How much, what and when to eat

Nutrition is an interesting topic. For some, they treat it like religion. But it isn’t like religion at all. It doesn’t matter what I believe. Instead what should matter is what the research tells us to be true. We can decide to accept science or not.

The rules of post-workout nutrition

Have you ever heard something related to health and fitness that you just know to be true?

5 Reasons for an Immediate Post-Workout Shake

The other day we were finishing a Group Fitness Training workout and I passed out shakes to those who had joined us. Yeah, that’s right. From time to time you get rewarded for coming out for a training session on a long weekend.

Anyways as we were sitting back and drinking our shakes someone asked me why we would have a shake? Why was this important?

Top Healthy Snack Ideas to Support Fitness Goals

When it comes to nutrition there is a common element that confuses a number of people.
 
Snacks.
 
What should you snack on? When should you snack? How much is ok? Should you snack?
 
The more you think about it the more confusing it can get. So I’ll keep it really simple. Here are the rules.
 
Rule #1 – Eat Your 3 Squares of Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Rule #2 – If Still Hungry Between B,L,D Then Have a Snack
 
It doesn’t have to get much  more complicated than that. Listen to your body. It will tell you when it’s ready for fuel and nutrition.
 
Believe it or not everyone one of us is a unique individual. And everyone’s goals, schedules, metabolism and starting points are all going to be different.
 
Knowing these differences exist it is pretty difficult to say everyone should eat the same snacks, at the same time and the same amounts.
 
With that in mind below are a number of sample snack ideas. Feel free to add your own favourites to the comments section.
 
 
* low fat cottage cheese – excellent source of protein
* low fat yogurt – none with fruit already added though
* fruit – specifically berries i.e. strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & melons i.e. cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon & grapes 
* celery & peanut butter (try Adams Natural pb)
* beef or turkey jerkey – if possible without MSG
* nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia, Brazil, cashews, hazel, pistachios 
* seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
* porc rinds – find these in the potato chip section of your supermarket
* tuna with dill pickle or salsa
* smoothie made with water, ice, fruit & a scoop of protein powder
 
Some other options include:
* whole grain bagel with cream cheese and a yogurt
* Adam’s Peanut Butter, Stoned Wheat Thins and a V-8 juice
* trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
* granola with low-fat milk and banana
* instant oatmeal, not the flavoured kind, with low-fat milk
* artichoke hearts, cheese & stoned wheat thin crackers
 
As well when buying snacks:
* yogurt – buy plain fat-free, or Greek, and flavour with vanilla, honey, cinnamon, applesauce, fruit cocktail or berries
* choose fresh fruits that are in season
* bagels – whole grain varieties which provide more vitamins and minerals than bagels made with white flour
* crackers – stoned wheat, sesame, bran
* popcorn – plain then flavour with garlic, chili, onion powders

I had to take popcorn off the list. More on that in another post.

Keep in mind as well that not all snacks are suitable for every person.

For those looking to shed a few pounds (or more) keep an eye on the carbs such as the crackers, cereals and fruits.

For those looking to gain a few pounds increase your intake of healthy fats and dried fruits which have a higher caloric density.

The take home message is to listen to your body and track your results.

If during the mid afternoon at work or school you are experiencing head nods and struggling to stay awake maybe a snack and some fresh air would benefit you.

Or if you’re having trouble adding a few pounds of lean muscle mass look to add in a snack or two, especially on days when you’re not training, to put yourself into a caloric surplus and grow.

Now let me know your favourite snack. Even if it’s not a healthy one tell me anyways and I’ll see if I can find a healthy alternative for you.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                    okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

Serious About Weight Loss? Stop Reading Food Labels!

I might be contradicting myself here but it’s got to be done.

‘How so?’ you might be saying to yourself.

Well for a while I was encouraging you to do something nutritionally that I believed was in your best interests. That would give you better results related to weight loss and performance.

But maybe I was wrong. (said in a whisper so no one can hear me)

What it is that I had you doing was reading food labels. So how can this be a bad thing? Why would I suggest you stop doing so? Well for three reasons.

Reason #1 to Stop Reading Food Labels – You are being misled

I wouldn’t go so far as to saw you are being lied to but consider the following titles on food packages:

‘made with real sugar’

‘all natural’

‘organic’

‘95% fat free’

So how are these titles on packaging misleading? Well there really is no benefit to eating real sugar. It still causes an insulin spike and puts the break on your fat burning.

What about ‘all-natural’ and ‘organic’? Well just because something occurs naturally doesn’t mean it’s healthy and a good idea to put it in your mouth. Heck, in the case of arsenic, it can kill you.

And organic, well often times this is marketing-hype imo. If you eat organic for environmental reasons, do organic bananas leave a smaller organic footprint to ship to Canada than regular bananas?

Reason #2 To Stop Reading Food Labels – It’s less about the calories

Ask most people what they check when they read a food label and what is the most common answer? Calories. We still believe, incorrectly, that a calorie is a calorie and we simply need to create a deficit or surplus in order to have the best results.

The truth is that it’s probably more important to consider the quality and timing of your food selections rather than the calorie count. Knowing this, and the fact most people don’t check the sugar, protein or fibre content on labels means they could probably save themselves the effort.

Reason #3 To Stop Reading Food Labels – If it has one it’s 2nd rate food

Question? While doing research for this blog post I couldn’t seem to find the label on the following food items. Maybe you can help me out. I was looking for labels on:

* some fresh salmon

* some broccoli

* an egg

* an apple

If the majority of the foods you eat don’t have a label, good for you. This means you are probably preparing most of your meals yourself and eating better quality nutrition than the masses.

Because it really is a contradiction to be trying to have the healthiest life possible when we’re comparing the labels on ice cream at the super market. Or when we buy 100 calorie size samples of chocolate bars to manage our cravings.

We’re fooling ourselves if we read labels for any of the above three reasons.

However if you read labels to seek out essential nutrients or if you read labels to ensure the absence of gluten, HFCS or some other ingredient than carry on.

Otherwise quit reading food labels and enjoy the benefits of optimum health, fitness and performance.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

Less than optimal pre-workout nutrition

Hi there: Last weekend we met for our weekly stairs workout. Everything was as per usual leading up to the workout. Rest was good. Motivation to train was good. I had hydrated well before the workout and had breakfast before training.

As we showed up for the workout we began with a general warm-up consisting of an easy jog around the soccer fields. From there we went into our dynamic warm-up, some skip drills and then a short jog over to the stairs. After a few leg swings and some ankle mobilizations we then proceeded to walk up the first flight of stairs. By the top of the stairs everything was feeling loose, warmed up and ready to go.

But I wasn’t feeling too hot. I wasn’t sure why but thought the feeling would pass.

So we proceeded on with the workout. And I was having difficulty getting my legs going. You know the feeling I’m talking about? Even though you’ve gone through a thorough warm-up your body still feels sluggish.

Well that’s how I felt. Add to that my heart rate was at or above the normal level for this type of workout.

Then I realized what I had done wrong. The day before I had made an omelet. And whenever I cook I like to make extra on purpose. This saves me time then next time I go looking for something to eat.

So when I woke that Saturday morning all I could think about was the left over omelet calling to me from my bed. 3 eggs, a good dose of shredded cheddar, more than enough bacon with some peppers.

After getting ready I was in the kitchen warming up these left-overs and looking forward to my pre-workout meal this omelet would make.

Bad idea.

I should have known better. When we load the body up on fat, protein and or calories we divert blood from the working muscles to the GI tract for the task of digesting these nutrients. And I had just incorporated all 3 of these into my pre-workout meal. In terms of carbs, protein, fats and calories here’s how this meal looked.

Carb = 0 grams
Protein = 38 grams
Fat = 45 grams
Calories = almost 600

I struck out in all three areas of my pre-workout nutrition. I had way too much protein, fat and calories. And zero carbs to fuel my efforts. In fact my fat intake was over 70% of my calories for that meal! (it should have been around 30%) And almost 600 calories won’t sit well in anyone’s stomach right before a workout.

But when you think about it many people will make this same mistake. They will assume an omelet is a healthy breakfast option. They would guess that eggs and cheese are both good food sources and that bacon once in a while can’t be that bad. And they’d be right.

The key considerations here are the proportions of carbs, protein, fats as well as the timing of the meal. Obviously my proportions were unbalanced, I ate too many calories and I didn’t eat this meal at a very good time considering the workout I was about to do.

While we often perform a stair workout to drop a pound of two stick to the conventional way of doing so and don’t follow my lead of tasting your breakfast a second time.

Do you have a favourite pre-workout meal? Leave a comment and let me know what works for you.

Chris
okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’