Fueling your workout
with advice from Angela Mader
You’ve made a commitment to get healthy and lose weight.
You’ve trimmed unhealthy foods that have lots of sugar and trans fats from your diet and added in more fruits and vegetables, and you’re doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, but you’re not seeing any weight loss.
Not so great.
Angela Mader, the creator of the fitbook™ (a Physiquality partner program), recommends taking a look at what you’re eating before workouts to make sure that you’re eating the best foods to energize you and maximize your results. As she explains it, “food is fuel. It might be time to take a look under the hood to make sure you’re properly fueling (and re-fueling) your body to optimize burning fat while gaining lean muscle.”
Angela recommends aiming for a 60-20-20 ratio of carbs to fat to protein in the 30 to 60 minutes before your workout. This will ensure that you have enough carbohydrates in your system to power your workout. Here are some of her suggestions for pre-workout snacks:
Bananas. Not only do bananas have twice as many carbohydrates as a slice of bread, but their potassium helps your body recover after your workout. Dip them in nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) to add a little more protein before you head to the gym.
Greek yogurt with fruit and cereal. The yogurt is packed with protein and tastes great with fruit. Just be sure that any cereal or granola you add is low on sugar.
Vegetables, hummus and pita. Slice the veggies in the morning and pack the carb-heavy pita, along with a small portion of hummus, to have a pre-workout snack on the go.
And while it’s not filled with protein or carbohydrates, caffeine has been shown to boost your metabolism during a workout — a study published in 2015 showed that participants who had caffeine before a workout burned about 15% more calories than those that did not. Just remember that this should be black coffee, not a drink from Starbucks with 600 calories.
After you get home, what you eat is just as important. Physiquality partner AlterG points out that a steady diet (as compared to fasting, then eating a huge meal) helps to keep your muscle mass strong. While your body is recuperating from a workout, you may have inflammation, but there are certain foods you can eat and avoid to help your body recover: Essential fatty acids like omega-3 (found in avocados, almonds and olive oil) have been found to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation, while vegetable oils and fried or processed foods can make it worse.
Your body should be a well-tuned machine. If you take care to give it the right fuel, you’ll be able to move like a muscle car (or at least a Camry that runs well for a long time).
||Angela Mader is the founder of fitlosophy and the creator of the fitbook™, a Physiquality partner program, and a revolutionary line of fitness + nutrition journals that are redefining how people reach their fitness goals.
||AlterG, a Physiquality vendor partner, is the creator of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Its NASA technology enables patients to safely rehab sooner, walk further or train harder. Air pressure gently reduces bodyweight and impact on joints.
For further reading, look through our selection of articles on nutrition, in addition to the below links:
How your meals impact your movement. AlterG, September 13, 2017.
Mader, Angela. 12 pre + post-workout snacks to fuel your bod. fitbook™, December 6, 2015.
Sass, Cynthia. 5 reasons to drink coffee before your workout. Health.com, June 19, 2014.
Yogurt image from The Do It Yourself Mom [CC BY-SA 3.0].