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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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!
Here’s to making it to the end of another work week! As I am just back from vacation and try to re-adjust to the daily grind, I thought it was the perfect time to continue what I started last week: a quick Friday hit list. This time, I offer some of my favorite snacks.
As I mentioned in my previous installment Food & Fitness, I generally try to eat every three to four hours to keep my blood sugar at an even keel and avoid getting so hungry that I eat too much or the wrong foods at my next official meal. That means I’m always on the lookout for smart snack options that keep me fueled whether I’m on a shoot, gearing up for a good workout or simply reading a book on the beach. Here are some of my go-to items:
- At work: I always have single serve mini bags of 94% fat-free microwavable popcorn in my desk drawer. (Yet another tip learned through Weight Watchers.) Not only are the popped kernels filling, it takes some time to get through a bag, which leaves you no choice but to snack slowly.
- Pre-workout: I usually head to the gym after work, so an hour before I start my workout, I will eat a protein / carb mix. Three of my mix-and-match favorites include: one Weight Watchers string cheese with an apple, peach or nectarine; non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds or reduced fat Wheat Thins with Laughing Cow cheese spread.
- Pre-“big time” workout: I absolutely love peanut butter, but I have a hard time restraining myself to the “normal” serving size. However, Jif makes portable single serve cups. They are definitely packed with more calories and fat than I’d normally like to snack on. However, on a day where I couldn’t eat a normal, well-balanced lunch and I’m taking my weekly Club Strength class, I’ll “splurge” on a snack of one single-size peanut butter cup on two slices of Weight Watchers toast. (For a boost to this snack or any on this list, I’ll add an apple.)
- On the run: I always have a Fiber One bar in my backpack or purse. I get a chocolate fix while kicking hunger to the curb.
- In a pinch: a hot cup of green tea or chewing gum helps keep my hunger when eating a healthy snack isn’t on the menu.
If you have some different snack ideas, please send them along! (While you’re at it, let me know if you have any good music to add to the Music That Makes Me Move playlist I posted last week.) The information we share can only help us all on our journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!