After a bit of a hiatus, AKA writer’s block, I’m back with a fresh new blog for you this week. Starting soon, Pete and I will be hosting some in-house speaking engagements that will be addressing many topics that are popular in fitness. During these talks, we will address some myths, misconceptions, and trends going on in the fitness and nutrition world. We will also be opening the floor up for a more hands-on Q and A segment as well. This will be a great learning experience and a fun time!
As the manager and a trainer at Life’s Direction, I get to meet a lot of different people who have different types of goals. Many members approach me for tips regarding fitness, program design, and nutrition. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing some of the more common topics that I love to talk about regarding fitness because they will hit home with many of you.
Clearing Some Confusion
A very common topic of discussion between clients and myself is nutrition. Many members inform me that they are avoiding carbohydrates like the plague and still aren’t losing weight. Diet and nutrition are very important and I feel like this is where many people are a bit cloudy with their knowledge. I’ll even admit that diet hasn’t always been my favorite thing to talk about, but it can make or break all of your progress in the gym. There is a time and place for calorie cuts and elimination/limitation of carbs, but there are a few important things that people need to look at.
-Carbohydrates should NOT be viewed the same way that Darth Vader is. They aren’t evil or from the Dark Side. In fact, they are an extremely important macro nutrient for those who exercise! During exercise, carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your activity. There seems to be a blurred line between the carbs in a piece of cake or enriched white bread versus quality carbs from foods such as fibrous vegetables and whole grains.
-Timing carb intake around your workouts is a great idea that will benefit you and your workout quality greatly. I usually will eat some kind of complex carb with my breakfast in the morning. This typically consists of steel cut oats and whatever vegetables I sauté with my eggs. The oats keep me full until I have my mid-morning snack of a protein shake and a banana. This gets me through the rest of the morning feeling full. About two hours before I lift, I’ll eat baked chicken, brown rice, and fill the rest of my dish with green veggies such as broccoli. This provides me with the sustained fuel (carbs) that I need for my workout. Post workout consists of another banana and protein shake. The banana contains faster digesting carbs that help go straight to helping replenish the muscle glycogen depleted from the workout. Sometimes I even eat the banana towards the tail end of my lifting session just to get a head start on muscle repair. About an hour after my workout, I will then switch my rice up to white and have more chicken as well. This again ensures that muscle repair gets a jump start with the fast digesting white rice. Planning and timing of carbs can work to your advantage if you manipulate fast and slow digesting carbs throughout your day. I tell my clients that if they want something sweet and carby, eat it following a workout as it will typically be “guilt free”, within reason, of course.
On off days from training, I will avoid starchy carbs, for the most part. I generally will just fill my plate with twice as many fibrous vegetables. I will also add a little more fats in place of my carbs. This is where peanut butter, almonds, avocado, etc. come into the picture. With that being said, I consider it a LOWER carb day but not a ZERO carb day.
Over the last 15 years, the carbohydrate has gotten a lot of bad press. While I didn’t write this with the intention of laying out an entire meal plan, I felt that it would serve to clear up a bit of the confusion with this macro nutrient. I don’t put my clients on diets because most diets are too drastic. I tend to focus on making small changes over time.
If you’re in need of some guidance and a bit more education, remember that you receive a free fitness assessment and workout. Let myself or one of our other amazing trainers help set you in the right direction.
Yours in Health,