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Fuel for the Day

Some of my favorite fueling options

Some of my favorite fueling options

Today’s Motivation Monday post has been inspired by the team at ETB Fitness.

Petro Martynyuk, community coordinator for the sports nutrition-based lifestyle business – which stands for “Eat the Bear”  – was kind enough to reach out to me after reading my post, Spring Fitness for Your Fitness Routine. He had some questions about the kind of fuel that energizes me before, during and after my workouts. While I haven’t tried any of ETB’s products (yet!), I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some tricks that work for me. Here’s what Petro wanted to know:

What foods do you eat pre workout? 

This all depends on what I’m doing:

  1. If I start a morning with fasted cardio, the only thing I’ll have before hopping on the elliptical machine and/or stationary bicycle and/or rowing machine for a 60-minute kick-start to the day is six to eight ounces of water while walking to the gym. I should mention I do “strip” twice during the cardio session. I take one rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin-film strip made by Sportsfood, Inc. at the start of the workout and another halfway through.
  2. If I’m taking a Physique57 class, I’ll have a green apple or some reduced-fat wheat thins with almond butter about an hour before class starts. If I need a real grab-and-go option, a banana always works in a pinch as will a serving of raw almonds and a 1/2 cup of blueberries. If I’m in a real hurry, a banana always works in a pinch. (Want to know more about the total-body, kick-butt barre-based method based program I’ve been addicted to since 2013? Click here.)
  3. For more heavy lifting, whether it’s a free-weight based group exercise class or if I’m pumping iron on my own, I’ll eat some more carbs before the workout. My go-to for that fuel is oatmeal with strawberries and/or blueberries. If I want an extra kick, I’ll stir in a teaspoon of almond or peanut butter.

What do you listen to during your workout?

I’m a firm believer that having the right music can make the difference between going the extra mile or throwing in the towel. Like my pre-exercise prep, I have different music for different workouts. Fortunately, my group exercise instructors have fantastic playlists and Spotify selections. For my fasted-cardio sessions, I need beats that keep me moving with some help from Calvin Harris, Tiesto and other master mixers. My current top three Workout Playlist favorites for cardio:

  • “Pray to God (featuring HAIM)”, Calvin Harris
  • “Let Me In (Astma & Rockwell Remix)”, Kleerup & Susanne Sundfor
  • “Comeback”, Ella Eyre

If I’m lifting, I tend to listen to music with a bit more of an edge. Because of my age and variety of music tastes, the bands that provide that inspiration range from Nine Inch Nails to Twisted Sister.

How do you switch up certain routines daily/weekly to stay motivated?

No matter what you’re doing, variety IS the spice of life. As I mentioned above, I do mix things up between strict cardio sessions, group exercise classes and one-on-one time with the iron. I’m also sure to give myself a minimum of one rest day each week to recover. Those off-days help me feel stronger physically and mentally when I do get back in the game.

What do you eat or do after your workout to make sure you got the most out of your workout?

I always make sure to cool down and stretch after my workouts. What I love about Physique57 classes is that stretches are incorporated throughout the class after high-intensity sprints.

As far as the post-workout food plan goes, I admit this area of my routine remains a work in progress. The key is getting some protein into my system as quickly as possible – preferably within 30 minutes and no more than 45. Thanks to the nutritional cleansing program I did in the spring and the maintenance program I follow now, I’ve found a protein recovery shake I really like. On most days, I’ll accompany the 8-ounce shake with a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread and almond butter.  One final food note: I make a point of trying to eat five to six small meals each day. This keeps my metabolism fueled, hunger in check and blood sugar levels on an even keel.

Thanks again to ETB Fitness for giving me a reason to make sure I’m keeping my fitness routine energized with the right fuel. At the end of the day, the right food, the right music and even the right workout wear can motivate fitness buffs of every age and fitness level stay on track with their goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Power of Walking

We’re busy people.  Between work, family and social engagements, there never seem to be enough hours in the day.  Whether your day job involves chasing your kids and running the household, sitting behind a desk, standing on your feet for hours, or catching a flight to the next meeting, sometimes the idea of working out is just too much.

Except for the kid-chasing duties, any day at West Glen Communications, Inc. can involve almost all of the above.  When I’m not putting together the lineup or filming for “Health & Home Report,” I may spend a day (or night) “in the field” with corporate clients for a video shoot followed by an edit. Or I may be at the computer writing scripts about everything from the latest Beta blocker to a survey about diapers.

So, after the multi-tasking, problem solving and brain-power depletion, am I up for going to the gym every single day? No! And I’m here to tell you – as a certified fitness professional – that it’s okay to take a day off.  There are several reasons why you should, but here are my two “favorites”:

First, your body needs recovery time. In activities like resistance training, the goal is to place enough stress on your muscle tissues to cause the changes you want. But too much stress is never a good thing, especially when it comes to your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Second, I know firsthand that if you’re completely exhausted and force yourself to go to the gym, chances are you won’t focus on your form and you could end up injured. Then you’ll be out of the game for more than one day.

If you can’t stand the idea of being totally inactive, here’s an idea: Slip off those work shoes, lace up the sneakers (no flip-flops, please!) and take a walk!

If you live in a city like I do where you can walk from home to work or at least part of the way, give it a try. Between the fresh air and the people watching, it never gets old. If the traffic lights cooperate, you can get a good pace going and get your heart rate up.

General health guidelines call for 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity each day. That includes walking, using the stairs, gardening and mowing the lawn.  And guess what?  Studies show performing three 10-minute bouts of exercise can have the same benefits as one 30-minute continuous exercise session.  Need some combo ideas?

The High Line: A Great Place to Walk!

Morning: Walk 10 minutes from your home to the office, or walk to a subway or bus stop that’s a little farther away. Or take a couple of laps around your child’s school after dropping her off.

Lunchtime: Instead of grabbing a salad next door, walk 10 minutes to a different place. At home? Get out in the yard.

Evening:  Enjoy those last 10 minutes on foot in your own neighborhood, and bring someone special along. If you’re stuck working late  – there’s always a staircase to climb.

Whether you’re a power athlete or just getting started on a fitness routine, taking it easy is good for the body and the soul.

In the end,  just remember to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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