I was back on Let’s Talk Live this week sharing a plethora of ways you can naturally fuel your fitness routine. Over 60% of DC residents are active, and as I always say — if you can’t fuel it, you can’t do it! So, check out highlights from the segment and maybe you’ll find a new pre- or post-fuel idea for your next workout.
Watch the entire segment here:
For this week’s segment, I worked with recipes that are made from Pure Canadian Maple Syrup which is 100% natural and rich in carbohydrates that provide our bodies the energy we need before workouts. Just remember to check the label and make sure it says “100% maple syrup”. Most of the “pancake” brands actually use high fructose corn syrup and don’t have the same vitamins and minerals. I also shared tips for protein-rich foods like smoothies and pistachios that can be great for recovery nutrition by helping our muscles repair themselves after a workout.
Step 1 — Fill Your Body’s “Gas Tank” With Carbs
Carbs give your body quick energy so you can go the distance — check out these great pre-fuel ideas:
- Pre-Workout Rice Pudding: Try this pre-fuel rice pudding with pure maple syrup and berries. It’s got the right balance of carbs and protein for workouts. You can have it warm or cold and is a cinch to put together. Because the maple syrup is unprocessed, it contains beneficial vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance and normal muscle function.
- Anytime Maple Energy Squares: These maple energy squares are another good choice for fueling your workout — either before or after. They’re a great “make ahead” item, and have nutritious oats, eggs, sunflowerseeds, almonds, coconut, dried fruit, and Canadian maple syrup, which contains 54 different antioxidants. Exercise increases “oxidative stress” which can lead to cell damage so the antioxidants help protect our cells.
- No Time to Cook? No Problem! If you’re short on time before a workout, you can always opt for fruit like bananas, apples, and pears. They’re nature’s perfect on-the-go foods and are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Step 2: Hydrate As You Go
Most people can drink plain water throughout their workouts and be totally fine. Sports drinks are meant more for endurance athletes (think marathon runners) or team sports with lengthy practices. Aim for about half a cup of fluids every 20 minutes of exercise.
Step 3: Mend Those Muscles With Carbs and Protein
Smoothies are great after a workout because the carbs in them help replace what you burned so you aren’t as sore afterwards. The protein they contain helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Canadian maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and zinc, two minerals that are vital for muscle recovery. It also contains the electrolyte potassium that helps with normal muscle function. You can get these nutrients in the Fruity Maple Refueler Shake that I make with strawberries, bananas, quick cooking oats, Greek yogurt, and maple syrup.
Lowfat chocolate milk is another great recovery option if you don’t have time to make a smoothie — it has a good mix of carbs and protein too.
Step 4: Smart Snacks and Meals
I love recommending pistachios as a nutritious and easy on-the-go snack. Wonderful Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat, and highest fiber nuts. And they have protein, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are important for recovery nutrition.
Plus, you can’t beat the serving size — 49 kernals!! 1 serving has 300mg of potassium which is way more than a sports drink (only 30 mg potassium in sports drinks). Reach for roasted and salted pistachios to replenish the sodium/potassium you lose during your workout.
For meals, I like to keep it really simple and use whole foods – quality ingredients. This is something you can do for lunch and dinner. Combine any 2 non-starchy veggies – cucumbers and tomatoes, and 1 type of bean – chickpeas, any one type of lean protein – tuna , one herb – flat leaf parsley, any one fat – feta cheese. All you do is mix up these ingredients, and add some fresh lemon or vinegar.
You have a simple, healthy meal ready in no time, it’s packed with nutrients, and will keep you fueled all day long.
What are your favorite “go-to” pre-fuel and recovery snacks?
Disclaimer: I worked with Pure Canadian Maple Syrup and Wonderful Pistachios as part of the TV segment. I was not compensated for this post.