Welcome to 2016! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and are refreshed, recharged and ready to take on whatever this year has in store for you. I love this time of year, it's a great time to reflect on your past year, think about what was good, what you could do differently, what you are believing for and what you are dreaming of for the year ahead. We are all full of good intentions... now we just have to take the steps necessary to make those intentions a reality.
At this time of year there is a lot of talk about getting fit, detoxing, shifting the christmas weight etc... Unfortunately, it's very common that people get super keen throughout January but come February the motivation has been lost and by March it's totally gone. For you to be successful with your fitness goals you need to be clued up on how to fuel your body in order to get the best effects from your work out. Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand and it is super important that you pay attention to them both together.
So, with this in mind, here are some points on workout nutrition to make 2016 the healthiest year yet.
1. Proper nutrition boosts the effects of a workout: I guess this is rather an obvious one but it is the most important. We all know the saying "You are what you eat" So if you have started working out, reward your body with fresh, nutritious, delicious, plant based, whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, beans, healthy grains, they all provide the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimum performance. Your skin replaces itself every 35 days from the food that we fuel our bodies with. So if you really are what you eat... don't be cheap, fast, fake or nasty.
2. Post workout nutrition is key: The 45 minutes following a workout is known as the 'fuel window'. It's the best time to consume high quality foods so your muscles will be able to absorb the carbohydrates better, speeding your recovery. This means you can continue working out at an efficient level. People trying to loose weight often try to limit their calorie intake and exercise without refuelling thinking this will shed the pounds. This will put the body under stress, raising cortisol levels causing the body to retain fat and leaving your muscles feeling tired meaning you probably skip the next workout. Not the desired outcome... so don't skip your snack after exercising.
3. Simple carbohydrates: To speed recovery your blood wants simple carbs to enter into the bloodstream, so you want to avoid fibre and fat, as they both slow down the process. Of course your body also wants proteins to rebuild muscle tissues. Your post workout snack should be made up of simple carbohydrates with some protein.
4. Drink your nutrients: When your body is tired from the workout, it can have little energy left to digest. You want to make it as easy as possible for your body to get all the nutrients that it needs to recover. That is why smoothies make such great post workout meals or snacks. The body doesn't need to spend energy on digesting and it still receives all the benefits. Plus they taste great! Try banana, blueberry and almond milk smoothie with some added hemp protein. This is the perfect post workout combination of proteins and carbs.
5. Top up your electrolytes: To make it super simple, we need them to operate at our full potential and we when we exercise we sweat them out. Lots of sports drink sell themselves as great sources of electrolytes but they are often full of sugar and preservatives. I like to go for coconut water. It's fresh, healthy, natural and super good for you.
6. Alkalise your body: We build up lactic acid from physical exertion and general stress, if not dealt with our muscle will cramp up... not nice. Alkalising foods are generally better for you anyway and should make up the majority of your diet but it is especially important when it comes to working out and nutrition. Green fruit and veg are great alkalising foods as well as lemons and limes, despite being famous for their sour taste. Balance you body's pH levels by choosing alkaline foods.
That is a very quick introduction but hopefully it helps you start this New Year with a bang. Remember to love your body when you are working out... don't hate it. Refuelling and resting is all apart of the process to achieving optimum health. With this in mind, the new January box is full of treats that are all perfect pre and post workout snacks. Keep an eye out for that coming out this week.
Good luck and happy Monday xxx