Goal Setting

Setting goals is fun, the work along the way can be not so fun at times.  Setting a goal is like signing up for a race.  You are super excited when you sign up and have this vision of what it will look and feel like when you cross that finish line; then you start the race.  The first bit isn’t so bad, all the good vibes you had when you singed up are still there and keeping you focused.  Then about halfway you start to get tired, people are passing you, and you can’t see that finish line anywhere.  Now you are tired and frustrated because the finish line is farther than you anticipated when you signed up and you didn’t think it would be this hard and you start wondering if you should just stop the race because no one will care whether you finish or not.   How does this analogy of signing up for a race relate to setting a goal you ask?  Think of it like this, most people set a goal when they are happy, have very little daily life stressors on their mind, and they are feeling super motivated.  And when they start working toward this goal the initial excitement one had when setting this goal is still present.  Then life gets in the way.  When you decide on a goal you are excited and motivated but then all the other life duties get in the way and bog you down.  A work project gets thrown in your lap, something comes up in your family, or better yet a pandemic happens.  You put your goal on pause or just toss it completely.  No one will know you say, it won’t matter if I don’t reach it, it was silly of me to make that a goal anyway, unrealistic.  NOPE!  If that is a goal of yours it isn’t silly and you know who will notice if you don’t reach it?  You will, and that is the only person you should be worried about impressing.

So, this is what you are going to do.  Write down your goal, and then bullet below it all the things that need to happen in order for that goal to be accomplished.  Next you are going to set a date for when you want the goal to be accomplished.  Because a goal without a date is just a wish.  Once the date is set, you look at the bulleted list and break the time between now and the date you set up into 4ths.  Put bullet items together if they are related and put them into one of the quarter time dates between now and your overall goal.  These are now your mini goal check points.  Each time you reach one it will serve as a reminder that you are one step closer to your overall goal and will be a rewarding feeling to cross it off the list.  You can even give yourself a list of things you want to do daily, weekly, and monthly as they help you take steps toward your overall goal.  Whatever works for you is what works.

My challenge for you all is to sit down right now and create your goal and the mini goals that are necessary along the way to ensure success.  And if any of those goals are fitness or nutrition related Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition is the place to be to help you reach those goals.  When you sign-up to work with Smarter Athlete your coach will design a program that is personalized to your goals and be there for you each week to make sure you are supported on your journey.  If this is what you are looking for reach out via email to paigedavis.wellness@gmail.com to learn more.

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Health versus Wellness

The terms health and wellness tend to be used interchangeably.  While these two are very connected, they are not exactly synonymous terms.  To be clear:

Health(n)- the state of being free from illness or injury; a person’s mental or physical condition.

Wellness(n)- the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

So, in order to have one you need to have the other.  Someone can be free from a physical illness or injury and thus be healthy, but not in a state of wellness because their emotional or mental health may not be at 100%.  In order to be completely healthy ones physical, emotional, and mental health must be free from illness/injury, and once that is achieved one will be in a state of wellness.

If you are looking for ways to improve any aspect of your health in order to be in a state of wellness, Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition can help you.  The coaches are dedicated to you and helping you achieve your goals.  The active pursuit of your health can sometimes be a hard and lonely road, but with Smarter Athlete you don’t have to go it alone.  Email me at paigedavis.wellness@gmail.com to get more information and get started with Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition to take the first steps toward a healthier you. 15894683_1776846229307750_3069929597083203043_n

Let’s Talk About Alcohol

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I am going to assume that the title of this post is about to draw a good bit of people in, because who doesn’t love a good adult beverage??  I definitely enjoy a glass (or 3..) of wine, a nice cold beer, and a perfectly mixed cocktail; and there are times when enjoying these in moderation may not always occur(cue hangover).  The purpose of this post is to talk about alcohol and your goals.

To keep this as simple as possible I am going to talk about 3 possible goals someone may have. Goal #1 fat/weight loss, Goals #2 muscle building, Goal #3 top athletic/sport performance.  Now you may be reading these goals and be saying to yourself that these goals don’t apply to you.  Maybe these 3 aren’t your number one goal, but one of these 3 are very likely closely related to your main goal, which in most cases may be improved health and better relationship with food.  Whether these 3 goals directly or indirectly apply to you, please continue to read because you might just learn something or may know someone who would benefit from reading this.  So please stick with me.

Goal #1: Fat/weight Loss-

If your goal is to lose some fat and lower your weight alcohol can be a speed bump in this process.  All of those beverages advertised as “low carb” or “low calorie”, while on the nutrition label may show that there are less carbs than the comparable drink, the ABV content is not being considered.  Macronutrients are the foods we take in that supply a caloric value to our diets; and believe it or not alcohol is our 4th macronutrient.  Just so happens that alcohol supplies calories to our diets without supplying any nutrients, so the ultimate empty calorie item.  There are 7 calories/gram of alcohol consumed.  This does not mean carbs in the drink, but solely how much alcohol is in the beverage (enter ABV).  This means that when you are monitoring your calories while trying to lose weight and are accounting for the nutrition label calories you might be underestimating how many calories you are taking in per beverage.  Another pesky detail is that your body will place metabolizing alcohol in your system first and the food consumed during this time may not be metabolized fully and thus end up being stored as fat when there is excess.

Goal #2: Gain/build Muscle-

Two main issues when it comes to alcohol and muscle building is: 1. Alcohol dehydrates you and this directly impacts your muscles, 2. Alcohol messes with protein synthesis and thus inhibits muscle growth.  When something is dehydrated it shrinks, so when you consume alcohol and are dehydrated your muscles become less stretchy and a bit ‘dried out’.  This can lead to higher susceptibility to injury of muscles, which would then lead to the dreaded rest/rehab period.  Protein synthesis is a process in your body that involves the breakdown and rebuilding of muscle in your body.  If this process is impacted your body will not create new protein and thus not be able to build larger, stronger muscles.

Goal #3: Top Athletic/sport performance-

Like I said before alcohol dehydrates you and I am sure you have all heard that athletics and dehydration are not a good combo.  Dehydration like I said above can lead to possible injury, it also impacts the nervous system, and studies have shown marked performance decreases in individuals participating in their sport compared to their hydrated counterpart.  Beyond dehydration (I hate to break it to you) alcohol stays in your system longer than you think.  Unfortunately for females, we have a smaller amount of the alcohol metabolizing enzyme compared to men, so we don’t metabolize alcohol as quickly.  This means we will feel the effects of alcohol longer than a male of the same height and weight as ourselves.  Head on over to this link from the NCAA to read some other impacts of alcohol on performance.  And yes, it is true, and not just the NCAA scare tactic to keep college kids from partying all the time.  In addition to all of the above said effects of alcohol on fat loss, metabolism, and protein synthesis, alcohol will also impact hormones, sleep, and decision making.  All of these things can impact sports/athletic performance.

Now don’t take this as me telling you to cut out alcohol, because I am surely not going to stop drinking my wine and mules after saying this. I am simply sharing some knowledge I have so that you all can make more informed and conscious decisions the next time you head to happy hour with some friends or open that bottle of wine or beer as you sit down to dinner.  Planning ahead, moderation, and consideration of where you are at in regard to your goals are all important when it comes to any decision you make with your health.

Listening to Your Body

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Your body has a lot to say and is in constant communication with you.  Whether or not you are listening is the issue.  From waking up in the morning feeling tired to craving certain foods to feeling sore; your body is trying to tell you what it needs in order to be at its best.  I am going to try to cover these various messages your body is giving you in as succinct a way as possible, because each message could be a blog post in itself.

Let’s start with cravings.  Cravings can indicate anything from you aren’t taking in enough calories to support your expenditure, to some type of memory has been triggered that is making you want a certain food, to your hormones being at work, just to name a few reasons.  To avoid turning this into a psychology and physiology paper as I explain the interplay of memory and hormones on food cravings, I will just be talking about taking in calories to meet expenditure.  When you are undereating your body wants to get in energy as fast as possible in order to refuel.  This is why we tend to reach for the bag of chips or the cookies because our bodies have learned we can get a lot of calories in very quickly and often it is pretty tasty.  Learning to take in the proper number of calories to support your daily life is very important.  Your goals determine how you should be eating; when looking to lose weight and get leaner you will need to take in calories at a deficit, when you are looking to put on mass and get bigger you will need to take in calories at a surplus, and when just looking to stay where you are and support your daily life you should be eating at a balance.  This equation doesn’t look the same for everyone though, it isn’t as simple as just eat less than what you expend to lose weight and eat more than you expend to gain weight.  Each person is different and will respond to diets in a different way.

Waking up in the morning feeling tired can indicate that your quality of sleep during the night wasn’t that great or that you are not getting enough sleep.  Getting enough sleep is an easier correction to make than trying to figure out how to improve sleep quality.  Having a daily schedule and bed-time routine helps make getting the proper number of hours of sleep a little easier.  If you know you are going to wake up at say 6am every day, and that you want to get 8 hours of sleep then you should be in bed and asleep by 10pm every night. In order to make that happen you should develop a bed-time routine that allows you to be in bed and asleep at 10pm.  This can look something like finishing dinner by 8:30pm every night, turning off the television and putting away other screens (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) by 9pm, having a book to read before you go to sleep, and maybe you have a white noise machine to help you fall asleep as well.  We as humans like structure, and by creating a routine for falling asleep it will help signal to your body over time that once ‘x,y,z’ happen you should be asleep.  Now waking up feeling tired due to poor sleep quality can be signs of not eating enough as well, having high levels of stress which causes your body to release cortisol outside the natural circadian rhythm, or you could have some illness present causing you to not get in a good sleep.  Depending on what the reason is for sleep quality determines what step you need to take next to improve the quality of sleep. (That is post for another time though)

Now to address being sore.  It is good to be sore because it means you have challenged your muscles enough be in a state of re-synthesis.  You worked out hard and now your muscles are repairing themselves.  It is not good to be so sore you can’t move every single day of the week.  Being in a constant state of muscle repair means that you never give your muscles a chance to fully recover and this can lend itself to injury.  Click here to read a previous post of mine on the benefits of resting and taking a day off from your training.

So, if you are reading this sentence, I am going to assume you clicked that link and read (or re-read s/o my loyal following) my previous blog post.  Taking a day off from anything is important to both physical and mental health.  You need to step back from whatever it is you do during the week in order to come back to it refreshed and excited to work at it again.  My fitness fanatics are probably thinking in their heads right now, but what about an active recovery day?  Yes, those are good but what are you calling active recovery?  For me an active recovery day is a leisurely walk or a casual bike ride.  It isn’t me jumping into the pool and swimming laps (no matter how slow I am going, swimming is actually a very interesting exercise modality when it comes to energy expenditure), or going for a long run, or going to the gym and doing accessory lifts.  Active recovery should be incredibly low impact compared to your weekly training.  There is nothing wrong with moving on an off day, but this movement shouldn’t be intense or high impact.  Off days are intended to be for taking your foot off the gas and giving your body the chance to recover and refresh.

This turned out to be longer than I intended, but the thoughts just kept flowing.  The sad part is I could have written even more, the science behind all of this are textbook chapters in exercise physiology.  What I want to be the takeaway here is listen to your body, it knows what it is saying and wants to support you as best as it can.  Taking a day off is fine, taking multiple days off is fine, you need to listen to what your body needs when it comes to rest.  Eat well and eat to support your goals, you get one chance and one body when it comes to living life, so live life well and treat your body right.

To Lift or Not to Lift?

The answer to that question is yes.  There are many benefits that come from resistance training.  The type of training you do depends on what you are looking to get out of the workout regimen you are doing.  Are you looking to improve your mile time or are you looking to put on muscle mass and see some muscular definition?

Endurance type athlete:

Lifting weights is still something that should be done.  The type of resistance training you do here should be muscular endurance training.  By strengthening your muscles so that you are able to perform multiple reps with little rest allows for lowered fatigability of your muscles.  Increasing time to fatigue will make running easier because your muscles will be able to perform at a desired intensity for a longer period of time.  It is also another way to add stress to your muscles and thus your bones without putting your joints through the same ranges of motions that you go through when running.  This can help alleviate some stress added to joints and allow for proper rest at these joints.

Looking to build muscle:

Yes, this is the perfect scenario to follow a resistance training program.  Depending on your training age and history with lifting weights, along with your goal will determine what training program you should follow.  If you are a novice resistance trained individual than you will see results quickly upon following just about any training program.  This is due to neurological adaptations that are occurring.  The more advanced you are in resistance training the more thought out the program you follow needs to be.  There needs to be progressive overload, programmed weight percentages of maximum and the proper rep scheme to allow you to reach your goal.

Outside of helping you reach your desired sport performance goals; resistance training can help you improve quality of life as you age.  Sarcopenia is a typical ‘side effect’ of aging, and results in muscle loss.  By performing resistance training exercises throughout the lifetime, you will slow the muscle loss due to aging.  Another ‘side effect’ of aging is decreased bone mineral density.  Once again resistance training to the rescue. Muscles originate and attach along various bones throughout the body.  By training muscles and putting stress on muscles through resistance training you are putting stress on your bones.  The added stress to bones, when done properly and with a knowledgeable strength coach/trainer, will make bones stronger and thus maintain a healthy bone mineral density.  Another benefit of resistance training is the metabolic cost associated with it.  When looking to lose weight, in particular burn fat, running is typically the first thought.  This thought is true, running allows for fat to be ‘burned’ during the run itself, but once the run is over that ‘fat burn session’ ends as well.  Resistance training on the other hand allows for ‘fat burn’ to occur well after the resistance training session has ended.  When lifting weights, you are breaking down muscle tissue in order to build it back up into a larger and/or stronger tissue.  This process is protein re-synthesis and can last up to 48 hours post resistance training bout (enter DOMS).  The re-synthesis is intensity dependent.  While your body is resynthesizing, it requires energy and thus has a metabolic cost, which in turn allows for ‘fat burn’ and consequently weight loss.

Basically, no matter what you want to do or what life-stage you are in, lifting weights is probably a good idea.  Improve your runs= lift some weights.  Grow muscles = lift weights.  Slow some down side effects of aging= lift weights.  Lose some weight/fat= lift weights.  When done properly and following a well-designed program, lifting weights is always a good choice.  Another thing to consider when lifting weights and seeing desired results is proper fueling, but that is a story for another time.  So get out there and pick up some heavy(-ish) stuff : )

Self-Experimentation #1

Hello friends.  Today I am sharing with you all my plant-based diet experience.  For starters, I did this to give myself some experience with this diet prior to conducting a possible study that asks participants to partake in a plant-based diet intervention for a 4-week time period.  I am an advocate of being your first client, especially when you are going to be asking someone to make a change to their lifestyle, you should be able to relate and pull from your own personal experience when looking to help someone else.  I also did this from a place of interest.  There has been increasing talk and ‘popularity’ when it comes to a plant-based diet, so being the nerd I am I wanted to see how I would respond to this dietary change.

So, for 2-weeks I went plant-based.  My shopping cart at the grocery store didn’t look all that different from my normal omnivore diet shopping cart.  The veggies, fruits, beans, and grains remained the same, the only difference was there were no eggs, cheeses, yogurts, or chicken to be found.  I also decided that I would be eating ad libitum (without restrictions).  This means I ate when I was hungry and did not track macronutrients or calories.  I felt this would reflect how many people who change from an omnivore diet to a plant-based diet make the change.  I did not purchase any plant-based protein powders because 1. I wasn’t tracking macronutrient intake, so hitting a protein goal wasn’t on my list, 2. This dietary change wasn’t one I planned on doing for more than 2-weeks due to things going on in my life, and 3. I prefer to get most of my food requirements from actual foods and I didn’t want to get a protein powder because I don’t want to use whatever I didn’t finish after I switched back from this plant-based diet.

I really didn’t feel any different in daily life or at the gym compared to when I was eating my omnivore diet.  I did actually feel a little more run down and would wake up some days feeling sick.  I also was feeling more sore than usual.  Some things that could account for how I felt beyond diet was the amount of stress I was feeling from school and work, poor sleep, and possibly not enough caloric intake compared to what was being burned throughout my day.  I will say that the day after I ended my 2-week experiment I woke up feeling like garbage, super congested and was waking up every hour that night to blow my nose because I couldn’t breathe.

I’m about 1 week back on my normal omnivore diet with macronutrient tracking and I am feeling much better than last week and like my muscles are recovering much better post exercise.  I am not sharing this to persuade people to eat a certain way, just merely sharing my personal experience.  Like I have said many times before diets aren’t one-size fits all, and what works better for me won’t necessarily work best for you or someone else.   This was not the most scientific experiment as I could have controlled for chance much better, but it was overall an interesting experiment.  I don’t think I will be removing animal-based foods from my diet anytime soon, especially with my current exercise goals, but I am glad I did this and stay tuned for my next nutritional self-experiment.

R&R

“Rest is for the weak” and  “No days off” are just two examples of some things you may hear from your fitness fanatic friends or your rat-racing buddies.  We unfortunately live in a society of go, go, go, and always trying to do more than the next person or not stopping until we reach our goal, only to decide we have another goal once we get there. We are constantly moving and doing and we are not taking a chance to stop and enjoy where we are.  I want to keep this more geared toward physical rest and recovery by talking about taking a day off from your gym routine, but before I head there I want to share a message that the commencement speaker at my graduation ceremony shared with us.  She has an amazing story and accomplished so much; when I heard of everything she has done my jaw dropped.  If you want to read more about this amazing woman follow this link here.  Beyond all the amazing things she has done with her life, she shared with us all that we need to take a minute to just breathe and to be present in the moment.  Enjoy where we are and the people we are with because the little things are what we will miss the most and the people we share these moments with will mean more than all the fame and fortune and success.

Okay now that I have shared that nugget of wisdom lets get into taking actual rest days from the gym or whatever exercise program you follow.  Exercise is a stressor, and your body responds to stress of any kind in the exact same way.  Your body doesn’t differentiate mental stress from emotional stress from physical stress, stress is stress.  The stress of exercise is a good stress to have in your life because it is acute, and once you finish your exercise for the day the stress goes away(that is when you aren’t in the state of overtraining, which can be avoided with a good ole rest day).  After exercise there are many changes that are occurring within your body.  Whether these changes are occurring at the muscle fibers, mitochondria, or neuroendocrine levels, your body is adapting to the exercise stimulus you have just placed on it.  Lets look at the muscle fiber changes from something like resistance training.  When you lift weights and then feel sore the next day or two, that is a result of your muscles physically (micro)tearing and your body working to repair the damage.  There was a study conducted that reported that muscle regeneration can take up 28 days to occur.  That is almost an entire month of your body working to repair muscle damage(the kind you want) from exercise.  So if your body can potentially be working to fully repair muscles back to 100% for 28 days after one day of exercise don’t you think you can give your body a break for one day?

I know it is hard when we live in a society that makes taking a day off seem like the end of the world.  If we aren’t going 1000mph everyday 24/7, 365 then we feel like we are going to fall behind or not be successful.  This way of thinking needs to stop.  I am not sure when it became such a bad thing to stop and enjoy a day of nothing and when tackling one task at a time became a rarity, but I think we as a society need to get back to that.  When Sundays(or whatever day you want) were for sleeping in, slow mornings, sipping coffee and enjoying breakfast with your family and filling the rest of your day with nothing or everything as long as its what you want to do.  I like to get to the gym 6 days a week and fill my Mondays-Fridays with anything and everything I can, but I know that once the weekend hits I’m taking my foot off the gas and putting myself in park come Sunday.  It is also important to listen to your body and familiarize yourself with how your body lets you know you need to pump the brakes.  For me I start to feel sick or waking up and staying awake becomes a lot more difficult.  It is okay to take multiple days off if your body is telling you it needs to rest.  Even changing your typical routine from long runs to yoga, or from pumping that iron to spin class.  Do something different to rest the muscles that are constantly being worked, while still getting a workout in.

Long story short, you are doing your body a disservice by not taking a day to relax and unwind.  Taking a day off isn’t the end of the world and you might actually be surprised how much you can accomplish on your off day and how much you enjoy having a structureless, plan free day.

CrossFit pt.2

Okay, so I can’t share with you all anything about the test, but I can tell you about how awesome my weekend at the CF L2 course was.  Just to let you guys know, I am super shy and I almost didn’t want to go to the course because I knew before going there I would have to coach in front of people I didn’t know and that is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone.  So that was my emotional/mental state entering into the weekend.  I was forced to step WAY outside of my comfort zone and honestly I am super glad that I did.  I learned so much over those two days and I am incredibly excited to get to put my knowledge into action.  I became way more aware of my own movements and became more skilled at picking out ‘faults’ in the movements of those I am coaching.  I am by no means perfect by taking this course, but I have been given the confidence and the knowledge to strive for perfection from both myself and those I coach.  This past weekend also solidified for me that CrossFit is something I want in my future. 

I would 100% take the CF L2 course again, because it was that great.  I would pass on the whole exam part of it though because that test was the most stressful one I have taken in a while (which is saying a lot because I am still in college).  I am so glad that I took the course and I am really glad I got over the nerves I had entering into it and was able to enjoy it fully. 

Being able to enjoy the course even though I was nervous entering into it just lets me know that this is something that makes me happy and that I am making sure to actively seek out what make me happy.  That being said I would count this past weekend as a success because I was able to live out my life motto of seeking what sets my soul in fire, and I encourage you all to do the same because it is a pretty awesome feeling. 

Thank for reading! Hope you all had an awesome July 4th!!  

Sleep!!

As promised, here is my post about the importance of sleep.  There are so many reasons why you need to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night.  Unfortunately there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to make up for lost sleep(trust me, I have tried to find that magic number of cups of coffee that would make me feel fully rested).

Sleep and your muscles.  While you enter deep sleep there is a gland in your brain, the pituitary gland, which releases growth hormone.  Growth hormone helps with tissue growth and repairs muscles.  If you don’t get the right amount of sleep, which has been said to be between 8-10 hours a night, you miss out on the benefits of growth hormone release.  It is very important for those of you who participate in strength and endurance trainings regularly to get closer to the 10 hours of sleep a night because your muscles are under a lot of strain very regularly.  When working to build muscle there is a tiny bit of muscle breakdown occurring, which is like a very small muscle tear, so extra sleep is very important to help those muscles recover and get healthy again.  If you are looking to improve performance getting the proper amount of sleep every night can be crucial to keeping your performance at levels at which you want to be performing.    

If you are looking to have a healthier life and you related more to my nutrition tracking post and the points about wanting to look and feel better, then getting the proper amount of sleep can play a big role in how you are looking and feeling.  Another hormone that sleep has a close relationship with is cortisol.  Cortisol is a stress related hormone that rises and falls as our stress levels rise and fall.  We want our cortisol levels to be highest as we wake up and during the beginning portions of our days when we are most active and doing the most stuff.  As we ready ourselves for sleep our cortisol levels should be lowering.  High cortisol levels make it hard for our body to relax, and if we are not sleeping properly our sleep-wake cycle will be thrown off, which will make it hard for our bodies to regulate our cortisol levels properly.  When our cortisol levels are out of balance there are many biological problems that can arise, in particular there are metabolic and digestive issues.  Our body will have issues regulating our metabolism and cortisol is a sign for our body to store fat.  If we aren’t sleeping we are putting our bodies under unnecessary stress, thus raising our cortisol levels and telling our bodies to store body fat. 

So if you are trying to look and feel better and you are eating right and exercising, but still not getting the results you want, I suggest you take a look at your sleep patterns.  Are there multiple days in a row where you are thinking you slept great because you got 6 hours of sleep?  Are you putting a lot of stress on yourself, whether it is work, school, relationships, or even exercising?  Are you trying to make up for a bad night(nights) of sleep with large coffees with   double shots of espresso?  If you relate to these questions I want you to try to work on getting 8 good hours of sleep every night and see if there are changes to how you look and feel.  Some things that may help you get to sleep would be investing in black out curtains, a white noise machine, not sitting on your phone until you fall asleep, and avoid doing things besides sleeping in your bed(like for me I really need to stop doing my homework and other things like that in my bed).  Maybe try to read a book before you fall asleep, turn on the white noise machine, and turn off lights and make your room as dark and cool as you can.  You want to get a good, uninterrupted, 8 hours of sleep, and you should because your body does so many amazing things for you everyday, all day long(even while you sleep), so the least you can do is give your body 8 hours every night to relax and unwind and reboot.  Not to mention sleep is important to your mental health(Mental health might be my next post, depending on what I get inspired by this upcoming week)

Thanks for reading everyone! You are all awesome.  This was another long one, so thank you for sticking with me on this and reading through what I had to say.  Please comment if you have any questions or comment if you have a topic you would like me to talk about. 

Fuel for Performance

Fueling your body for athletic performance requires some planning and willingness to eat things that may not always be whole foods and ‘healthy’.  With fueling for performance comes nutrient timing.  For example pre activity you are going to want to have carbs and proteins with little to no fat within an hour of said activity.  This will allow your body to use the energy sources quickly and efficiently.  Fats take your body longer to use and longer to digest and thus will not be readily available if eaten in too close to activity.  Using myself as an example, I will have 1 cup of fat free greek yogurt and typically 1 serving of a cereal of my choice mixed into the yogurt(I like cheerios of any variety personally) about 1 hour before I head to my workout that day.  That will typically give me around 46grams of carbs, 1.5grams of fats, and 23-26grams of protein depending on the brand of yogurt.  You want to try to have a 2:1 carbs to protein ratio in your pre-workout meal with little to no fat present.  This will allow for you to enter the workout not feeling hungry and give your body the fuel it needs to perform.  Post workout you are going to want to have another high carb, low/no fat, and moderate protein meal.  I like to have a shake if I am crunched for time that is about 2:1 carbs to protein ratio once again here.  When I have more time I will have a quick snack that has that 2:1 ratio.  You want to minimize the fat you are eating post workout for the same reasons as pre-workout.  Fats take longer to get utilized in the body and will slow your bodies intake of the carbs, which can hinder muscle recovery.  Your muscles need the carbs to get to them quickly because when you workout glycogen is used up and you need to replenish those levels.  Glycogen is just a big glucose molecule, and carbs are broken down by the body into glucose, so you need carbs so your body can make the glucose and glycogen again and get your muscles recovered and ready to perform the next time you plan to workout. 

So when you are fueling your body for performance, and you are tracking your macros it is best to plan ahead what you pre and post workout meals look like before you start planning your other meals so you can be sure you hit your numbers and get the proper amount of fuel for before and after working out.  Something I like to do when planning my meals is plan what I am eating before I go workout, what I am eating after I workout, what I will have for dinner and dessert and then I will plan my breakfast.  Once those things are planned out I will see if I have any carbs, fats and proteins left over and will either add some food to my breakfast or my dinner depending on my mood or I will just put them towards a snack in the day.  I try to save more fat for dinner time so I am feeling fuller when I am going to bed and get a good amount of fat in at breakfast if I know it will be a while before I get a chance to eat again.  I really love peanut butter, so I usually try to work a serving of it in somewhere everyday which takes care of a good amount of fats.  

If you are trying to eat a more whole food diet and less processed things, it can be hard to track macros and fuel your body for performance, but it isn’t impossible.  You will just have to look for things that you enjoy eating, and will still provide you with the proper ratios pre and post workout, and not leave you feeling super hungry as you enter into the workouts.  Personally I am trying to eat more whole foods and less processed things, but performance is my top priority right now so I have to make exceptions.  I will eat gummy bears if I have a lot of carbs left over and I will have cereal in my yogurt because I know it will give me the fuel I need to meet my performance needs.

Thank you for reading, hopefully that helped y’all out.  Sometimes I feel like I have so much to share, but don’t want these posts to be super long and bore anyone so I try to share as much as I can in a reasonable amount of words.  Please comment if there is more you want me to touch on or if you want me to write about something else.  Thanks again!