Pre-workout Meals

Pre-workout Meals

 

There are a few important things to consider in the pre-workout meal discussion. Timing, size, and content are the three key factors in choosing a great meal that will give you optimal performance levels.
Timing– Ideally, a meal should be eaten between 2 and 3 hours before a workout in order to give your body time to fully digest the protein, carbohydrates, and sugar that will be converted to fuel to power you through those grueling last few reps. For all you earlier birds, I don’t expect you to wake up at 3 Am to make an omelette. So your meal and portion size will be much different.
Size– Portion size is extremely important because you don’t want to feel bogged down or bloated during a workout. On that same token ensuring your muscles are properly fueled is vital to prevent muscle degredation. The preworkout meal and time before workout are directley correlated. The farther away you are from a workout (say 3 hours) the bigger your meal (probably full size). If you are grabbing something 15-20 minutes before it should be much smaller and generally in liquid form so it is easily digestable.
Content-An ideal pre-workout meal should consist of 20-30 grams of protein to keep your body in an anabolic state to prevent muscle breakdown during your workout. Along with the protein, 20-30 grams of low glycemic carbohydrates is also advisable.

A 2-3 hour prior example 

A turkey/chicken breast, spinach & tomato omelette with a small serving of steel cut oats. Low glycemic carbohydrates such as spinach and steel cut oats will be converted to energy and used as fuel during your workout. Low glycemic carbohydrates will keep your insulin from spiking which can lead an energy crash mid-workout. This meal is also low in fat and fiber which will make it easy to digest.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole cage free eggs
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ½ turkey/chicken breast
  •  ¼ cup dice tomatoes
  •  ½ cup cooked steel cut oats with cinnamon and blueberries

Nutritional Facts

  • Calories-400
  • Protein-30 grams
  • Carbohydrates-30 grams
  • Fat-6 grams
  • Fiber-8 grams

I like to workout in the late mornings so the first thing I do when I wake up is start off with a great breakfast that has an adequate source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. The protein will ensure there is no muscle breakdown and give your body a steady stream of fuel and amino acids through your workout. The carbs will be converted to energy while the fiber and fat will keep you feeling full throughout the pre-workout/workout period. Adequate hydration is also vital to prepare you body for a successful workout. Ensuring your muscles are hydrated will prevent cramping and optimize performance.

Now, for the early birds. (15-45 minutes before workout)

 

Home made protein shake

My protein shake is very generic but an effective, homemade recipe. I shoot for a 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio made with the following ingredients.

  • 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  •  1/2 serving plain unflavored greek yogurt
  •  1 tbsp chia seeds
  •  ¼ cup of blueberries
  •  ½ banana
  •   1 scoop of unflavored 100% whey isolate protein powder (20-30 grams)
  •  3 grams of glutamine
  •   Ice cubes

Nutritional facts

  • Calories-300
  • Protein-25 grams
  • Carbohydrates- 30 grams
  • Fiber- 12 grams

A 2:1 or 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal for refueling your muscles and replacing glycogen levels. Drink this shake within 30 minutes of your workout, or 30 minutes prior, to ensure your muscles receive healthy carbohydrates and protein from natural sources to rebuild muscle tissue that has been broken down during a workout. A liquid meal, such as a protein shake, is absorbed more quickly than solid food. The addition of fruit will help you restore your glycogen levels and transport protein to your muscles. Using natural foods such as fruit and unflavored yogurt will stabilize blood sugar levels and not cause a severe insulin spike that you get with most “store-bought” shakes due to the large amount of processed sugars and additives that are present.  The combination of chia seeds, fruit, yogurt, and almond milk provides an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. With such a wide array of products and additives that are present in many supplements and shakes, I always recommend people make their own, using unprocessed ingredients, to ensure your muscles receive the most bang for your buck. Here is a tip: Make your shake the night before and store it in the fridge to save yourself the hassle and cleanup in the morning.

Generally a medium-sized meal is recommended 2 hours before your workout to give your body a chance to digest and convert the food before you lift. With that being said, every person is different. Finding out what works best for you in terms of energy levels, muscle growth, and recovery is the most important thing. Whatever you do make sure you have a steady stream of energy to you can power through a tough workout.

Sorry about the recent hiatus and thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin
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Cheat Day

Cheat Day

A wake up call statement before we get started. The FDA makes no serious effort to control the use of the word “natural” on nutrition labels. Case in point: 7UP boasts that it’s made with “100% Natural Flavors” when, in fact, the soda is sweetened with a decidedly un-natural dose of high fructose corn syrup. Be careful of misleading food labels.

The concept of a cheat meal or cheat day has been around since the inception of diet’s themselves. Staying disciplined for 7-14 days in a row can be both physically and mentally challenging. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose weight, eating a disciplined diet that is filled with protein, healthy complex carbohydrates, and adequate caloric intake can be become monotonous. This is where the “cheat meal” or “cheat day” comes into play. Most of the issues people have with dieting are mental and not physical. Cravings are powerful and can be taxing on the physical and mental side of humans. The good thing is cheat days or cheat meals can actually have physical benefits for your metabolism as well as giving you a mental break

Physically

Cheat meals keep the body guessing. Similar to when your muscles adapt to the same exercises and rep range from routine and repetitiveness, your metabolism adjusts based on your calorie levels in the same fashion. Just when your body starts to think it has things figured out you surprise it with a radical change in your diet. If you eat the same thing everyday within a few weeks your body will adapt to the caloric intake. You have to spice things up and keep the body confused.

The Science

Leptin is a protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism. Leptin signifies a slowing metabolism. Whenever you are on a diet for an extended period of time, your body will begin to adjust its metabolic functions in an effort to ‘make due’ with the amount of fuel that it is being given. Your goal is to periodically kick your leptin levels back up so as to avoid the intense physical hunger and the slowed-to-a-crawl metabolism.

Psychologically

The cheat meal can provide a mental break even more so than as a physical break. Mid-week cravings can be pushed aside knowing that you have an awesome reward in the form of a meal coming on the weekend. Allowing yourself this mental break can inhibit future cravings in the weeks to come.

Sunday Brunch; My Cheat Meal

 

Recommendations

Leptin is highly responsive to glucose metabolism. So, when eating a cheat meal,  you will benefit much more if the majority of your excess calories are coming from good sources of carbohydrates that will turn into glucose.  One day a week increase your caloric intake by 25 to 50% in any way you want but preferably in the form of healthy carbohydrates. The sudden spike in your calories will keep the body guessing and force your metabolism to readjust following the meal along with giving you a mental break.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin

The Best Food Swap You Can Make

Lettuce wraps vs. tortillas

With time and convenience being such a big factor in people’s eating decisions and habits, having easy options is always a plus. Throwing  some turkey, chicken, or leftover meat in a wrap for the next day’s lunch is always a great meal idea and lunchtime staple. With an extra 300 calories and 50 carbs, generic tortillas and wraps can turn today’s lunch into a carb-loaded hazard. Below is the breakdown of some popular tortillas that are common among lunchtime meals.

Nutritional Breakdown

Chipotle Flour Tortilla 13″ inch

  • Calories-290
  • Fat-9 g
  • Carbs-44 g
  • Sodium- 670 g
  • Protein- 7 g

Mission Flour Taco Tortilla 8″ inch

  • Calories- 146
  • Fat- 3 g
  • Carbs- 25 g
  • Sodium- 249 mg
  • Protein- 4 g

Taco bell heat pressed tortilla 13″

  • Calories- 317
  • Fat- 8 g
  • Carbs- 52 g
  • Sodium- 887 mg
  • Protein- 9 g

Butterhead Lettuce (1 large leaf)

  • Calories- 2
  • Fat- 0 g
  • Carbs- 0 g
  • Sodium- 0 g
  • Protein- 0

Romaine Lettuce (1 large outer leaf)

  • Calories- 5
  • Fat- 0
  • Carbs- 1 g
  • Sodium- 1 g
  • Protein- 0 g
A Great Recipe “Asian Lettuce Wrap”

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

cooking sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and diced
½ cup bamboo shoots, drained and diced
½ cup water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 head butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce, washed and leaves separated

garnish:
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions

1. Place the first five ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour mixture over the chicken and stir together. Set aside and allow chicken to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients for cooking sauce into a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3. Place 2 tablespoons oil into a large skillet over high heat. Sauté chicken for 6 to 8 minutes or until half-cooked. Remove from skillet and set aside.
4. Pour remaining oil into the same skillet and place over high heat. Sauté the ginger, garlic and shiitake mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add chicken back into the skillet; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Pour the cooking sauce over the mixture and stir together. Lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions. Adjust seasonings.
6. Remove from heat and allow chicken mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of green onions and sesame seed and serve warm with crisp lettuce cups.

Conclusion

A lettuce wrap is a great alternative for a tortilla when making a meal. Some athletes, or those looking to gain weight and a more calorie dense meal, might make the argument that the tortilla gives them extra protein and calories to meet there needs. Instead of filling up on processed and empty carbs received from a tortilla, adding more meat, beans, or vegetables to make up for the calories you will be loosing from the tortilla is ideal.

Suggestion

Any time you can substitute a processed bun or wrap for something that is natural and has nutritional benefits is always encouraged. My suggestion is to not only substitute the lettuce for tortilla wraps, tacos, and burritos, but also for buns and bread. This will force you to add more of the “in between ingredients” which will provide more of a nutritional benefit to everyone.

From South Bend,

Kevin

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

Studies have shown that regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450%!

This week’s blog can be found at http://www.builtlean.com/. This is another great health-orientated website and one that I will be writing for once a month. My article is the headline article on the homepage.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have questions or comments.

Kevin

The Myth Of Discipline

The Myth Of Discipline

I tried taking a little different approach this week because this article was too good to pass up. I received this from a good friend.(Thanks Ben) Written by world renown strength and condition guru Charles Poliquin, this article hits on the essential points of discipline, priorities, and self-esteem. Give this a quick read for some inspiration in choosing your next meal or getting after your next workout.

“There is no such thing as discipline. There is only love. Love is the most powerful creative force in the universe. You are the result of what you love most. You either love finely etched muscular abs more than donuts or you love donuts more than wash board abs you could do your laundry on. It is as simple as that. Don’t beat yourself up that you have no discipline or further drown yourself in a sea of refined carbs. Admit that you like crappy food more than you love strength. Or ask yourself this, what do you really love? Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. One of the best ways to raise self-esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of body and mind. For example, if you truly love yourself in the gym, you choose the full squat with chains over the leg extension machine. At the restaurant, if you truly love yourself, you pass on the heavenly smelling basket of bread and creamy butter, and ask for some more limes for the water. Limes alkalize your body which in turn helps your bones, muscles and your ability to deal with stress.

When you are faced with difficult choices, ask yourself, in context of course, what would a loving expert recommend? For example, when working chest, would a loving strength coach recommend the pec deck, or full range dumbbell presses. When choosing desserts, would the loving nutritionist recommend a bowl of berries or the triple-decker brownie submerged under melting vanilla ice cream.

How to free yourself from the outdated concept of discipline:

  1. Accept that all your choices are reflections of what you truly love.
  2. Love is the greatest creative force of the Universe. Use it wisely.
  3. Choose to love yourself more than external things.
  4. Treating yourself well accelerates the growth of your self-esteem.
  5. When people comment on your results and say things like “Wow you have a lot discipline” answer “No, I just make loving choices for myself”. Reinforcing your own positive behavior will help you grow in strength.
  6. What you appreciate appreciates. Whenever you make a truly loving choice, say to yourself ‘Thank you for taking care of me in a loving way”. The more you talk to yourself like a loving parent, the faster you will grow. By documenting and rewarding your successes, they will grow in magnitude and frequency. Whenever I meet a goal, I reward myself with positive things like a vacation or a new piece of equipment. When I get something better, I make the choice of giving away the old piece to someone who will appreciate it. Living a clutter free life allows for more growth.
  7. The more you believe in yourself, the more objectively you will be able to take the advice of authority figures.
There is an old Hindu saying: “The World is as we are”. Are you tired of seeing the condition of the world around you? Start by changing yourself- be the change you want to see in the world.”
Hope everyone has a great week. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
From South Bend,
Kevin

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet 

These foods are probably foreign to most people however, they all pack a nutritional punch in terms of health benefits. Try and add a couple of these foods to your daily regimen for a more well-balanced diet. First, a great quote to start out the blog post that really puts things into perspective and something that really resonates for me right now in dealing with an injury.

To feel better, imagine the worst.  “Dont count your blessings; subtract them. “consciously spend a few minutes imagining what your life would be like without the good things. You’ll experience stronger feelings of love, gratitude, and happiness when you think about what life would be like without the people and things you love and, they’ll seem surprising and special again.”

-Psychologist Timothy Wilson

Exotic Berries- Goji and Acai

These two berries are super antioxidants that are loaded with several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. They work wonders on your immune system and help reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Benefits (Acai)

  • Loaded with antioxidants. (Twice the antioxidants of its cousin blueberries and 10 times more than red grapes)
  • Rich acai berries destroy cultured human cancer cells.
  • Provide an increase in energy.
  • Resistance to colds/flu.
  • Healthy and more youthful skin.
  • Promotion of weight loss.
  • High levels of omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, which help the heart and cardiovascular systems.
  • A powerful anti aging food.
Benefits (Goji)
  • A high concentration of antioxidants.
  • Helps to slow down premature aging.
  • 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats.
  • Loaded with dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A great amino acid complex.
  • Vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.


Edamame

Also known as the soybean, edamame is a natural source of antioxidants that is made up of anywhere between 30% and 40% protein. A half-cup of these beans can have up to 11 grams of protein and are one of the few vegetarian proteins sources that have all nine of the essential amino acids the body can’t make. The fat in edamame is the heart-healthy kind, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol levels.

Benefits 

  • Great source of fiber.
  • Rich in vitamins B,C, and E.
  • Rich in magnesium, calcium, and iron.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Improves bone health.
  • Help reduce certain types of cancer.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family that is loaded with antioxidants and can help aid in digestion. One cup of raw bok choy contains about half your daily requirement of Vitamin A, C, and K, while being low in fat, low-calorie, and low-carb.

Benefits

  • High in vitamin A, C, K, B6, calcium, dietary fiber, folate, and iron.
  • Lung, colon, prostate, and endometrial cancers seem to be reduced with bok choy intake.
  • Loaded with beta-carotene  which can help reduce muscular degeneration.

Lean Bison Meat

Bison or buffalo, is a lean protein that contains all the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Buffalo offers an alternative to other commonly eaten lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey, and pork tenderloin. In looking at the comparison table you can see it has more protein with fewer calories, less fat, and is lower in cholesterol than other protein sources.

Benefits

  • Bison spend their lives on grass and are generally not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals, or hormones.
  • A nutrient dense food because of the proportion in protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids, to its caloric value.
  • Has a greater concentration of iron than other meats.
  • No growth hormones, steroids, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics. These animals are both environmentally friendly and people friendly.

Quinoa

Quinoa, considered the “mother of all grains”, is a complete protein, packing all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. Quinoa has about twice the protein of regular cereal grains, fewer carbohydrates, and even a dose of healthy fats. This is great gluten-free alternative to wheat carbohydrates.

Benefits

  • An awesome alternative to the proteins found in meat.
  • Entirely gluten-free.
  • A very good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.
  • Great source of fiber that can provide cardiovascular health and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Canned Salmon

Canned salmon is a quick and easy way to get 1 of your 3 recommended servings of fish per week. Like other varieties of canned fish, canned salmon is a convenient protein source that contains healthy monounsaturated fats with no sugars or carbohydrates and contains lower mercury levels than canned tuna.

Benefits

  • A good source of  B-vitamins, especially vitamin B12.
  • Very low in environmental contaminants such as mercury and pesticide residues.
  • Contains an abundance of nutrients that protect your bones, prevent cardiovascular disease, and help keep you mentally sharp.
  • One cup of canned salmon provides almost 30% of the 1,000 mg of calcium you need each day.

Venison

Like bison meat, venison is a great low-saturated fat alternative to generic red meats. Venison comes from any large game animal like deer, elk, moose, or caribou. Venison is low in cholesterol and like any non-farm produced animal, is resistant to disease and does not live on a diet of antibiotics and steroids.

Benefits 

  • Venison houses fewer calories, less fat, and more iron than chicken breast.
  • Rich in various nutrients including proteins, iron, vitamin B12, B6, riboflavin, and niacin.
  • A great option for those who are vulnerable to heart disease.
  • Can help increase energy and boost your metabolism.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent snack that is low in fat and carbohydrates, but packed with protein. Cottage cheese is a favorite food among athletes, weightlifters, and dieters for its high content of casein protein, or slow digesting protein. Research suggests that cottage cheese makes a great late night snack to allow your body to utilize the slow digesting protein while you sleep and can also help your muscles to recover.

Benefits

  • A good course of calcium, with vitamin D.
  • Great source of casein protein.
  • Helps control your appetite.
  • Great nighttime snack to keep you from feeling hungry while you sleep.

Spaghetti Squash

Comparison of  spaghetti squash noodles to one cup of enriched white spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to high-glycemic carbs that are associated with most white and wheat pastas. Spaghetti squash gives you the advantage of not spiking your insulin and is relatively low in carbohydrates. The low caloric value will allow you too add more natural ingredients to your spaghetti, such as more proteins and vegetables, versus getting calories from processed white or wheat noodles.

Benefits

  • Rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • High levels of vitamin A and C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folate, beta carotene, and more.
  • Can promote brain function while inhibiting inflammation.
  • Great alternative to high-carb/high calorie pastas.

Chia Seeds

There was a great article this week in the Wall Street Journal about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and how he lives and dies by chia seeds… Seems like my kind of guy. Chia seeds are another complete source of dietary protein, providing all the essential amino acids. They can make a great addition to your morning oatmeal or shake.

Benefits

  • Highest plant-based source of omega 3’s.
  • Rich in dietary fiber and protein.
  • Doesn’t carry the health concerns of flax seeds.
  • Naturally gluten-free.
  • Large amounts of B-vitamins and calcium.
  • Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they hold around 10 times their weight in water. For athletes, this is a good thing, helping hydration during exercise.

Adding these foods to your diet will give you some great nutritional benefits and help you to yield greater results whether you are trying to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain a healthy balance. Thanks for reading.

From Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com