There is a great lack of understanding around what people should eat pre and post work out. Here, we aim to highlight the importance of pre-workout meals to maximize the efficiency of a training session and post workout meals to boost recovery afterwards.
By mastering your pre and post workout nutrition, you can expect to experience:
- Increased fat burning
- Inhibition of fat gain
- Decreased inflammation
- Increased ability to build muscle
- Improve immune function
- Improve bone mass
These benefits seem to work for everyone, regardless of gender or age.
If your goal for training is based around fat loss, then the optimal time to train is first thing in the morning. This is due to an overnight fasted state where blood glucose levels will be low. This state optimises the body’s effectiveness at utilising fat for energy.
If you are unable to train at this time, then a perfect pre workout meal should be eaten 2-3 hours prior to the planned exercise session and should mostly consist of protein and fat. A good example of a meal here would be grilled chicken breast and avocado salad seasoned with Himalayan rock salt and fresh lemon and olive oil.
Studies have shown that consuming caffeine 30minutes prior to a workout can boost energy and also improve the fat burning effect during exercise. Other foods to consider prior to a fat burning session are cacao and green tea again both linked to improving the body’s ability to utilize fat stores for energy.
Other popular training goals include performance training and muscle building. Pre workout nutrition for these training goals is very different. The idea with the pre work out meal here is to prime the body to maximize effectiveness of the session. This is linked to the effect it has on important hormones most notably testosterone and growth hormone. A meal with low GI carbs and a good protein source about 2 hours prior to training is optimal. The list below shows a few examples of some good pre workout meals when your goals are performance or muscle building based.
What to eat:
Oats with protein powder: Probably the perfect pre-workout meal, oatmeal with protein powder will give you both short and long-term energy to power through your workout.
Protein of your choice, sweet potato and broccoli: Perfect combination and ratio of low GI carbohydrates and good protein – primes the body for an effective workout.
By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (aka post-workout nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery.
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
- Replenish energy stores
- Increase muscle size and/or muscle quality
- Repair any damage caused by the workout
What to eat:
Post-workout nutrition requires two things:
Protein to aid in protein synthesis
Carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen.
You can either make your own post-workout drink or find a pre-formulated drink that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates (e.g., maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose, etc) and proteins (e.g., protein hydrolysates or isolates).
Let our personal trainers at Peak 24 develop a personalized nutrition plan to match your individual fitness goals!
It’s icy. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s winter. But you shouldn’t let all of that slow you down.
Inevitably, when winter kicks in, we tend to lose our motivation to exercise. Who cares about putting on a few extra kilos?? No one will notice through all the layers we wear… right??
But here’s a crazy idea. Keep yourself motivated through winter so that when spring arrives you don’t get hit with this wave of panic that beach time is only a few months away.. and you’ve got to knuckle down.
Your mindset is the one and only thing that is going to sabotage your winter fitness efforts. If we can make little changes to your mindset, then the rest simply falls into place.
Here are some winter fitness hacks to keep you on the straight and narrow and force a positive mindset.
- Prepare a tangible fitness goal to complete within the next 3-4 months. Sign yourself up for the City to Bay in September and start training. There are so many events out there. Find one (or two) that are of interest to you, sign up, train, and hold yourself accountable.
- Look to the summer ahead and use it as motivation. Have a holiday, wedding, big event that you’re aware of at some point next summer? Use it as motivation to get into the best shape you possibly can. This is the motivational trigger of your end goal. Figure out what your end goal is, then break it down into weekly achievements.
- Cook healthy, hearty meals to keep you warm. If you’ve spoken with me in depth about nutrition then you’ll know what I’m about to say. Preparation is key to healthy, controlled eating. The beauty of winter is that with little effort you can prepare a whole week worth of nutritious & healthy food with very little effort. Slow cooked roasts, casseroles, and soups are all so easy to make. They are effortless too. Pick your favourite veggies and proteins, chuck them in, and let them cook. It is then so easy to portion freeze leftovers. Take them to work and heat them up in the microwave.
- Train with a friend. Find a likeminded friend and motivate each other to train. Hold yourselves accountable to one another. Get up and go for a run. Don’t fall into the trap of picking each other up however. It is far too easy for the driver to text through and say they’re too tired (for example). Plan to meet at a specific time and location. You wouldn’t leave your mate hanging would you?
- Join a fitness group or get a personal trainer If you cant find a friend willing to do great things with you, then do the next best thing and join a fitness group or get yourself a PT. The smaller the group, the harder it is for you to pull “no shows,” as your part of an elite team, braving the cold, dark mornings together.
- Join a sports team. If you’re looking for something a bit more fun and competitive then join a sports team. Whether it be soccer, touch footy, netball… it doesn’t matter. The best part about this is you play in the evenings which means you get a sleep in. The worst part about this, you play in the evenings and it’s easy to find an excuse, any excuse to not partake.
- Write up a weight loss schedule and stick to it. Smaller, more frequent goals are easier to achieve and keep your mind on track. Click here to read more from a post on scheduling.
Remember the hardest part is getting up and just doing it. Remind yourself that when it’s too dark, or too cold, what your end goal is… and remember the sense of accomplishment you feel, and how good you feel when it’s all over.
Tomorrow never comes my friends – whatever you think you need to do, start doing it now.
Author: Jack Seymour
Why bother with bland, powdery store-bought pancake mix, when this carrot and banana pancake recipe only requires a few ingredients? Combine superfoods and flip the healthiest pancakes you’ve ever served to a hungry crowd! Bananas, rich in potassium, and eggs, packed with protein and omega-3’s, ensure a healthy start to your day. Add quick oats for a bit of fibre, and great tasting cinnamon (another phenomenal superfood) and you’ve got a sweet, warm stack of crowd-pleasing pancakes! Top with berries for an even more delicious, and superfood-filled, treat!
This Super Green Detox Drink is the perfect beverage to whip up after a week of indulging. From the infinite spectrum of green juices to green smoothies, green-based drinks are certainly trending these days, and for good reason! These nutrient-rich drinks nourish and detoxify your system, and help you feel great. This recipe in particular calls for powerful superfoods like kale, spinach, and cilantro, ingredients that offer countless health benefits your body will thank you for. And if the thought of sipping on liquefied veggies makes you cringe, don’t worry! We’ve added an apple to the recipe for a hint of sweetness that cranks up the flavour.
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 kale leaves
1 handful spinach
Handful of fresh parsley or cilantro
1 lemon peeled
1 apple, seeded, cored and chopped
2 tsp chia seeds
1. If using a juicer: Add all the above ingredients, except chia seeds, to a juicer and juice. Stir in chia seeds before drinking.
2. If using a blender: Add all the above ingredients to a blender along with 1 cup chilled water. Add ice if desired. Blend until smooth. If no pulp is desired, strain smoothie through a fine mesh strainer before drinking.
Yields: 1 servings | Serving Size: 1 smoothie | Calories: 158 | Total Fat: 1g | Carbohydrates: 39g | Dietary Fibre: 9g | Sugars: 20g | Protein: 5g
Grapes and avocado are a match made in salad heaven! Crisp juiciness from the grapes deliciously complements the avocado’s smooth, buttery texture. Paired with bright celery, sweet apple slices, and bold arugula, our avocado & grape salad with walnuts bursts with vitamins and minerals. Walnuts add crunchy texture and a healthy dose of protein and omega-3s. Combined, the salad offers a medley of sweet flavours sure to please your taste buds.
Whipping up this fresh and fabulous recipe is as easy as tossing the ingredients together. This salad serves as a lovely side dish to any meal, but it also makes a light and tasty lunch!
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about one lemon), divided
1 1/2 cups halved grapes
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 pack baby arugula or baby kale
1 green apple, cored, quartered, and sliced
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Toss avocado slices in one tablespoon lemon juice. Toss apple slices separately in remaining tablespoon lemon juice. Toss grapes, walnuts, celery, apple, baby kale or arugula, and salt and pepper together. Carefully add avocado and toss.
2. Enjoy with a favourite clean eating salad dressing or vinaigrette served tossed in salad or on the side.
Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 171 | Total Fat: 9g | Sodium: 170mg | Carbohydrates: 23g | Fibre: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Protein: 3g
We love clean desserts! Thankfully, you don’t have to miss out on the sweet things in life in order to be healthy. So, the next time your sweet tooth starts speaking to you, answer it with a batch of baked almond peaches. They have no refined sugar and get lots of their sweetness from the peaches themselves. They also have super healthy coconut oil, fibre-rich whole-wheat flour, and a delicious combination of spices. What more could you want?
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup almonds, lightly chopped
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil, cold
4 large, ripe, and fresh peaches, cut in half and pit removed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a casserole dish with non stick spray and set aside.
2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except for peaches. Pulse until mixture is crumbly. Place peaches in prepared casserole dish, skin side down. Fill the hole left from the pit with oatmeal mixture, about 2 to 3 tablespoons.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until peaches are soft and filling is lightly brown. Serve warm. If desired, drizzle with honey or a dollop of sweetened whipped coconut cream.
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 baked peach | Calories: 223 | Total Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 150mg | Carbs: 31g | Fibre:3g | Sugar: 19g | Protein: 4g
How fit are you, really? There is no one universal way of measuring someone’s fitness level. Nonetheless, many of us are interested to know how fit we are, or how much we are benefiting from our workouts. It’s not an easy question to answer because the term fitness is actually a very broad term.
There are 4 popular ways to categorize fitness. In this article we will discuss cardiovascular fitness. Your cardiovascular fitness involves how much endurance you have when doing cardio activities. The second measure is body weight which includes tests such as the ‘waist to hip ratio’ or ‘body fat caliper testing.’ These tests provide feedback to encourage you to stay within a healthy body weight range and so, are invaluable when designing a nutrition and exercise program. The last two aspects of fitness are strength and flexibility which can be tested using the ‘push up test’ and ‘the sit and reach test’ respectively.
Cardiovascular fitness testing
Your local GP can perform a sub-maximal exercise stress test, which evaluates how your heart copes with extra demand during exercise. This can be done on a treadmill or stationery bike, which gradually increases in speed and gradient measuring the performance and capacity of the heart, lungs and blood vessels during exercise. Doctors monitor your blood pressure and heart rate rhythm in a controlled environment.
For elite athletes, the Astrand-Rhyming Cycle Ergometer Test can be done to measure your VO2 maximum (maximum oxygen consumption). Athletes pedal on a cycle ergometer at a constant workload for 7 minutes. The heart rate is measured every minute, and the steady state heart rate is determined. Put very simply, the lower you heart rate during each stage, the better your fitness level.
The 3-Minute Step Test is popular because it can be performed at home or at the gym and measures your aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness level based on how quickly your heart rate returns to normal after exercise. Step on and off a 30cm box for 3 minutes straight while keeping a consistent pace. At 3 minutes, stop and measure your heart rate for 1 full minute, you are seeing how long it takes for your active heart rate to return to resting heart rate. There is a chart for men and women as well as age to see where you rate from excellent through to very poor.
The Shuttle Run Test or ‘beep test’ is designed to measure the maximum endurance of an individual and popular among sporting teams because it allows a large number of people to complete it at once. It involves running continuously between two points 20 meters apart keeping in time with a synchronised pre-recorded CD which plays beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the intervals become shorter forcing the athletes to increase speed until the point they can no longer continue and are they are allocated a score.
When you’re craving a less-than-healthy snack, quinoa protein bars are a great way to satisfy that craving while maintaining your healthy diet. This delectable snack combines quinoa and dark chocolate, as well as other superfoods, to create a tasty treat that is a perfect snack before and after workouts, or when that afternoon craving for something sweet hits. And for anyone on a gluten-free diet, healthy quinoa treats are like hitting the jackpot!
Quinoa is one of the most versatile superfoods you can eat. Superfoods are natural, unprocessed foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. They help the body fight disease and provide it with what it needs to be in excellent health.
To create a little variety or to accommodate any food allergies, sunflower butter and pumpkin seeds are great alternatives to peanut butter and almonds. And the dates keep the bars moist without providing a distinct flavour. For a little variety, add the chocolate chips directly to the mixture instead of melting them and drizzling on top.
- 1/3 cup quinoa, pre-rinsed
- 2/3 cup water
- 16 whole (pitted) dates, no sugar added
- 1/2 cup raw almonds with skin
- 1/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (almond butter is an option)
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
TIP: Make this recipe into 20 Quinoa Protein Bites at about 1″ each, and you’ve got a snack that’s under 100 calories!
Add quinoa and water to a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook approximately 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours…overnight will work.
Using a food processor or high powered blender, add dates and pulse until they form a ball. Remove dates and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds to the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Be careful not to turn the almonds into mill. Add dates, almonds, peanut butter and cold quinoa to the food processor and pulse until ingredients are well combined. Return ingredients to the mixing bowl, shape into 6 – 2″ x 1″ bars, about 1″ thickness. Place on a dish, refrigerate until chocolate is set.
In a small saucepan, add chocolate chips and honey…melt over low heat or in a double-boiler. Evenly spread a thin layer of chocolate over the top of each protein bar, return to the refrigerator and allow chocolate to harden. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Optional, omit the honey and add chocolate chips to the food processor when adding the quinoa.
Nutritional Analysis: 8 bars | serving size: 1 bar | Calories: 376 | Total Fat: 13 g | Sodium: 3 mg | Carbohydrates: 63 g | Dietary fiber: 10 g | Protein: 14 g |
NOTE: The fats in our Quinoa Protein Bars are healthy fats primarily from the almonds. The calories are mostly from the dates, which is one of nature’s sweetest foods. You will find only natural, unrefined sugars in this recipe which contains 4 superfoods- quinoa, dates, almonds and dark chocolate.
Have you been looking for a light, healthy, and tasty Thai dish that is quick and easy to make? Here is a yummy recipe that you can make in a flash! Larb is an Asian salad that’s considered the national dish of Laos. It features a sour and spicy warm stir-fried meat on top of cold, crisp lettuce.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/2 pound ground chicken breast
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
- Minced fresh chiles, Jalapeño or Fresno (amount up to you)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves separated into “cups”
- 1 handful of cilantro and/or mint
Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the chicken. Use your spatula to break up the meat and spread out over the surface of the pan. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Push the ground chicken to one side of the pan and swirl in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. To the oil, add the shallots, red onion, garlic, and fresh chiles and sauté the aromatics until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce.
Serve with lettuce cups and herbs.
Nutritional Analysis: 6-8 servings | Serving Size: 1 lettuce cup |Calories: 120 | Total Fat: 6.4 g | Sodium: 319 mg | Carbohydrates: 4.1 g | Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g | Protein: 11.9 g |