Post Workout Nutrition

In case you missed it,  4 Points Health and Wellness had a pretty exciting Open House event this past weekend to give the community a chance to try out some classes and meet myself and all of our other fantastic practitioners. If you managed to stop by, a huge thank you to you, but if you didn’t make it, or you missed my presentation, then you’re in luck, because I’m going to give you the coles notes version, right now!

Saturday I got to speak about post workout nutrition, and what your body needs  in order to refuel and recover after your sweat sesh.

When you exercise, you deplete your body’s glycogen stores (stored energy from glucose), and these stores need to be replenished. In addition to this, you also cause muscle tissue damage (protein catabolism) which needs to be repaired.

In order to replenish glycogen stores, your body needs carbohydrates, while protein is needed to repair and build muscle tissue.  It is recommended that you consume protein and carbs in a ratio of 1:4 after you exercise. A good rule of thumb is to consume between 15 – 20 grams of protein,  and to consume about 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1 kg of body weight (or about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight).

This may sound like a lot of carbs, but contrary to popular belief, carbs are not the enemy. They are your body’s (and you brain!!!) preferred fuel source, and you need them in order to perform optimally. You also need them in combination with protein to contribute to muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth).

It’s best to try to have your post workout meal as soon as possible after you exercise to get your body the nutrients it needs to start repairing ASAP. Also, when you exercise, you create an environment in your body that is capable of storing glucose, and synthesizing muscle tissue more effectively than any other time, so take advantage of it, get that fuel, and those building blocks in right away, or at least within 1 – 2 hours of the end of your workout.

Some tips for choosing post workout foods:

  • choose some carbs that are higher on the glycemic index (this recommendation may not apply if you are diabetic of have blood sugar issues) like bananas, pineapples, or dried fruit
  • choose complete proteins to get a full spectrum of amino acids
    • generally sources of complete proteins are animal based like meat, eggs, and dairy, however you can get complete proteins from vegan sources like beans, chickpeas, etc, if you combine them with a whole grain like brown rice, oats, or quinoa
  • get your nutrients from whole food sources whenever possible
  • if you’re not able to have a whole food meal post workout and you’re choosing a protein shake or recovery beverage, try to choose high quality products with ingredients you understand, and minimal artificial sweeteners

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Navigating the Grocery Store

So you’ve committed to eating healthier!? That’s great news, and making that decision is a tremendous first step toward a healthier life. But now that you’ve made the choice, where do you start?

When you’re trying to change your diet and eat healthy, sometimes the grocery store can be a bit overwhelming. Your previous grocery trips probably felt routine and normal, with few surprises, but in the first few shopping trips after making the choice to change, you may suddenly notice how many choices you have.

Personally, I love grocery shopping, and the sight of my fridge filled with colourful veggies, and healthy foods fills me with so much joy and gratitude. Although I’ve always known that a full fridge is something I am very fortunate to have had, I didn’t always love the grocery store, and finding my way definitely took some time and practice.

If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed when you step into the supermarket, take a look at my tips for navigating the grocery store below:

  • First and foremost, don’t go shopping hungry. You’ve probably heard this one over and over, but it’s true. Shopping on an empty stomach can lead you over shop, you may end up leaving the store with way more food than you need, which leads to waste, and it can also lead you to make poorer choices in terms of the types of food you purchase
  • Secondly, shop the perimeter. The outer perimeter of the grocery store is where you will primarily find the fresh foods. All stores have a slightly different layout, but for the most part you’ll find that the fresh produce, dairy (and dairy substitutes) , eggs, and meat/poultry/fish are all found along the outside edges of the store. Often you will also find the bakery on the perimeter as well, in which case, you should approach with your specific items in mind.
  • Which leads me to my next point, come prepared, make a list! Grocery shopping without a plan in mind can also lead to buying excess or unnecessary items. In a perfect world you’ll have a plan set for the meals you’ll be making this week, and you can buy your groceries accordingly, however, you and I both know that things don’t usually work out that way. Make a set list of your staple items, and then for each trip you can add special items for certain meals you hope to make. Having a plan is the best way to ensure that you don’t go buck wild through the isles.
  • Now that you have your list, and you’ve made your way around the outer edge of the store, stocking up on fruits, veggies, meats (if that’s your thing) and eggs, it’s time to head into the isles for some more specific items. Before you go browsing the isles, STOP, check your list, then look up and check the sign above the isle. You don’t need to go down there if that sign doesn’t match up with any items on your list. If you’re prone to impulse purchasing, or you tend to gravitate toward snack foods, this tip is for you.
  • Speaking of isles, just because something is in the health food isle, or labelled as organic, or low fat or sugar free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Of course there are lots of great items in there, like coconut oil, or chia seeds, but even though those cookies are gluten free and organic, they aren’t any better for you than any other cookies. (For some tips on when and why it’s good to choose organic products, check out http://www.davidsuzuki.org/)
  • My last, but not least, tip for navigating the grocery store, is to try as much as possible to stick to whole foods. This means that ideally, the foods you purchase and eat most often, should not come from a bag or a box. Fresh fruit and veggies, (canned or frozen is OK, but check the label for additives) lean proteins, whole grains, etc.
    • To help make the most of this, its helpful to learn to understand food labels. Don’t be afraid to spend some time reading labels in the store, you deserve to know what you’re eating! A good rule of thumb is to look for products with a small ingredient list, and words that you understand. When looking at products like breads, or rice, avoiding white, is also recommended, as the process of refining those grains removes much of the vitamin content.

If you have questions about these tips, or any other nutrition  related questions, please don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message!

Happy shopping!

FREE NUTRITION ADVICE!!

Now that I have your attention….

It’s true, I’m offering free nutrition advice, so here are the details!!

Starting this Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, I’ll be hosting drop-in nutrition help sessions on Saturdays from 1 PM to 4 PM at my new home base, 4 Points Health and Wellness. No strings attached, no commitment required, just drop by anytime between 1 and 4pm and come with your questions.

I’ll be offering helpful tips and info about things you can do right now, to improve your diet and your health. I will also do my best to answer any and all questions you bring me.

Comment below with your health and nutrition questions and I’ll be sure to include them on Saturday!

4 Points Health and Wellness is located at 12406 112 Ave, Edmonton

You can also learn more about 4 Points and the services offered there at http://www.4pointshealth.com/