Your pre-workout food should be helping you fuel and giving your body the energy to push through an intense workout. Afterward, you should be nourishing your body that will help it recover and enough protein to encourage muscle growth.
Before you begin working out, you should start eating some healthy carbs and making sure you’re adequately hydrated.
Carbs are what give the body the necessary energy to power through a workout. Not having enough energy before your workout will limit your ability to burn calories. Ideally, you should fuel up two hours before you plan on working out.
Focus on eating healthy carbs like whole-grain cereals with low-fat or skim milk, whole-wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated fats and even healthy proteins before a workout; they digest slower in your stomach and will take away oxygen from your muscles.
If you’re in a time-crunch and only have ten minutes before your workout to eat, eat an apple or banana, or whatever fruit you have on hand.
Some people believe in the power of exercising on an empty stomach, but that could lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea. If you prefer the feeling of working out on an empty stomach, try eating something light, like a granola bar, to give your body just enough nutrients to get through.
Even if you think you can skip the pre-workout snack, you need to be eating after a workout. Your body needs replacements for all of the calories it just burned. When you skip the post-gym meal, you’ll end up fatigued and with low blood sugar. Plus, you’re keeping your body from making progress.
There are three important groups you should be focusing on after finishing your workout: fluids, carbohydrates and protein.
First, make sure you’re re-hydrating yourself with plenty of water. You’ll also want to drink some 100 percent juice which can provide you with carbs and potassium.
You just burned a bunch of carbohydrates, so you’ll want to replenish your body’s main source of energy. Focus on complex carbohydrates like quinoa or brown rice and incorporate some healthy proteins like tofu or fish. The most important post-workout food group is protein. Protein is what helps repair and build your muscles. If you’re not trying to gain weight, then keep your post-workout snack to 150 calories, and your post-workout meal under 500.
Running is bad for you. It wrecks your knees, hurts your joints, and everyone knows that taking a five-mile run only feels good if you’re twenty years old and at your peak performance ability. What’s the point of taking it up? You would be better off crashing on your couch with a bag of reduced-sodium potato chips or watching your nephew’s track meet from the stands. It’s settled and agreed: running is awful.
Or, at least, that’s how it seems when you listen to your coworkers talk about how much they hate their health club’s annual 4K.
Running gets a bad rap. For all its popularity, the sport is plagued by misconceptions and fad-like myths that scare people away from making it a common practice. In this blog, I’ll take a deeper dive into running and separate sport fact from sport fiction.
Running Shoes are Bad
Not all that long ago, the so-called “Barefoot Running Movement” swept through the athletic community, spurred on by Christopher McDougall’s popular book, Born to Run. Born to Run was an anthropologist’s study on the intersection of tribal life, barefoot running, and super athletes; after it was released to a broad audience, it sparked a flash of mainstream interest in minimalist running. The idea behind the fad was that by wearing thin running flats or no shoes at all, runners could run and feel better for longer than those who used traditional running shoes.
It’s since fizzled out; in 2014, several studies presented at the American College of Sports Medicine “found no significant benefits, in terms of economy, from switching to minimalist, barefoot-style footwear. […] other studies have found that wearing minimalist shoes does not toughen foot muscles to make runners more injury resistant, one of the key arguments of the minimalist movement.” Theoretically, you can take your morning run barefoot – but you shouldn’t feel as though you need to.
Only Young People Can Run
The idea that only younger athletes can run is ageist and factually incorrect. In the end, mindset makes more of a difference than years ever could; a driven forty-year-old is more equipped to handle a marathon than a couch-potato twenty-something ever would be. That said, peak ages are milestones to keep in mind. According to research published by Outside Magazine, sprinters usually peak in their early twenties, while the best marathoners tend to crest in their late twenties or early thirties.
Running Wrecks Your Knees
Running does not wreak havoc on your knees! The idea that running can wear away at your cartilage or negatively impact your joints is truly and resoundingly a myth. In fact, recent research from Johns Hopkins indicates that regular runs might actually protect the knees from joint degeneration down the line.
Running Is a Free Pass to Junk Food
No, going for a run twice a week does not give you a free pass to binge on junk food. While it can be tempting to gauge athleticism and food within the context of an equation – one 400 calorie chicken tender meal in exchange for a 400-calorie burner workout at the gym – that sort of distillation just isn’t good for you. Cardiovascular activity can help you fend off heart disease and lose weight, but only if you adopt an equally healthy diet and lifestyle!
About Robert J. Winn
Robert J. Winn is a family physician based in Philadelphia, PA. For over fifteen years Dr. Winn has worked to provide care to vulnerable populations that face barriers to healthcare access. As a medical professional, Dr. Winn understands how important fitness is to one’s health. On a personal level, he also understands what it’s like to be overweight, so he is able to empathize with patients who struggle to live healthier lives.
Robert J. Winn’s fitness journey started relatively later in life. Although he helped other people become healthy and stay that way, Dr. Winn had fallen victim to a situation that many busy professionals find themselves in. At age 45 he was overweight and didn’t make time for daily exercise. Toward the end of 2014, Dr. Winn realized that something had to change. He had trouble fitting into the clothes he owned, and activities like walking up a flight of stairs exhausted him. Dr. Winn made the decision to turn his health around by devoting himself to fitness.
One of the most important aspects of being a physician is making sure that patients are taking the necessary steps to remain healthy. However, Dr. Winn was not following his own recommendations. In order to remedy this situation, he joined Unite Fitness, a local fitness studio. The Unite Fitness philosophy of “Heart, Muscle, Mind” resonated with Dr. Winn. With the help of Coach Gavin, the founder of the studio, Dr. Winn was able to shed 50 pounds over the course of six months.
Although Robert J. Winn started his fitness journey by attending a fitness studio and receiving instruction from the staff, he realizes that many people, including the majority of his patients, may not have the resources to purchase a membership or home fitness equipment. It’s important to remember, though, that getting in shape does not have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. In fact, you don’t have to join a gym or purchase anything to get started. Dr. Robert J. Winn recommends that patients begin by walking 30 minutes each day. Also, on the internet, you can find numerous free resources like exercise tips and guides that you can use to workout at home in your living room.
One way that Dr. Winn stayed motivated in the beginning of his fitness journey was by sharing updates on social media. His friends and family saw his progress and encouraged him along the way. Plus, patients were able to witness the transformation take place firsthand. As a result, many patients were inspired to get in shape themselves. Sharing his fitness journey on social media also encouraged Dr. Winn to work harder to lose weight because he didn’t want to let his patients down. He wanted to show them that it was possible for anyone to get in shape and become healthier as long as they are dedicated and work hard.
Being overweight leads to many health issues such as depression, high cholesterol, and diabetes just to name a few. Exercising on a daily basis can prevent or eliminate these types of difficulties. Dr. Robert J. Winn uses his personal fitness journey as an example that patients can relate to. Today he feels stronger, healthier, and happier as a result of his active lifestyle and healthy diet. He continues to encourage his patients to take small fitness steps so that they can live life to the fullest with fewer health issues holding them back.