Tag: I need more energy

What to eat or drink after a workout

What to eat or drink after a workout

Perhaps you’ve just started working out, or you’ve been doing it on the regular for a while.

And now you’re wondering, after putting in all that effort exercising, what’s the best way to treat my body afterward?

“What do I eat or drink after a workout?”

It’s a good question because what we eat after exercising can impact the way we recover, build muscle, and how ready we’ll feel for our next sweat session. But first, a little body background:

WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BODY WHEN WE EXERCISE?

Glycogen is what fuels our workouts. So when we do any sort of strenuous activity, we begin depleting our muscles of their glycogen stores. And if part of our workout includes resistance/weight training, we’re also creating micro-tears in our muscles.

We can help our body more effectively restock those glycogen stores and repair muscles fibers when we do our part after a workout by eating right and getting the rest we need.

In particular, eating carbs and protein after a workout is what will help you recover more quickly, repair and build muscle (and since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a critical factor in losing weight), and feel ready for your next sweat session.

HOW MACRONUTRIENTS WORK IN OUR POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY PROCESS:
PROTEIN

Eating protein after a workout gives our body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild our muscles, instead of having it lose lean muscle mass.

And that’s important because lean muscle mass is what gives us the lean and toned appearance we’re all after.

Either animal or plant protein does the job, as long as it’s high in quality and is about 40-60 grams for men (think the size of 2 palms of the hand) or 20-30 grams for women (about the size of 1 palm).

Here are some examples:
•    Greek Yoghurt
•    Ricotta cheese
•    Cottage Cheese
•    Kefir
•    Whole eggs
•    Chicken
•    Salmon
•    Tuna
•    or a Protein Powder
 (plant-based or animal-product-based are both OK)

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbs are what help to replenish the glycogen stores we burn through when working out.
Obviously, the rate at which we use up our glycogen stores depends on the type of workout we do. Intense cardio or a long run, for example, will have our body using up more glycogen than say a weight-training or yoga workout. So weigh up the amount of carbs you eat on this basis. Eating enough will help boost your energy levels and mood.

Minimally processed whole food carbohydrates are the way to go as they’re better tolerated by the body, compared to say a plate of pasta. Here are some good examples:

•    Sweet potatoes
•    Quinoa, Brown Rice, Oatmeal
•    Fresh fruit

 

AND WHAT ABOUT FATS?

While a lot of people think that eating fat as part of your post-workout recovery meal slows down digestion and slows nutrient absorption, the good news is, healthy fats do not appear to get in the way of the good work protein, and carbs do on glycogen stores or muscle recovery.

In fact we know they’re important for us to feel satiated and not want to raid the cookie jar soon after eating. So if you’d like to add some:
•    Nuts
•    Nut butter or
•    Avocado

to your post-workout meal, go for it! Just make sure it’s eaten with some quality protein and whole-food carbs.

HEALTHY AFTER WORKOUT MEALS

Here are 6 examples of healthy post-workout meals:

•    Slices of grilled chicken or lamb with veggies roasted in olive oil
•    Poached eggs, and half a smashed avocado on toasted Ezekiel bread
•    Oatmeal made with Greek yoghurt or Cottage cheese and fresh berries
•    Stir-fried tofu with Brown Rice or Quinoa and Leafy greens
•    Salmon and Egg omelette with sweet potato and avocado
•    Tuna Salad Sandwich

WHAT TO EAT AFTER CARDIO VERSUS RESISTANCE OR WEIGHT TRAINING

If you do a lot of heavy cardio such as running, swimming, or cycling, you’re best off eating a higher proportion of carbs and a moderate amount of protein – a meal such as brown rice or quinoa, together with some meat or tofu.

If on the other hand, you’re doing regular resistance training, or a lighter-style cardio workout, such as yoga, then you’ll benefit more from focusing on your protein, and supplementing with carbs. Think grilled salmon or tofu with some stir-fried veggies.

 

HOW LONG AFTER A WORKOUT SHOULD I EAT?

The timing of your post-workout meal does seem to matter. But that timing also depends on whether you’re working out:
•    fasted (for example, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach)
•    after a reasonably sized meal, or
•    after a small snack sometime beforehand

Eating the right kind of food, as listed above, will enhance your glycogen recovery. But wait too long, and that won’t happen as effectively.

So here’s how to calculate the timing of your post-workout meal:

If you’re working out fasted (e.g., first thing in the morning) = eat your post-workout meal as soon as you can after finishing your training.

If you’ve had a healthy snack, 1-2 hours before your workout = you can stretch out your post-workout meal to within 45 mins of your training.

If you ate a normal sized meal a couple of hours before your workout = you’ve got 1-2 hours to maximize the benefits of a post-workout meal, and support your body’s ability to rebuild glycogen stores.

WHAT TO DRINK AFTER A WORKOUT?

The biggest takeaway I can give you here is to keep thinking Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

It’s super important to drink plenty of water before and after you exercise. (And during a workout, as needed.) Obviously, the more we sweat, the more water and electrolytes we lose.

If we can replenish these after a workout, then we’ll be doing the best we can to help ourselves with recovery and performance next time.  

Here are 3 ways to get the hydration you need:
1)    Water: whether it’s plain or jazzed up with some lemon or lime is pure magic for our body. Aim for a minimum of 2 litres a day, and closer to 3 litres on the days you’re working out.
2)    Coconut water: is a fab natural source of BOTH water and electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. So find yourself a good quality brand and drink away.
3)    Herbal Tea: if you like drinking tea instead of plain or coconut water, then here’s a cool tip – the nutrients and chemical compounds found in herbal teas, particularly yerba mate, may help us process carbs and protein more effectively.

A 2016 study* that compared the effects of yerba mate to water, after exercise, showed that the participants who drank yerba mater recovered strength more quickly in the 24 hours after working out.

Want to try yerba mate for yourself?

Then check out the Juice Plus+ natural energy drink powder you can take with you to mix with water, any time you need a LIFT.

Now you know what to eat and drink post workout, here’s to making your next sweat sesh your most effective yet!

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu

 

 

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How to get more energy

How to get more energy

5 Reasons You’re Tired All The Time + How To Get More Energy

These days, many people are feeling the effects of an energy crisis. Not the one within our environment—but the one within our own bodies.

five big issues behind our great energy depression and key tips to help turn it around:

1. Your sleep cycles aren’t optimized.

Even if you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep, you can still wake up feeling like a piñata after the party if you don’t optimize your sleep cycles.

Your sleep cycles are approximately 75 to 90 minutes each, cycling through phases of REM and non-REM sleep, plus all of the stages in between. Each phase is correlated with specific regeneration or detoxification of cells and organs throughout your body.

Factors like elevated cortisol (stress) levels and unstable blood sugar levels can throw off your sleep cycles. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in bed if your sleep cycles are not healthy. Disrupted REM sleep, for example, has been found to be associated with mild psychological struggles such as irritability and difficulty concentrating.

How to fix it: Research suggests that getting more sunlight exposure in the morning can help decrease cortisol levels later in the evening. You should also eat a well-balanced diet that’s focused on real food and avoid processed foods—good nutrition is foundational to keeping your blood sugar stable at night. There are also a number of key nutrients you need in your diet for great sleep, including potassium and vitamin D.

2. You’re not moving enough.

Don’t mistake the occasional workout for living an active lifestyle.

If you work out an hour a day and then sit around the rest of the time, you’re not much more active than the rest of the sedentary population. There’s even a new name for the growing class of people who try to balance out being deskbound all day with some time in the gym: The Active Sedentary.

Of course, getting some exercise is clearly better than no exercise at all—but to bolster those energy levels we’ve got to get back to basics.

How to fix it: The reality is, we human beings don’t “get” energy; we create energy. By simply moving around, your tissues generate a form of energy that’s equivalent to an AC current charging up your cells. If you’ve been sitting for a while, simply standing up and doing 50 jumping jacks or bodyweight squats will generate enough electrical wattage to instantly make you feel more energized. The positive boost in your hormones and neurotransmitters will make you feel more alive, too. Just try it out and see for yourself.

Set a timer on your phone to do two minutes of bodyweight exercises every 90 minutes. You’ll easily feel more charged up during the day.

3. You’re deficient in crucial nutrients.

Your lack of energy could also be due to a lack of key nutrients. The main source of energy in our cells is something called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. It’s essentially the currency that runs your body’s economy, but it can’t make any real transactions without the banker. And that banker is magnesium.

Though ATP is the main source of energy in cells, it must be bound to a magnesium ion (Mg) in order to be biologically active. So, ATP is really Mg-ATP when it comes to making the magic happen in your body.

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes that help keep you energized and healthy. If you’re deficient in magnesium, that’s over 300 processes your body can’t effectively do. The end result is you feel like a sock. A sweaty, old, smelly gym sock.

How to fix it: Magnesium gets zapped from your system pretty quickly because it’s involved in so much. To ensure your magnesium levels are up to par, make sure to eat four to five servings of magnesium-rich foods like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds and almonds every day. You can also consider adding in a magnesium supplement.

4. You need to drink more fluids.

Cell dehydration can literally damage your DNA. Because of this, your brain and nervous system take dehydration very seriously. Even just a small drop in normal fluid balance in your body is enough to cause headaches and fatigue.

Most people hear about the importance of drinking plenty of water, but time and time again it’s overlooked as a reason for common health challenges. Your cells, tissues, and organs are all operating in a water medium. The more murky that water starts to get, the more you start feeling symptoms of fatigue.

When you drink a glass of water, within mere minutes that water begins to become your blood and extracellular fluid and pushes out the used fluid that’s now littered with metabolic waste products. If you don’t drink enough water, that stuff stays gummed up in your system. And you start to feel like a microwaved couch potato.

How to fix it: Make it a must to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, a 150-pound person would make sure to get in 75 ounces, for example. Also, knock out a nice chunk of that first thing in the morning when you wake up: Give yourself an “inner bath” to start your day by drinking 20 to 30 ounces of water shortly after getting out of bed. This will set the pace and ensure that you become hydrated before the busyness of the day takes over.

5. Stress is getting the best of you.

According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as many as 80 percent of all physician visits are for stress-related issues. Stress is one of the biggest culprits in our mental and physical energy crisis today—and yet only 3 percent of patients receive stress management counseling during a doctor’s visit. Something definitely needs to change.

Stress suffocates your energy in a number of ways. With chronically elevated stress, your adrenal glands are forced to operate in maximum gear. This keeps cortisol and other stress hormones high. Excess cortisol leads to a surge of glucose in order to facilitate the perceived “fight-or-flight” situation you’re living in. This is your body’s attempt to make sure you’ve got the energy to run away from that man-eating lion (or run away from that overdue phone bill—because to your body, that stress is all the same).

Spiking glucose inherently leads to crashes. And, for many of us, this is happening day after day after day.

How to fix it: Instead of running to caffeine or sugar for a pick-me-up, be more proactive in buffering stress in the first place. Simple breathing exercises can switch off your sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system within a few seconds. Meditation, restorative yoga, massage therapy, and even moving meditations like qigong and tai chi are all clinically proven to reduce your body’s stress load and enhance energy and well-being.

Find a practice that works for you, and implement it just a few minutes a day. A simple 5- to 10-minute practice can buffer your brain and body against stress and ensure you have the energy to have the quality of life you deserve.

 

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