-Step Guide

In Western medicine, doctors often treat the symptoms rather than the cause of ailments. Many pains and aches in the body could be prevented by maintaining a balanced posture, which allows the body to rely on the correct muscles and relax the unnecessary ones. A strong muscular foundation helps create more ease and prevent issues that may arise from poor posture.​

Bone Stacking: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Bone stacking refers to aligning the bones vertically to create more strength in the body. Essentially, it means striving to have a nice vertical line from the ankle to the ear. Achieving proper bone stacking helps maintain the integrity of the spine, reducing the risk of injury and promoting optimal functioning of the body.

Posture Check: Starting From the Ground Up

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, with your weight equally distributed on both feet. To take this further, try to feel equal weight at the base of your big toe, pinky toe, and heel. Visualize a triangle that links these three points under your feet. If you are barefoot or wearing shoes that allow it, lift all your toes up, spread them, and then put them back down. Shift your body weight forward and back from your toes to your heels and side to side before finding the perfect place where your weight is evenly distributed. Remember, your posture should not be static, but a constant awareness of alignment, engagement, and relaxation of the right muscles. You can also try grabbing something with your toes to help lift the arch of your feet.

Moving up the Leg: Stopping at Your Knees

Are your knees locked? If so, make sure you keep your knees soft. Hyperextending your legs, which means keeping them totally straight, can create tension in the lower back. Instead, feel the connection between your knees and lower back. When you slightly bend your knees, you can more easily place your pelvis in a neutral position, elongating the lower back. Also, make sure that your knees align with your second toe.

Pelvis: Neutral Position Is Key

Place your pelvis in a neutral position. Imagine your pelvis is a bowl of water that you don’t want to spill. Make sure the bowl stays even without spilling by pointing the tailbone down, engaging lower abs, and keeping the glute muscles relaxed. Bring the rib cage down, engaging upper abs. When you breathe in, feel the air filling the rib cage sideways and back instead of just pushing it forward.

Posture check, perfect posture, bone stacking, spine health, muscular foundation, body alignment, weight distribution, knee alignment, pelvis position, neutral spine, upper chest opening, head placementUpper Chest: Roll the Shoulders Up, Back, and Down

Roll your shoulders up, back, and down to create an opening in the upper chest. Try rolling your shoulders back, turning the palms of your hands forward, and feeling the upper back muscles firing. Release the palms of your hands toward your body in a neutral position while maintaining your upper body externally rotated.

Head Placement: Mind Your Head

Many people feel tension in the upper back and neck area because their head is often pushed forward. To help bring your head back, place your ear above your shoulder and try tucking your chin in. You might need to exaggerate it at first, like if you were trying to create a double chin. Finally, try to extend from the top of your head, as if you are making your spine as long as possible.

How Often Should You Check Your Posture?

Commit to doing a posture check multiple times a day. With practice, it will become automatic, and you’ll engage the right muscles and relax the unnecessary ones. Checking your posture will help prevent issues that may arise from poor posture over time. Remember, the same posture rules apply when sitting.