Our society has made it a habit to NOT EAT. We focus on productivity over self-care and health care. We pride ourselves on working 90 hour weeks and earning that bonus.
I wonder, how you might function, feel, and look if you valued something as simple and small as your meals as much as you value your productivity?
I often emphasize the importance of nutrient timing to my clients. Many do not eat in the morning or come into a workout fasted. I have several issues with this as a trainer and nutritionist. Let’s explore!
1. The body needs fuel to function
Just like a car. Without fuel we burnout and are left feeling lethargic, tired/exhausted or even end up getting sick. Yuck! With the right fuel we can focus, feel energized, and be more productive than ever before!
2. Consuming a meal before your workout gives you extra energy and allows the body to burn this rather than your muscle
Don’t worry, you will still burn fat as well as the fuel you have just consumed. That fuel is also nourishing your muscles as you move through the workout. My best advice is eat a meal that has good, clean carbs (white/brown rice, sourdough toast, whole grains/whole wheat) and a protein. You don’t need more than this. Just make sure the portion sizes are right for you and the workout you are about to move through.
3. Eating after your workout is just as important as eating before the workout
The body is now exhausted and depleted of that fuel we just put in. Much like driving our car around for errands all day, we need to fuel up again so we are prepared and ready for the next adventure! Eating post-workout also nourishes and assists with recovery of the body as a whole. If we do not eat after, the body eats the muscle instead and weakens the immune system. In the future we see inflammation and water holding, a slow metabolism that is still damaged, and very little muscle development along with way.
4. Nutrient timing outside of your workouts is just as important as they are before and after
As mentioned above the body and mind are fueled by our foods. Without them we cannot function or think clearly. Focus may even become an issue. Making sure to take the time to slow down and remind yourself that it’s time to consume can make your day 10x smoother! And who doesn’t want that!?
5. Eating the proper amount of food daily also helps to fix our metabolism
Many of us have a broken and damaged one from years of processed foods and poor nutrient timing.
So if we want to feel better, not only look better, we need to begin with our food relationship.
How do we improve our relationship with food?
Let’s take a look!
1. Remind yourself that food is neither good nor bad
It has good and bad effects on the body itself. I teach my clients how to notice this when they are eating anything at all. Does that make you feel good and energized when you are finished eating? Or does it make you feel lethargic, tired and in need of a nap? If the ladder, that food is not working well and processing in your body. It may be a good idea to avoid it.
2. Remind yourself that food is fuel
In order to have a healthy functioning mind and body we need to consume the proper amount of nutrients on any given day.
3. Set timers if you need to
When I began my bodybuilding journey seven years ago, I did nothing but set timers. Every 3 hours I would eat. Now my body knows when it’s time to eat and when I am just bored. Timers/alarms help us create and set up good habits and routines.
4. Eat in moderation
Never, NEVER deprive or take away a macro or even a food because the name isn’t lined up with your goals. A cookie is a cookie whether it is made with processed flour, sugar, and milk or made with almond flour, oat milk, and plant-based butters. Pizza is still pizza even if the crust is cauliflower and the cheese is plant-based. Allow yourself to enjoy your food and this won’t feel like a chore.
5. You do not have to earn your food
If you want to eat something, do so. I remind my clients to keep their foods 80/20. This means that 80% of what you eat each day is what your body needs and what is going to fuel you for your goals. 20% is what you want to eat that may not be the best but we still enjoy it.
Be kind to yourself. Mindset changes do not happen overnight.
Next time you’re getting ready for that workout, don’t grab pre-workout and head out. Sit down for 20 minutes and enjoy some good carbs and protein. Eat some candy on the way or during your workout instead. The sugar will fuel you in the same way that pre-workout will, less damaging to the adrenals however just as addicting.
I like my clients to cycle their pre-workout intake and give the body a rest at times. This is a great alternative to doing just that.
I hope your next workout is amazing and full of energy you have never felt before!