Lamborghini body above…
Physiology Doesn’t Discriminate.
No matter what you’ve got going on under the hood, if you’re not treating your body properly, it’s not going to perform. Doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to fitness and on the first day of our beginner plans or a high-caliber athlete breezing through our explosion workout . If you’re not properly fueled up, you’re not going to be able to perform. A very quick, and overly simplified physiology lesson; your body converts foods to glucose (carbs produce most glucose), glucose is fuel used by your body and is broken down into heat and ATP, the latter which stores and releases energy as needed. Moral of the story, doesn’t matter how fit you are, physiology is physiology.
Beat By An US Weekly Reader.
Okay, not really, but it was close. Just the other day I was in a hurry to get out of the house in the morning and skipped breakfast. I had about 3 cups of coffee before noon and wasn’t really in the mood to eat anything. I was locked in on the work I was doing (we just launched a website, as I’ve mentioned on here just a few times…) and never gave a second thought to lunch. Before I knew it, it was almost 3 o’clock, and just about time for my daily trek to the gym. It was a HIIT running day, so on the treadmill I went. I made it about 10 minutes and could tell I was already in trouble. The US Weekly chick next to me who was already 15 minutes ahead of me (yes, I check out the screens on other peoples’ treadmills…I’m abnormally competitive like that) was plodding along just fine. I was supposed to do 45 minutes of HIIT running; I made it another 8 minutes before I had to jump off; legs absolutely dead weight. Before getting off, I made sure I ran just a hair further than US Weekly chick…some things you can will yourself to do I suppose. The willpower stopped there and I completely skipped the quick core routine I had planned after the run. I was physically and mentally fatigued in a way I haven’t been in quite a while.
When To Eat.
It’s generally not a great idea to exercise on an empty stomach. For those early risers, try to eat before you head out. Your body is often depleted of carbohydrates during your nightly fast, so something 20 minutes before exercise is recommended. If you’re a mid-day exerciser, you should already be eating regularly throughout the day. Try to avoid anything heavy immediately before exercise; shoot for a balanced meal 90 minutes-2 hours before exercise, and a light snack later on if you need to eat again.
What To Eat.
What to eat depends largely on how soon you’re eating before exercise. Check out this breakdown below for some basic info on what you should fuel your body with:
Less than 60 minutes before exercise – fast burning simple carbs to provide an instant burst of energy
- Watermelon, banana, oranges, or grapes
- Energy gel packet
- 8 oz. of sport drink
- Coffee (this is my own personal favorite pre-workout “meal”. May not work for everyone.)
- Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce
- Oatmeal with fresh berries*
- Whole wheat bagel with jam*
- Brown rice with grilled chicken
- Greek yogurt with granola
- Turkey sandwich on whole wheat
- Yogurt based smoothie with a little protein powder*
Exercise Done. Now What?
So you’re all finished, got through the workout, and just got home. This is one of the most important meal times of the day. Your muscles were beaten down, and now crave amino acids. To accomplish this, make yourself a nice whey protein drink, but be sure to consume it within 30 minutes of ending exercise; the sooner the better! Feel free to mix it with a little milk or water, and get it down. When you feed your hungry muscles, you’ll realize more progression. Some will recommend adding a simple carb into the shake to further increase the intake of protein, i.e. add a banana, etc. I’ve heard dietary professionals go both ways on this one. Personally, I think it you’re trying to gain weight, a couple extra calories wouldn’t hurt. If you’re trying to cut weight, I’d suggest skipping the simple carb.
Honda Civic body in all its glory…
When it’s all said and done, the food you put into your diet is going to dictate how well you exercise. Someone living on fast food, fried food, and little balance is going to have a tough time getting in shape, not just because they’re eating horribly, but because they don’t have the proper nutrition to put the work in. You all know that sluggish, tired, “It’s-only-one-day-so-I-can-skip-the-gym” feeling…you better believe a poor diet can bring this feeling on. Stay fueled up all day and you’ll be ready (and even a little excited) to hit the gym hard and watch your body progress.