Today I had the pleasure of spending the morning with Lori De Angelis sharing tips for optimizing your workout. I don’t know about you, but as a new mom, with limited time, I want to get the most out of my workout. With the Canadian Health Food Association I was SO happy to help develop tips on how to improve your power, optimize your energy for better performance and how to properly hydrate to keep your cool especially in this summer heat.
Power. Performance. Hydration. Three key areas you want to consider when thinking about your workout. Paying attention to your body’s needs before, after and during your workout, can not only improve how you feel, but can help you improve your results and ultimately help you reach your goals faster.
Protein = Power. The repair and building of muscles depends on the availability of protein, which is made up of individual building blocks called amino acids. To make sure your muscles have access to the protein they need it is important to consume protein-rich whole foods.
Often when we think about protein we think about meat and eggs, but there are many other options such as beans, lentils and legumes, nuts and seeds, organic tofu, and some grains like quinoa, are excellent alternatives.
Protein powders are also a great option, I like to add a scoop to my smoothie in the morning to help keep me feeling fuller longer. If you are like me and love chocolate, this Extreme Chocolate Banana Smoothie is the perfect power protein shake. With 24 grams of protein, 10 grams of dietary fibre, electrolytes and healthy fats, including 1.2 grams of Omega-3s from fish oil, it not only tastes great but gives you the nutrients you need to power through your workout
Although carbs have a bad rep, often for being associated with empty calories, they are crucial for getting that burst of power required to run faster or lift more. Carbs are a key element in optimizing your athletic performance. In fact, having adequate stores of carbs and replenishing during an extended workout, has been shown to improve performance and delay fatigue
Some great carbohydrate sources include chia seeds, which also provide protein and omega-3 fats. Whole grains like brown rice are also packed with complex carbs for sustained energy release while being low in calories. Chickpeas are another surprising energy-rich food, packed with protein for an added boost.
Extensive research has also shown the benefits of adding a dose of caffeine to a workout to improve endurance, mental clarity and performance. The most common dose used in scientific studies is 6 mg per kilogram of body weight, taken an hour before exercise, which allows time for the caffeine to be absorbed and get to work. A typical large coffee can deliver anywhere from 120-360mg of caffeine. The options really are endless, but you should speak with your health care practitioner about adding caffeine to your workout routine.
The most common mistake that people make when thinking about hydration is that they only think about water. Hydration is really about both fluids and electrolytes. Body fluids are essential for removing waste and toxins, maintaining proper neural and muscle function, regulating body temperature through sweating, delivering fuel, and taking the brunt of shock absorption while lubricating our joints.
Although water makes up the vast majority of body fluids, you have to sweat the small stuff. We can lose up to 1000 mg of electrolytes, the minerals found in body fluids, during a workout. These minerals, including sodium, chloride, magnesium and calcium, keep neurons firing and muscles contracting. You can visit your local CHFA member health food store for pre-formulated options, or try coconut water or maple water, which are naturally rich in electrolytes. Both of these also provide a few grams of natural sugars to keep you energized.
This is my go-to thirst-quencher and re-hydrator, as well as electrolyte re-balancer. The Purple Passion Re-hydrator gives you just the right balance of sugars to replenish lost fuel, with a quick dose of electrolytes to replace lost sodium and chloride.
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