What to Eat For Your Pre Workout Snack

 

Normally people will tell you to fuel the body strictly with a protein or carb source. That’s not a bad idea, but at the end of the day, eating one food source over another isn’t going to increase or decrease your performance.

That being said, sticking to a more nutrient dense food is a smarter choice if you’re looking to take care of your health and improve your energy.

Rule #1 is to go with something that won’t upset your stomach. For me, bananas are a no go lol. For others that may be milk. Rule #2, make sure the food you choose is going to help you work towards YOUR specific goal.

Since you’re looking at increasing energy, berries (or any type of fruit) with a protein shake would be a great idea. The fruit is what is going to give you the initial burst of energy. The protein source is what is going to help you power through your workouts and keep you fuller longer. Rule #3, eat your pre workout food in the right PORTION size that is conducive to your specific goal. Serving size is everything.

Choosing the pre workout food is up to you, but here are some popular combos:
Peanut butter and banana, fruit alone or with string or cottage cheese, grits and tuna (my personal fave), eggs (or egg whites) and oatmeal, avocado and turkey slices, veggies and string or cottage cheese, greek yogurt. I suggest you eat the pre workout food 30-60 mins prior to your workout. You should feel energized and not weighed down by what you eat.

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Staying Healthy at the Gym

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

You go to the gym to maintain and improve your health, right?  Yes.  It’s an envigorating and enthusiastic atmosphere.  But there are also a lot of germs flying around, so it’s best to take precautions to help avoid getting sick.

Clean off equipment:  Our gym equipment is cleaned on a regular basis, but it’s still a good idea to play it safe.  Before and after you use equipment, especially cardio machines, wipe it off with cleaning supplies provided.

Wash your hands:  This is a big one.    Washing your hands with soap and water helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.  Wash your hands before and after your workout.  Avoid touching your face or eating before washing your hands.

A-choo!:  When you sneeze, keep it to yourself by directing it into your elbow/upper arm area instead of all over the equipment or in someone’s face.  The rule of thumb is: if you’re sick from the neck up without a fever, it’s generally okay to work out.  It’s best to stay home if you’re sick from the neck down, with coughing, chills, diarrhea, and weakness.  That’s what can benefit your health.  But to benefit your fellow gym patrons, my advice is to stay home, period, until you feel better.

Watch the feet:  Avoid walking around the facility bare-footed.  If you use the locker room/pool facilities, it might be a good idea to wear flip-flops or similar bathing footwear to protect your feet from germs and fungus that could lead to issues such as athlete’s foot.  But beware!  Wearing flip-flops can also be risky when walking on a wet surface.  While on vacation one year, my husband slipped and fell in the shower while wearing flip-flops, breaking a rib in the process.

Change out of your gym clothes:  Sweaty clothes are great places for bacteria to grow.  As soon as possible after your workout, change into some clean clothes and take a shower.  Keep  a plastic bag for dirty clothes in your gym bag, and separate them from any clean clothes you bring.

Bring your own towel and mat:  You might want to bring a towel from home to sit or lie down on when using gym equipment.  There are also mats you can buy that help prevent bacterial growth.

Paranoia isn’t necessary;  just common sense.  Take simple precautions to ensure a safe, healthy, and rewarding gym experience.

How I De-Stress

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Although some stress is healthy, continuous stress can cause health problems such as high blood press and depression.  Here’s what I do to de-stress.

1.  Write it down:  Keeping a journal is a great way to relieve stress.  If I get bogged down with a lot of stressors, I write down each one and then, beside it, a possible solution.  It enables me to get the worries out of my head and onto paper or computer screen.  When I organize them, and really think about how to fix them, it makes them seem much less intimidating and worrisome.  No, all problems can’t be solved by a simple phone call, for example, but this exercise tends to help lessen the intensity.

2.  Talk it out:  I tell a trusted friend or family member about my concerns.  I even have done a fair bit of talking to myself, taking both sides of an issue. Sometimes just talking things out will help me work through my problems, find answers, and make me feel better.  When that hasn’t helped, I’ve consulted my physician.

3.  Daydream:  I have used daydreaming for stress relief practically my whole life.  I think I spent too much time in a dream world, though.  Basically, when I wasn’t in school, I was up in my bedroom creating a whole different world for myself in which I was totally healthy and popular.  Years later, a psychologist told me that’s actually a healthy way to deal with stress.  I never smoked, drank alcohol, took illicit drugs, or practiced self-mutilation.  I daydreamed.  I had no idea I was doing something healthy.  Go figure.
3.  Guided relaxation:  I’ve got CDs and books on relaxation techniques which have helped somewhat.  One exercise that worked the best was to imagine my feet sprouting roots, grounding me, relaxing me.  I’ve never been able to stick with meditation, though.  My mind won’t quiet down long enough to concentrate on it.  But I do think meditation is a viable option for stress relief.

4.  Go for a walk:  Whenever I’m stressed, a walk helps immensely.  It helps clear my mind and provides exercise at the same time.  It doesn’t have to be a strenuous walk; I just keep a pace that’s comfortable.  Sometimes a walk helps me think of fresh new ideas on how to solves problems, while others times it helps me to forget the whole crazy situation and just enjoy the natural surroundings and sunshine.

5.  Work out:  Stressful situations can put a damper on my motivation.  When I force myself to work out even on the most “blah-feeling” days, I end up feeling refreshed and much less stressed out.  A good workout can really boost my mood and enegy level.  Also, I make fitness fun.  I choose exercises and activities I enjoy doing.  I also keep my workouts varied.  One day I’ll walk with a friend, the next I’ll practice yoga, and the next I’ll do a total body weight training circuit.

6.  Watch something funny:  There are certain TV shows and movies that crack me up.  Watching any old thing doesn’t cut it, though.  It has to make me laugh from down deep.  It can’t just spur an, “oh yeah, that’s funny, haha,” response; it has to be “the-cats-are-looking-at-me-like-I’ve-gone-completely-insane” (we have six of cats) kinda laugh where I can’t stop, can’t talk, can barely breathe.  That’s what de-stresses me.  Two movies that have succeeded in the past have been “Sister Act,” and “American Pie.”  I was surprised that I found American Pie so funny, because I’m not usually the party-hearty-high-school-antics-movie type of person, but I about died laughing through that whole movie.

7.  Be flexible:  Sometimes it’s hard to deal with a situation that just isn’t going my way.  And, of course, sometimes I rant and complain and get all stressed out about it.  When it comes right down to it, it’s much better to cool off, calm down, and learn to be flexible.  Hearing the other person out, using the time spent in a traffic jam to meditate rather than complain, and making the effort to ease up on my husband for forgetting to pick up something while he was out and about that I just “had” to have–these work better and cause fewer headaches than stressing out does.

8.  Get organized:  My organizational skills have not been the greatest at times, and that can lead to some major stress.  Missed appointments, missed opportunities, and guilt result.  It’s not worth it.  I keep saying I will have a major clear out; I will get organized.  But really, little steps taken help as well.  Who has time for major clear outs these days?  Life is crazy busy for many of us.  A couple of things I’ve done have been small, but significant, because they boosted my spirits and motivated me to continue organizing.  One was cleaning out a dresser.  It didn’t take long, but it felt great!  And the other was getting a big desk-top calendar and planning my week.  I’m still using paper planners; I haven’t graduated to Google Calendar or other organization apps yet.  Use what works best for you.