As the new year rings in, many people seek an opportunity to create something new of themselves. These goals and resolutions tend to bring a lot of attention to the health and fitness industry. With all the promotion of new gym memberships, deals on supplements, and the abundance of ads for healthy food, it is important to recognize that your body cannot change overnight. Most of these lifestyle changes include creating a new workout regimen and eating more nutritiously. When creating these new habits, it is important to be educated on how to properly fuel your body to maintain energy.
Many people beginning a new workout regimen have the common concerns of what to eat before a workout. It is often recommended that if you are starting a new workout plan, you take small shifts in eating habits. Think about 1 or 2 small things you can change such as walking during breaks at work and reducing calories by buying lattes only once a week from your favorite coffee shop. These small changes can progress into larger ones such as dedicating 3 times a week to workout at the gym and possibly adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet. This ensures that your body can adapt and retain the changes past maybe January and February.
Having some type of fuel in your body before working out is essential. Vitamins and minerals may not be considered fuel, but they are part of our fuel sources and they do help in the utilization of our fuel sources when consumed in the correct amount and time, for example; B vitamins. The primary fuel that muscles use to contract are carbohydrates. Eating roughly 30 grams of carbohydrates 15-20 minutes before a workout can help with performance by making yourself feel mentally and physically more energized. An example of this is a banana or peanut butter toast. It is important to note that the more calories your pre-workout meal is, the longer you should wait to work out to avoid cramping and an upset stomach. It is commonly known that drinking water is essential for self care and physical health, but why? Rehydrating before, during and after a workout is also essential because it helps restore and recover the exercised muscles. Water helps regulate body temperature, cardiovascular function, and workout performance. Before a workout, it is recommended to drinking 400mL to 600mL of water. During exercises, roughly 150mL to 300mL should be consumed for every 20 minutes of exercise. Exercise lasting over an hour should have some kind of glucose consumption as well to help rehydrate faster, like sports drinks. While exercising, our bodies sweat to maintain homeostasis so that the body does not overheat and shut down. Water also helps with the absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract. Sodium is needed with water in order to rehydrate the body.
Consuming protein after a workout is essential for the body because it helps restore the muscle fibers that were broken down during a workout. This ensures that the body will build muscle, reduce soreness, and maintain bodily functions. The average recommended intake for protein after a workout is about 20 grams, but this could vary from person to person and different workouts. This could include drinking chocolate milk, some grilled chicken, or cottage cheese. Surprisingly, only about 30 percent of female athletes reach their daily intake for protein. I remember running competitively and having the common fear that protein could bulk me up too much too quickly. I soon came to realize that protein has essential amino acids needed to maintain strong muscles, so having the recommended intake is very important. Although, too much protein entails extra amino acids that can turn into adipose and be stored as fat. Listen to your hunger cues and body after a workout and think about adding roughly 20 grams.
It is commonly known that drinking water is essential for self care and physical health, but why? Water helps regulate body temperature, cardiovascular function, and workout performance. While exercising, our bodies sweat to maintain homeostasis so that the body does not overheat and shut down. Water also helps with the absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract. Sodium is needed with water in order to rehydrate the body.
Many people turn to spending a lot of money on protein supplements, vitamins, and minerals. A common misconception is that taking supplements make them healthier or lose weight. Consult with a Registered Dietitian if you have any dietary restrictions or deficiencies in which you which you might need a supplement. All of the nutritional benefits found in supplements are also found in food itself. For example, many protein shakes have the same quality of that of an egg. The health industry might make it seem like their product is better, but in reality they do the exact same thing for your body with eggs being cheaper. Thinking about where and how you get your nutrients, while also planning financially can make your lifestyle changes more sustainable.
When setting goals, remember your health, inside and out, is the most important. Sometimes it is hard to see all the positive things that are happening internally when we can't see them externally but remember, hard work and dedication will be rewarded.When setting resolutions for the new year, it is important to forgive yourself when you feel like you set yourself back. Fueling your body properly and doing workouts you genuinely enjoy will set you up for a successful year and major lifestyle changes. So while thinking about the term “new year, new me” take into consideration how you personally can make these changes attainable and sustainable.