In order to ask your body to perform with high energy, happiness, and endurance, we’ve got to put the right stuff in the top end. It only makes sense to fuel our bodies with the best stuff possible, after all, we only get one body and we’ve got to treat it well. Smart fueling helps you achieve your healthy living goals (doesn’t matter if those goals are to lose weight, maintain weight, gain strength, increase athleticism, etc.) and to make intelligent life-long decisions about eating.
Here are some thoughts from an amazing collegiate heptathlete that we can all pull from as we make decisions everyday about what, how, and when to eat. And maybe I’m a bit partial to her, since she’s my brilliant, incredible sis-in-law, but I hope you enjoy:
When you’re burning thousands of calories, you won’t last long if you don’t refuel…and you can refuel on cheap gas that will get you through the activities you do, or you can choose the high-octane stuff that will get you in peak performance and help your body function the best it can as well.
So, my advice is to eat lots of really good food. Primarily what I mean is #1 complex carbohydrates, and #2 low-fat protein…duh, I know…but there is a method, and it is a mindset. For sprints and all anaerobic exercise, you are burning the energy that is stored in your muscles. After a workout, your energy stores are depleted, and there is a ~20 minute window where your body will take the food you put in and deposit it directly in your muscles to replenish your stores. If you wait longer than that, your recovery will be longer, and your food might get stored elsewhere. So, in terms of quantity, your body will tell you what you need. I personally think you should eat if you’re hungry, and eat often (5 snacks a day to keep your metabolism up)…but what is THE MOST important thing is that you cut out ALL of the crap – no high fat proteins, no simple carbs. This is what will kill you in a diet/exercise regimen. Everything you touch to put in your mouth needs to be toward the goal of the high-octaine kind of food. Whole grains, brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, fruits, etc are great post work-out refuelers. Lean meat – chicken, turkey, ground turkey, fish, albacore tuna, mozzarela cheese, cottage cheese, vegetables, and lean red meat are also good.
After a while, the junk that used to seem so good actually seems gross! It tastes gross, and you get a visual of it clogging your arteries and pores and inhibiting your performance…this is what got me through the mental battle of food, weight, and exercise. I ended up becoming the athlete I dreamed of becoming, and I learned a lot along the way…
What yummies have you all been fueling your body with during this healthy living challenge? Any quick & wholesome recipes to share? Do you have an experience you want to share about fueling w/ the cheap crap vs fueling w/ the high-octane stuff? Share your thoughts 🙂