If you like exercise like I do, then you might also like to know how to stay energized before, during, and after your workout. When it comes to eating, the key is quality foods, quality nutrients. I also think it’s important to “train smart,” meaning push yourself when you need to and cut yourself some slack when you need to. I support heart rate training as method for customizing your program to meet your goals and current fitness level.
I was on Let’s Talk Live DC this week sharing foods and gear that will help fuel an active lifestyle. Check out my tips on hydration, pre-exercise fuel, recovery nutrition and heart rate training tips.
You can watch the full video here, or check out highlights from my segment below:
Tip #1: Fuel Up Before You Exercise
You need to eat before you workout… the same way you put gas in your car before you drive. You want carbs, which provide “quick energy” to burn during exercise and quality protein for sustained and lasting energy.
I love KIND bars for “on the go” energy, because they have ingredients you can see and pronounce (like real fruit and delicious nuts) that provide that balance of carbs and protein you are looking for. As pre-exercise fuel “on the go” you can pair a KIND Bar with a piece of fruit, or on their own they’re a great snack too.
KIND Healthy Grain “clusters” provide quality carbohydrates from five whole grains, including ancient grains like amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. Plus, they’re a good source of fiber to keep you feeling fuller, longer. Perfect for topping yogurt or oatmeal, or even on it’s own with milk.
Another great pre-fuel idea for any time of day is pancakes. The only problem is they tend to be low in protein. I was thrilled to find all natural “Flap Jacked Protein Pancakes” that have the protein already in the packet — a whopping 15-17 grams protein per serving! You’ll get your dose of carbohydrate from the whole grains (like whole oats and quinoa), and the protein and fiber will keep you full for hours.
They’re convenient and easy-to-make (just add water!) Plus they’re non-GMO, have no additives and no preservatives. Not only are they full of good nutrition, but they come in 3 delicious flavors – banana hazelnut, cinnamon apple, and buttermilk. You can find them in 4 ounce and 28 ounce packages on their website at www.flapjacked.com.
Tip #2: Replenish Nutrients and Reduce Inflammation with Recovery Nutrition
Endurance exercise creates inflammation and depletes your body of carbohydrates. Recovery nutrition is important to replenish those lost nutrients and to help reduce inflammation. Tart cherry juice and dried tart cherries are packed antioxidants called anthocyanins that reduce pain and inflammation comparable to some pain medications.
I drank/ate them as part of the Red Recovery Routine when I ran NYC marathon and recovered within 2 days and was back in yoga. The juice is great on its own or in a smoothie, and I love the dried cherries in my oatmeal and in yogurt parfaits. You can get the recipe for their Red Recharger Smoothie and other tasty goodies at www.choosecherries.com.
Tip #3: Train Smart with Heart Rate Training
Whether you want to manage a healthy weight, run faster, or just be more active, using a heart rate monitor is the best, most reliable way to maximize results. Polar is the industry leader in fitness assessment technology and has a number of affordable and simple to use monitors to fit any fitness level. Whether you’re new to heart rate training and are, or are an endurance athlete with thousands of miles under your belt.
As a bonus, every monitor comes with access to their Smart Coaching Program that can help you with tailored training advice. Go online to see all their heart rate monitors, including the FT4 and RCX3 models. You can also join their online community, or visit PolarPersonalTrainer.com to set up your free training plan.
Tip #4: Stay Hydrated with the Right Fitness Beverage
We all need to stay hydrated all day long, but it’s especially important during physical activity. Vita Coco coconut water is a great alternative to many sports drinks, especially if you aren’t out there doing endurance training. You don’t need the calories or sugar from a fitness beverage, but you need to stay hydrated. Coconut water has electrolytes (like calcium, potassium and magnesium) and only 45-60 calories per serving.
A couple of recent studies showed that replacing sports drinks with coconut water helped to decrease sugar intake and increase nutrient intake. Check out the abstracts.
I also love that it is just the water from young coconuts — simple and delicious. It’s particularly delicious in “green smoothies” because it can actually help keep them from turning brown.
Here’s a refreshing “green smoothie” recipe you can try at home:
- 2 c. Vita Coco coconut water
- 1 sliced avocado
- 2 c. lightly packed spinach
- 1 sliced green apple, skin on
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 1/2 c. ice
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and whip until smooth. Serve in a cold glass.
To find Vita Coco coconut water in a store near you, visit vitacoco.com.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time to do this segment by Kind Snacks, Flap Jacked, Cherry Marketing Institute, Polar and Vita Coco, but was not compensated to write this post.