This 17-time marathon runner shares how MINDBODY and Strava help her track fitness goals and find balance.
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While you might be wreaking havoc in the gym, research shows that what you eat before, during and after a sweat session is vital to your progress. Here are a few quick tips on how to harness the power of nutrition during your next workout.
Tip #1 - Consume carbs – There’s nothing worse than feeling full during your fitness routine. Avoid foods higher in fat and fiber before your workout to avoid the bloat. Pre-workout nutrition should consist mainly of foods that are higher in carbohydrates. About 30 minutes before your workout, grab 15-20 grams of easy-to-digest carbs like Greek yogurt, fruit smoothies and sweet potatoes and 10-15 grams of moderate protein like 2-3 ounces of chicken (the size of your palm or less) or two eggs to fuel your body for peak performance. Whether it’s Greek yogurt or a whey protein powder smoothie with fruit, nourish yourself with sufficient sources of both carbs and protein.
Tip #2 - Fight that hungry feeling – Feeling extra hungry after that last rep? It’s time to get a handle on that post-workout hunger. Fat and fiber should be consumed in moderation as they can slow down the absorption of the carbs and proteins your body needs.
Tip #3 - Eating aids recovery – Pending bodyweight goals and exercise intensity, you’ll want to focus on consuming roughly 25-35 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein like sweet potatoes or brown rice with 2-3 ounces of chicken breast or a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread and low-fat mayo within 1-2 hours post-workout to help restore glycogen and aid in muscle repair and recovery. If you are short on time or don’t have any sources of carbs and protein within reach, protein bars (like Quest or Pure Protein that are also higher in fiber) are a great on-the-go option.
Tip #4 - Stay hydrated –If you train hard by incorporating bouts of moderate intensity for 75 minutes or more and shorter bouts of HIIT or more intense interval training, you may want to try adding a low-sugar electrolyte + amino acid powder blend to your water for extra hydration. Including this tip into your fitness out routine can help to keep you properly fueled, maximizing your workout intensity. I prefer the powder blends, like Amino Action or Xtend, over the sugary Gatorade drinks.
Tip #5 - Avoid empty calories – If you are working out with the goal of losing weight, avoid or limit calories found in beverages like alcohol, soda, and coffee with creamers or sugar. They provide little to no nutritional value and do not benefit your fitness routine.
Tip #6 - Overcome that weight loss plateau – If training and/or dieting for weight loss, concentrate on eating most (if not all) of your carbs before and after your workout, snacking on small amounts of fruits and veggies throughout the day. Focusing your carb intake around your fitness schedule can be especially helpful if you have hit a weight loss plateau or are having trouble losing those last few pounds.
Tip #7 - Watch your carb intake on rest days – Your carb intake should mirror your activity level. On rest days, lower your carb consumption since extra carbs aren’t needed for workout fuel or recovery. Even on off days, I generally don’t recommend going lower than 75 grams of carbs because your brain and body still need carbs to function adequately.
Tip #8 - Maximize muscle gain – If your workout routine includes intermediate or advanced weight + strength training, and muscle growth is one of your goals, mix 20 grams of casein protein powder like Optimum Nutrition or Muscletech in water, unsweetened almond milk or low-fat milk within 15-30 minutes before bed. This helps maximize muscle repair, growth and synthesis—which mostly occurs while sleeping.
Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.