I'll start off by stating that these are some of the best practices for general fitness and nutrition. This is what works for me and my clients. Of course, recommendations can be modified to fit the client, sport, or health concern.
First, let's tackle some key concepts of nutrition:
- Quality FATS are amazing for your body. Do not shy away from healthy fats!
>>> Nuts, seeds, olives, oils, avocado, and so on.
- COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES are vital to your body functions (not to mention sanity, lol).
>>> Brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potato, quality bread, many veggies and fruits, and so on.
- PROTEIN AND AMINO ACIDS... a big one. First off, for animal meat eaters, most of you get too much protein. You poop it out. Yup, truth! Not a big deal, just put back a little. It will shave off some calories too. Second off, you don't need animal meat to get complete protein. You need a varied and healthy diet.
>>> Many of the foods I already mentioned: plus cauliflower, broccoli, eggs, walnuts, almonds, hummus, spinach, black beans, peas, and so on.
Next, utilize that food:
At the very least, preparations start the night before the following morning with exercise. This might mean no alcohol or maybe extra carbohydrates for endurance work. The point is that you must replenish from the night before and give your body fuel to start another day. Don't expect your body to perform well if you trashed or starved it the night before!
When I wake up I always start my day with water & lemon or a cup of green tea. I eat a big breakfast, then I go to the gym or begin a different physical activity. Usually, a smoothie or post workout meal later in the morning.
Before a workout, I like a flexible ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein an hour or two before working out. Consume at least 100 calories. Beyond that minimum,
it depends on the fuel needed for the duration and intensity of the exercise. (If you are doing something rigorous or endurance you are going to load more and continue eating during the workout with a quick gel, ball, gummy or something else on the go. ) Sometimes, I use a pre-workout drink as well but that is a whole different topic.
A few examples of good pre-workout meals or snacks are:
- apples & peanut butter
- eggs & whole grain toast
- berries & oatmeal
- pre workout intended shake or smoothie
- banana & bar
- fruit & granola
- small protein portion & brown rice
My goal for the next year is to gain and maintain a pound of muscle. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it is for my build and size. Therefore, if your goal is similar (toning, getting fitter, better shape) then listen up! You should be fueling your body so you can perform well, cause a little hypertrophy, and recover faster and stronger. If you're leaning out, you might not need as much protein, but I highly recommend activating and maintaining your muscle to burn calories.
Continued side note....Most women worry about BULK. You are not going to bulk on a regular workout with good nutrition. I have to work really hard to gain muscle. When women feel bulky lifting weights, it is usually because they have a layer of fat over the muscle and their nutrition is not productive for their goal.