Fuel Your Body, Don't Just Fill It

A lot of people ask me what to eat before and after a workout to reap the most benefits of exercise.  The answer is: it completely depends on your body and your goals.  Some websites will say to eat mostly carbohydrates and sugar about 1 hour before exercise, and eat mostly protein and fiber about 1 hour after exercise.  While overall these are good ways to approach a pre- and post-exericse diet, it is crucial not to base everything off such generalizations.  For example, I might eat a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana before a spin class, but I would eat something like egg whites with spinach before a strength-training workout.  Someone trying to lose body fat might eat a handful of berries or almonds before doing cardio in order for his or her body to burn primarily fat instead of carbohydrates or sugar.  Someone trying to build muscle might consume a peanut butter protein smoothie after a strength-training session.  Every person's body is different, and every person's unique exercise goals are different, so it's no wonder people get so confused by all of the nutritional information out there.  Just figure out what YOUR body likes, and eat according to what you want to achieve.  If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me, and I'd be glad to help you figure out a potential exercise meal plan!

Rise and Run

People tend to have a love/hate relationship with running.  There's the "runner's high" that comes after it, but there's also the pain in your side, sucking wind feeling that comes with it.  I personally do not consider myself a "runner" by any means, but I include running one day per week in my workout routine, and I warm-up with a 5 minute run almost every day.  Here's why.  Running is a stress relief, it helps you sleep better at night, it increases your metabolism, it increases brain function, it decreases your risk of heart problems, and it boosts your mood.  With all of the benefits that come along with running, it's hard for me not to at least include it in small amounts throughout the week.  Here's a sample treadmill workout I do once a week (and you can see that it's not simply running for 30 minutes straight, because that would bore me out of my mind):  I bump the incline up to 6% and walk for 2 minutes at a 3.5 mph pace, then I do walking lunges for 2 minutes at a 1.0 mph pace, then I jog for 1 minute at a 5.0 mph pace.  I continue this pattern until I've been on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes, then I follow with a 10-15 minute ab routine.  Sounds doable right?  Try it out, and see how you feel the rest of the day!

Spin for the Win

Lower stress levels?  Lower risk for injury?  Over 500 calories burned?  Sign me up!  Spin classes are super trendy these days, and with all of their benefits it's no wonder why.  In just 45 minutes, you can work up a good sweat while building muscle tone in your gluteal muscles, thighs, calves, and abs.  Some classes, like the ones at Soul Cycle, incorporate small hand weights in the workout, so you feel the burn in arm muscles that you didn't even know you had!  A lot of people get intimidated by the intensity of spin classes, but with the adjustable resistance and tempo, all levels of exercisers can find an enjoyable level of exercise.  The faster you go, the more fat you burn; the slower you go, the more you really work your muscles.  So, you can't go wrong!  Another plus is the fact that you can do these classes year-round, so when your friends are training for a marathon in 90 degree heat, you'll be inside staying cool (well, as cool as you can be when you're burning 500 calories).  Just give a spin class a try, and see what the hype is all about.  You'll sleep better, you'll eat better, and you'll feel better!