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Don't waste your workout

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Posted at 2:32 PM, Mar 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 14:32:07-04

How many times have you finished a really tough workout or race and just wanted to go home and pig out on your favorites – maybe a burger, pizza or, like me, chocolate?

I know it’s happened to me more times than I’d like to admit, but nutrition is a key factor in attaining fitness goals.

Some experts say that fitness is 80 percent nutrition. Regardless of your fitness goals, you can’t separate nutrition and training.

It’s important to bookend your workouts with food, meaning don’t work out on an empty stomach and make sure you replenish your body afterward.

Nutriformance recommends you eat 2-3 hours before you work out, suggesting a meal with protein and carbohydrates. Then post workout, eat a protein and carb snack within 30 minutes and a meal within two hours.

You’ve probably heard it before: don’t waste your workout. It’s true, after training really hard, the last thing I want to do is waste it on a night of binge eating, even if that’s what my brain thinks I should do.

The solution?

Make sure you’re eating enough calories, fat and protein. I know fat seems counter-productive, but our bodies burn fat much more efficiently than sugar, so we should be replacing processed fats and refined sugars with good fats like Omega-3s found in fish and avocado and unrefined foods like fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure you’re eating enough protein from foods like chicken, beef and eggs. Aim for at least a fist-sized portion of protein at each meal.

There’s a lot of debate about how many meals you consume each day. Some say five to six smaller meals is best. I think that depends largely on your personal metabolism. I’ve tried a couple of things and found that three meals with a snack is best for me. The most important thing is what those meals consist of: natural, unrefined foods.

Lastly, but maybe most important is to stay hydrated. The American Heart Association gives recommendations for water intake here. I always have a water bottle with me. Other than my morning coffee, I drink water for the rest of the day.

Takeaways

  • Water, water and more water
  • Throw out those refined sugars and processed fats
  • Bookend your workouts

Hope this helps. Have a meal plan that works for you? Feel free to share with me kate.mills@wmar.com or follow me on Twitter @KateMills_ABC2

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