You just ran for 45 minutes on the treadmill. You worked your abs, biceps and glutes better than you have in weeks. And, to top it off, you beat out your BFF with crunches. Your adrenaline is pumping, and the serotonin is flowing (those feel good brain chemicals that make you happier, perkier and wiser!) So, two hours after this incredible workout session, why are you feasting on burgers and fries?
If this sounds all too familiar, it may be time to remind you of that get-fit rule #1: fatty, carb-heavy food will ruin your workout, not complement your workout! Are you in the habit of working out hard only to eat even harder? Do you wonder why your weight loss has come to a halt even though you’re spending a longer time at the gym? It’s all in the food. You are what you eat they say and when it comes to getting fit, reaching your goals, losing weight or gaining muscle, it is oh so true. If you want to max out your workout, start with smart food choices. Then, hit the gym and burn more calories, shed more fat and train at the optimal level you desire.
Food Rule #1 – Nut Butter, Bananas and Whole Grain – Oh My!What you eat before your workout is just as important – if not more important – than what you eat post-workout. Lately, nut butter seems to be all the rage these days and for good reason. It’s packed with essential ingredients to fuel your energy through an intense workout (so feel free to up the cardio!), has zero trans fats and is perfectly spreadable on a piece of whole grain bread. Need a topper? Slice some bananas for your potassium intake and you’re ready to hit the gym and feel the burn!
Food Rule #2 – Trail Mix, Lean Chicken Strips and Red Velvet…Yogurt!
Dreaming of that BLT during your workout? Try to refrain. According to studies done from the Mayo Clinic, high protein foods, such as dairy or animal meats are the best post-workout fare. Egg substitute, low-fat yogurt in your favorite flavor (try orange medley or red velvet cake for something different!), lean cuts of chicken strips, soy beans, cottage cheese, tofu or trail mix are some great solutions when the hunger pains strike. Toss some chicken strips in a salad (make sure to get enough protein in your meal to fill you up) and pair it with yogurt with low-fat granola.
Rule #3 – You’re in Control of What You Put into Your Body!
If changing up some of your eating habits is hard, try this easy thought on for size: You are in control. While you might not be able to control much else in your life (downsizing at the company you work for, destabilization of rent at your apartment complex and when you’ll meet your soul mate) you can control what you eat. Eat what you love (in moderation), love what you eat and look great in the process! Says best-selling author, Michelle May, MD: “Eating what you love is good not only for your waistline, but for your heart, mind and soul.” Eat well, feel great and maximize your workout to a higher degree than ever before.