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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Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets

Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets

I read a great article on the Wall Street Journal that inspired this post.

Over the last 20 years marketers and food manufactures have coaxed consumers into believing that the cause of rising obesity rates is due to our surplus fat intake. Consumers make choices they believe are healthy based on “healthy labels” when in fact they are not.We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: baked potato chips, fat-free ice cream, low-fat candies, which people think are healthy options because they are marketed as “low-fat” or “natural”. Yes, a high amount of saturated fat and trans fat is not good, but healthy fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect and are essential to a healthy/well-balanced diet.

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

In recent years people have started to figure out that fat may not be main contributor to rising obesity rates, but a surplus of processed carbohydrates may actually be at the forefront of our problems. Cue, the “low-carb” diets where consumers restrict carb intake to under 100g/day. A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal claims that “A diet based on healthy carbohydrates—rather than a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet—offers the best chance of keeping weight off without bringing unwanted side effects”… and I couldn’t agree more.

The Study

Goal:  The study was designed to look at the impact of the three diets on measures of energy expenditure, in addition to assessing hormones, fat levels in the blood and other health markers.

  • Participants followed a low glycemic food plan that focused on  fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. The Study explains while people who follow a low-carb diet also lose weight effectively, they have trouble keeping it off and encounter unwanted side effects.
  • Participants were placed on one of three diets for a month: a low-fat diet limiting fats to 20% of total calories; a low-carbohydrate diet modeled on the Atkins diet, limiting carbohydrate intake to 10% of total calories; and a low-glycemic-index diet, which contained 40% of total calories from carbohydrates, 40% from fats and 20% from protein. Participants were then switched to the other two diets during two additional four-week periods.

Results

  • “The low-fat diet had the worst effect” on energy expenditure, Dr. Ludwig said. Participants on that diet also had increases in triglycerides, a type of fat, and lower levels of so-called good cholesterol. “We should avoid severely restricting any major nutrient and focus on the quality of the nutrient,”
  • The low-carb diet had the biggest boost in total energy expenditure, burning about 300 calories more per day than those on the low-fat diet—about the same as an hour of moderate exercise. But that bump came at a cost: increases in cortisol, a stress hormone, and a measure of inflammation called CRP, which can raise the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
  • Those on the low-glycemic-index diet burned about 150 calories a day more than those on the low-fat diet without any negative impacts on cholesterol levels or various hormones, making it the ideal diet, Dr. Ludwig said. The glycemic index measures the impact of carbohydrates on blood-sugar levels.

Conclusion and Takeaway

A balanced diet filled with healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates is ideal for loosing weight and keeping it off. Yes a low-carb diet can be effective, but you may develop other health risks, suffer from low energy levels, and risk  putting weight back on. Carbohydrates are used by our body as energy that can help sustain an efficient and worth-while workout. If your workout is jeopardized due to an nonavailability of adequate energy levels from carbohydrates then your exercise goals are compromised. Just to clarify; I am not advocating people go load up on pasta, breads, cereals, and other processed carbs. The key is to make sure the carbohydrates you do consume all come with a healthy dose of fiber and protein with a low glycemic index from things like fruit, vegetables, minimally processed oats and whole grains.

My Favorite Carb Sources

Quinoa

Steel Cut Oats

Black Beans

Source:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304458604577490943279845790.html?mod=e2tw

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

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

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet (Part 2)

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet (Part 2)

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family that are low in fat and calories but high in protein. (accounting for more than a quarter of their calories) A great substitute for broccoli, 1/2 cup of brussels sprouts contains 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

Health Benefits

  • High in fiber and beta-carotene.
  • Loaded with vitamin A & C, folate, potassium, and calcium.
  • Loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants that control inflammation and can help combat cancer.
  • Have cholesterol lowering benefits when steamed.
  • Brussels sprouts are an outstanding source of glucosinolates which can help detoxify the body.

Kale

Similar to brussels sprouts, kale is a power vegetable and member of the collared greens family that is unusually high in fiber (contains 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber) which helps to keep you feeling full. A great substitute for romaine or iceberg lettuce.

Health Benefits

  • Excellent source of nutrients such as vitamin A,C, B6, calcium, folate, manganese, and potassium.
  • One of the best sources of beta-carotene which help aid in the battle against cancer and heart disease.
  • Promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
  • One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Like other greens and cruciferous vegetables, kale is loaded with antioxidants that help regulate the body’s inflammatory process.

Walnuts

Considered the #1 nut for heart health, walnuts contain almost twice as many antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. Walnuts are antioxidant dense and can lower cholesterol, reduce oxidative stress, and decrease unhealthy inflammation. Can make for a great snack, oatmeal addition, and salad topping.

Health Benefits

  • Contain plenty of high-quality proteins that can be used as a substitute for meat. Loaded with vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber; and they are dairy and gluten-free.
  • Walnuts have been linked to decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
  • Rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin E.
  • Loaded with healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to lower bad cholesterol(LDL).

Almond Butter

Much like walnuts, almond butter’s essential benefit comes from its heart-healthy properties. Considered a healthier version of peanut butter, almond butter is a great vegetable and fruit spread because of it is high quality fats, protein content, and rich taste.

Health Benefits

  • Rich in monounsaturated fats which reduce levels of cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart ailments, and lower blood pressure.
  • High in vitamin E and flavonoids(essential antioxidants) that combat inflammation and disease.
  • A great source of fiber and loaded with potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Almond butter is less commercially available than peanut butter. Because of this fact, some peanut butter manufacturers add unhealthy ingredients such as excessive salt, sugar, and saturated fats to the product whereas almond butter is generally more natural and less artificially manipulated.

Avocado

This green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit is most commonly used as the main ingredient in guacamole. While it tastes good, most people dont know that it provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. Avocados have become increasingly popular and make great additions as a sandwich spread or salad ingredient.

Health Benefits

  • High in healthy fats and antioxidants which help combat heart disease.
  • Avocado contains 30% more potassium than bananas which help regulate blood pressure and prevents circulatory diseases.
  • Avocados have numerous phytonutrients which help prevent cancer and also repair damaged cells.
  • It is a powerhouse of vitamin E which protects us from free radicals.
  • Avocados are very effective in reducing the risk of oral cancer and preventing bad breath.

Steel Cut Oats

Not all oatmeal is created equal. Generally, oatmeal is considered a healthy source of whole grains and complex carbohydrates. However, current products on the market have added sugars, artificial preservatives, and unnecessary ingredients that can cancel out the benefits produced by natural oats. Steel-cut oats are relatively unrefined and the most pure and healthy form of oats.

Health Benefits

  • Steel-cut oats take longer to digest than instant oatmeal or rolled oats, which in turn, helps to stabilize blood sugar.
  • A good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and soluble fiber, which works to lower cholesterol.
  • Rich in B-vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber.
  • Steel-cut oats are low in sodium and unsaturated fat that are a great alternative to typical cereals for a breakfast option.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is a blend of hemp seeds and water with a creamy texture and a subtle, nutty taste, that is a great alternative to standard cow’s milk. People have started to look for alternatives to cows milk after unregulated hormone claims and support showing cow’s milk to be tough on your digestive system. Much like almond milk, hemp milk is a great alternative that is high in protein and low in sugar.

Health Benefits

  • Hemp milk is easy to digest and has an essential fatty acid balance that is ideal for the human body.
  • Hemp milk is rich in protein and contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, E, B-12 and folic acid, and is rich in magnesium, potassium, iron and magnesium.
  • Hemp milk has anti-inflammatory agents that helps to improve circulation
  • Hemp milk can strengthen the immune system as well as promote a healthy heart and skin.

 

Goat

Table 1. Nutrient Composition of Goat and Other Types of Meat [1], [2]
 Nutrient  Goat  Chicken  Beef  Pork Lamb
 Calories 122 162 179 180 175
 Fat (g) 2.6 6.3 7.9 8.2 8.1
 Saturated Fat (g) 0.79 1.7 3.0 2.9 2.9
 Protein (g) 23 25 25 25 24
 Cholesterol (mg) 63.8 76.0 73.1 73.1 78.2
[1] Per 3 oz. of cooked meat
[2] USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (2001)

As seen in the table above, goat meat is lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than traditional meats. It is a great source of high quality protein that provides greater health benefits in comparison to traditional meats.

Health Benefits

  • Lean protein,s such as goat meat, are good for weight control because protein is a hunger-suppressing nutrient.
  • Goat meat provides only 82 mg sodium per 100-g serving, which is relatively small compared to other proteins such as lunch meats and dairy.
  • Goat meat is a low-fat alternative to many meat-based sources of protein, such as fatty steaks, burgers, or dark-meat poultry with the skin, which are high in saturated fat.
  • High in essential nutrients such as iron, potassium, and vitamin B-12.

 

Dark Chocolate

Moderation is key here but, studies have shown that small amounts of dark chocolate can provide substantial benefits for the human body. The main benefits come from the abundance of antioxidants in cocoa beans which are filled with natural plant nutrients. Dark chocolate makes for an excellent post-meal dessert.

Health benefits

  • Loaded with antioxidants which help combat numerous diseases discussed in similar foods above.
  • Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow, and has mild anti-clotting effects that may help prevent plaque formation in arteries.
  • Unlike most sweets and desserts, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index and therefore doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
  • Dark chocolate helps the brain to release endorphins, which help in mood elevation and also remove headaches.

Sprouted Grain Bread

Sprouted grain bread or “flourless” bread is made with live grains and provides more protein, vitamins, and minerals than refined flours. Sprouted grain bread can be used as a substitute for typical white or wheat breads.

Health Benefits

  • Besides increasing their protein and vitamins, germinated sprouts contribute carbohydrates that are easier for you to digest because their starches have already been broken down by enzymes.
  • High in fiber which can help aid in your digestion and keep you feeling full.
  • The bread is very low in saturated fat and a much better alternative than typical wheat or white breads.
  • Sprouted grain bread is made with whole lentils and soybeans which means you’ll be getting a significant amount of protein and amino acids with each serving.

Thanks for reading. I am currently back in the USA trying to seek out further medical opinions for concussion rehab and treatment. Now that I am back I can be reached much easier for questions and comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com