Fuel Food
Illustrated by Jacqueline Davis Moranti

One thing that I'm constantly asking myself is what to eat, not what to eat for dinner, or breakfast, or when I'm eating out at a restaurant, but what to eat before and after a workout. As trivial as it may seem, it's actually quite important to eat the right things pre and post workout to ensure your body is performing efficiently, that way you get the most out of your fitness regime! As an eager gym rat, I absolutely can't stand sweating it out on an empty stomach, yet having a full stomach doesn't help either! Thankfully, my great friend, Sean Hickman, was considerate enough  to share his insight on what is hot and what is not when it comes to nutrition for a great workout! 

I'm avid about treating our bodies like a prized car. One of the biggest mistakes most fitness beginners make is that they don't eat the right things before a workout. I once had a client who decided to eat double cheeseburgers 10 minutes before his session, which didn't go to well for him. Fueling your body for a workout is pretty simple, I have a few tips for those who can't seem to eat the right meal before hand. 

As a current nutritionist student, a physique competitor, and elite powerlifter, I need a certain amount of fuel in my body to perform at the level I'm accustomed to. A car won't run on fumes, and neither will your body. Carbs and Protein are you best friends before a workout. Eggs are great for a preworkout meal as they have the highest biological value for a protein that can be used by the body. And all of those healthy fats help as well. Add in some oatmeal, which has a low glycemic index and won't raise your blood levels, and you're good to go. Mixing in, some berries and fruit into your oatmeal can help an abundance! Although, if you're like me, always on the go, then bananas and a protein shake work just as great. Just make sure to consume any of this one hour before your workout to give yourself ample time to digest (You don't want to be that rude person on the treadmill that everyone has to hold their nose away from). 

If you tend to work out towards lunch or dinner, the banana/protein shake option always works. Figure in some nuts, if you're not allergic, and if you are then avocados and seeds work wonders too. Also, if you're the rare person that has time to prepare food, a source of protein (soy, meat, beans), carbs (rice, potatoes, yogurt, etc) and heatlhy fats (olive oil, tofu, coconut oil, ) can be huge in preparing for your workout. Usually a split of 30% protein, 30% fats and 40% carbs works well. Try not to eat too close to the workout, if you're eating a full meal take 1.5-2 hours, fruits and yogurt/protein only need one hour. 

Finally, after you've fueled up, gone to the gym, kicked butt and taken names, you need to refuel your body so that way it can repair itself and grow. Without proper refueling, you'll not only waste a lot of your workout, but you'll be pretty sore the next day as well. A protein shake is key in keeping your body anabolic (which is the building of muscle, key to you because it burns fat) or even if you're a competitor who believes in having catabolic stretches, (which is when your body is in a state of breaking down nutrients to release energy) protein helps to preserve that muscle. Yogurt works great but my personal favorite, CHOCOLATE MILK! You want to aim for at least 15g of protein afterwards, a pint of chocolate milk is 16g of protein, which is just enough to fuel those lean muscles and help you recover for the next day! 

Remember that fitness isn't just what you do in the gym. It's what happens the other 23 hours around the clock that matters. Get plenty of rest, choose the right foods and remember to fuel and refuel so you can give your all in the gym! 

"Sean Hickman is a NSCA certified personal trainer who has worked with many clients, ranging from everyday moms to college athletes. A 24 year old NPC physique competitor, Sean also is a powerlifter who is currently in his junior year of college for Kinesiology."

This information is exactly what I needed to help me figure out my workout diet! Now I can sweat it out, peacefully, knowing that my meal was adequate enough! I hope this tid bit of information has helped you out, in any way. Dear readers, I'd love to hear what you do to fuel and refuel your bodies for a workout!

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