Pre and Post-Workout Fuel

One of the most common questions I get asked is… what should I eat before and after I exercise? 

To get the most out of your workout, it’s critical to give your body the right nutrients both before and after exercise . Here are the basics for Pre and Post-Workout Fuel:  

  • Pre-workout: Carbohydrates for fuel. Ideally, you should  fuel your body 1-3 hours before exercise with carbohydrate, which is the energy source for your muscles. Some good carbohydrate choices include:  a piece of fruit such as a banana or apple, berries, dried fruit, oatmeal, whole grain dry cereal or crackers, pasta or rice, or a slice of toast. If strength training, I would also suggest including a small amount of protein to help prime muscles for repair after your workout. Some good protein choices are an egg, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts/nut butters, and lean meat. It’s recommended to avoid high fat foods, and not to eat immediately before exercise (especially a full meal) as either can cause GI discomfort, and interfere with energy supply to the working muscles. Also, consider sticking with familiar foods that you know you tolerate, especially on the day of a big event or race.
    **Here are some pre-workout ideas:
    1. Oatmeal or whole grain dry cereal with low fat milk
    2. Smoothie made with fruit and low fat milk or yogurt
    3. Slice of toast with an egg
    4. Apple or banana with 1 Tbsp. of peanut or almond butter
  • Post-workout: Carbohydrate and Protein. As soon as possible (or at least within 30 minutes) after a workout, consume carbohydrates and protein. This gives your muscles an opportunity to restore glycogen (from carbs) that has been lost during exercise, and repair and rebuild muscles (from protein). A 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is recommended.
    **Here are some ideas:
    1. Low fat chocolate milk
    2. Yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit
    3. Turkey or tuna sandwich with veggies
    4. Hard boiled egg with a few whole grain crackers
    5. Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts
  • Hydration Matters: When adequately hydrated, your heart can more efficiently pump blood, and deliver oxygen and other nutrients to your working muscles. This will give you more energy (making the workout seem easier compared to when not hydrated). While fluid needs vary from person to person, a good rule of thumb  is to consume 2 cups (16 oz) of water 2 hours before exercise, and 1 cup (8oz) within 15 minutes prior to exercise. During exercise, drink about 1 cup every 15-20 minutes. You may want to consider weighing yourself before and after exercise… and for every pound lost (through sweat) , replace it with 16 oz of fluid.

***Take Action:  Do you need to adjust your pre or post workout meal/snack? How about fluid intake? How is your body responding? How’s your energy level when you exercise? How does your stomach feel? Please share what’s working for you (before and after exercise) to fuel your body!

Give Yourself a Break!

A few weeks ago, late on a Sunday night, I found myself tossing and turning in bed for hours… heart racing, shallow breathing, and on the verge of what felt like an anxiety attack, or mental breakdown? Not totally sure! But I felt overwhelmed and exhausted from just the thought of starting another week… no fuel left in my tank, no motivation to do “all of the things” but fear about what would happen if I let go of doing “all of those things.” I started my week sleep deprived but kept going, going, and going, until I got sick and my body said STOP! I was exhausted…  I was BURNED OUT!

So… I took a break, went on a 2 week vacation, spent lots of  time with family and friends, and got a new perspective.

Why do I share this? Because If I went through this, there’s a good chance so many other people are going through it too, and I want to help! So today I am here to tell you to GIVE YOURSELF a BREAK EVERY DAY!  Here is why:

  • You have one life! And it’s a journey, not a destination.  It’s easy to forget that the day-to-day grind is all part of our LIFE. We “dread it… hate Mondays… can’t wait for the weekend to finally get here, TGIF, can’t wait for that vacation”, blah, blah blah! And during that daily grind, we run around like crazy people in survival mode, not fully present, and taking for granted all of the blessings that are right in front of us! Or at least I found myself there, until I had to remind myself that the laundry, the dishes, and “all of those things” aren’t going anywhere… but my daughter will grow up, she will leave the house, all of the people I love are not going to be around forever. I WILL NOT BE HERE FOREVER. In the big scheme of things, will it matter if I cleaned my house? Or will it matter that I made the most of my time with the people I love, connecting, laughing, having great conversations, making memories, trying new things, and making a difference. There are no guarantees in life, you have just one, and it’s getting shorter… Make the most of it… give yourself a break everyday to STOP and SMELL the ROSES!
  • There’s a a difference between being “busy” and being “accomplished.” Many of us jam pack every minute of our day with tasks that don’t really matter. At the end of the day, we may feel (falsely) “productive” but find ourselves empty and worn the f*** out! We may even be keeping “busy” as a way to procrastinate from starting more meaningful projects or even connecting with other people… things that are outside of our comfort zones, yet could bring us more happiness, energy, and sense of self-worth if we accomplished them.
  •  If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t do anything great! I’m guilty of a prior belief that rest and sleep were wastes of time….the mindset of “If I’m sleeping or relaxing, then I’m not being productive.” My sleep was always the first thing to go when life got hectic and “busy.” Even now, I still don’t consistently get adequate sleep. But I can tell that when I’m sleep deprived, I feel anxious, irritable, overwhelmed, and have difficulty focusing and making confident decisions. If I’m in that state, how much good can I really do in the world? Can you relate to this? If not a sleep issue, maybe you have let other self-cares go… maybe it’s healthy eating, exercising, journaling, meditation, etc.  If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be or give your best… and at some point, you will just burnout!

So GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Only you can figure what that entails for you. Ask yourself these questions to figure what needs to change in your life. I highly encourage you write down your answers in a notebook or journal.  Answering these questions will help your create your self-care plan and the life that you want! Even if you just take a few minutes a day to answer just 1 or 2 questions at a time…

  1. What does “self-care” mean to me?
  2. What am I doing when I feel my happiest?
  3. What things or actions give me the most energy?
  4. What can I do everyday to feel happy and energized?
  5. When in my day can I make time for this?
  6. What am I grateful for?
  7. What would my ideal day look like?
  8. What causes me to feel stressed? overwhelmed? or anxious?
  9. What “busy” tasks am I spending too much time on?
  10. Can I delegate any of them to other people, or possibly pay to have it done?
  11. How can I work smarter (not harder) with the other tasks?
  12. Are there any commitments that are not worthwhile that I can let go of?
  13. What more purposeful (or self-care) things do I want more of in my life, and how often?
  14. How can I be sure they get added/scheduled in? (i.e. weekly date night, monthly girls’ night out, vacation twice/year, monthly massage, etc.)
  15. What have I been wanting to do (or try) but haven’t? (i.e. such as bucket list items, or personal or professional goals)
  16. When I am feeling drained, what can I do to recharge myself?
  17. When I am feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, what can I do to alleviate these feelings?
  18. Who can support me and/or provide me with accountability?

**** Take Action Today! Get a journal or notebook, and answer all of these questions to figure out what you want and need to change in your life. Remember, even if it’s just a few minutes each day… this is you TAKING TIME FOR YOU!  This is your BREAK! 

Please share your insights! 

Homemade Granola Bars… Customized for You!

Imagine yourself in the cereal/granola bar aisle of the grocery store… Do you ever  get overwhelmed by endless varieties of fiber bars, protein bars, energy bars,  power bars, breakfast bars, yogurt bars, fruit bars…. Ahhh! There are more BARS out there than ever, and many choices are no better than a CANDY bar!

Try out my homemade granola bar recipe! The best thing about it– you can customize the ingredients to meet your preferences and nutritional needs. Get creative, and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry oats
  • 2/3  cup crushed almonds (or other nut)
  • 2/3 cup crushed peanuts (or other nut)
  • 1/3 cup flaxseeds, ground
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  • Place oats, nuts, flaxseeds, and dried fruit in a large bowl. Mix together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter and honey.
  • Pour the peanut butter/honey mixture in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix well until dry ingredients are coated well and evenly.

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  • Line an 8×8 inch baking pan/dish with parchment or wax paper, leaving extra on the sides
  • Press the mixture into the baking dish. Pack tightly and evenly.

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  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Pull the edges of parchment paper to remove the  intact granola from the pan.
  • Cut into 12 bars (3×4 cuts)
  • Best stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator or 10 days at room temperature.

Enjoy! 🙂

How to Stop Boredom Eating!

While eating only when you are truly, physically hungry is ideal… I think we have all found ourselves eating when not hungry. I know I have many times! I’m going to focus on one very common trigger… boredom!

Can you relate? Do you find yourself seeking out food in these common situations….

  • While winding down in the evenings
  • During slow points at work
  • Downtime at home on the weekends
  • While doing something that is “mindless” or not very engaging (such as watching TV)
  • When  procrastinating on a project, or while doing something you don’t enjoy
  • When alone with nobody around to talk to

So how do you combat boredom eating??? Here’s how:

Find something to do…STAT!  There is no better way to prevent or stop the trigger than to fulfill that specific need.  So if you’re bored, you need to get UN-BORED! The problem is that we eat because we think we don’t have anything better to do, but that is so not true!

According to a thesaurus, here are a few words that describe the opposite of being bored….

  • Fascinated
  • Energized
  • Interested
  • Engaged
  • Refreshed
  • Enthusiastic
  • Excited
  • Exhilarated

So now that we know the feelings that essentially describe NOT being bored, follow these simple steps to stop boredom eating for good!

  1. Take out a piece of paper and list out all of these words leaving space between each.
  2. Go through each word/feeling on the list and think about something you do that gives you that feeling. Write down the activity(ies) next to each word/feeling.
  3. Put that paper somewhere it is readily available (purse, wallet, posted on the fridge, posted on computer at work, etc.)
  4.  The next time you feel bored and want to eat, refer to that piece of paper and do something from that list!

Because I was once a boredom eater, I came up with these steps and IT WORKS! Here is what is on my piece of paper:

  • Fascinated- 1) being outside in nature, and/or 2) playing with my daughter
  • Energized- going for a run, or just moving my body in some way
  • Interested- 1) reading a good book, or 2) researching a topic I’ve been wanting to know more about
  • Engaged- 1) calling/catching up with family or a friend I haven’t talked to in awhile, OR 2) writing a blog post 🙂
  • Refreshed- 1) breaking a sweat through exercise and then taking a shower,  or 2) cleaning out a closet or drawer and tossing or donating items I no longer need
  • Enthusiastic- 1) listening to music, or 2) journaling
  • Excited- planning a trip, a social gathering, date night, or to attend an event… basically just making future plans to look forward to!
  • Exhilarated- 1) being productive by either accomplishing things from my to-do list or finishing a big project, or 2) doing something good for someone else

So those are my boredom go-to’s! Once you’ve a chance to come up with yours, please share!

 

Healthy Burrito Bowl Recipe

When you think of the word “burrito”, what generally comes to mind? Maybe something along the lines of high fat, high starch, cheesy, loaded, smothered goodness? In other words, it’s bad for me, right? NOOOOO, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here is my burrito bowl recipe that you MUST try! It has all of the goodness of an amazing burrito….minus the tortilla and the guilt! This is a common weeknight go-to meal that my burrito eating husband LOVES!

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans OR 1 cup frozen corn
  • 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice, prepare according to package instructions
  • Desired toppings/add-ins (guacamole, low fat shredded cheese, etc.)

Directions:

  • Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, brown the ground turkey, breaking up into pieces.
  • Add the onion and bell peppers. Cook over medium heat until the onion/peppers are tender (about 10-15 minutes).
  •  Add the beans or corn, diced tomatoes, and salsa. Mix well, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked rice and stir until all ingredients are mixed well.
  • Sprinkle cilantro on top.
  • Serve in bowls and add desired toppings.
  • Enjoy!!

Do you have a healthier version of a dish that would otherwise be considered not so good for us? Please share!

Summer Corn Salad Recipe

It’s that time of the year for fresh veggies… and I absolutely love fresh corn on the cob! But eating it off the cob? Getting it stuck between my teeth? Not a fan! 

If you, too, want to enjoy fresh corn (but without the hassle of eating it off the cob) try out my tasty recipe! It’s perfect as a side dish to your summer BBQs!

Summer Corn Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 pint cherry or plum tomatoes, sliced into halves
  • 1 avocado, chopped into small cubes
  • ¼ of red onion, finely diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Fill a large pot about 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Place ears of corn into boiling water, cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and let the corn cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer ears of corn into a bowl of cold water too cool down. Take each ear of corn one at a time, and stand  cob (flat end down) in the middle of a large bowl. Use a knife to slice corn off around the entire cob.
  • Add avocado, onion, peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil. Mix all ingredients together with a large spoon, breaking up any large sections of corn as needed.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chill for about an hour to let flavors combine.
  • Enjoy as is, or add to the top of a bed of salad greens. Yum!  🙂

 

 

Think you hate exercise? Think again, and find your thing!

I’m a runner. I’ve said more than once that I love running…  

But here’s a confession: I was lying… I DON’T love running! To be honest, sometimes I think I hate it! Hate having to force myself to get up at 4:30am on the weekdays. Hate spending 2-4 hours on a weekend to do a long training run. Hate the dread before a run when I know I am physically, mentally, or emotionally exhausted. But I do it.  Despite my love-hate relationship with running, I do it.  And I let nothing stop me. I somehow find a way to always talk myself into it even when it would be a lot easier to talk myself out of it.  No matter how hectic life gets, I find a way to get it done, pretty much everyday … and here is why:

While there are times I don’t love running, what I DO LOVE is how I feel AFTER a run… I love the feeling of accomplishment, like I can conquer the world, and take on anything that comes my way.  Any self-doubt or anxiety I had at the start of a run is erased by the time I finish…

My heart is pounding, my head is clear, and all of a sudden, I feel like ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. It’s called endorphins, the “runner’s high”, and it doesn’t take much to get it. You don’t necessarily have to run to feel that “high.” But what you MUST do is find the activity that is right for you… the one that, despite sleep deprivation or a stressful day, energizes you. When you find the activity that generates that feeling, it will become almost like a drug… you’ll want to keep going back for more, and then it will just become part of your life. So when a long, stressful day is no longer an excuse, but more of a reason to just DO IT, you’ll know you’ve found the thing you are passionate about! Or as I like to call it, your “sweet spot.”

So how do you find that “sweet spot?” 

Ask yourself these series of questions:

  • What were my favorite physical activities as a child/growing up?
  • Do I prefer exercising solo?  With just one other person? Amongst a group? Or do I prefer it be a sport/competition?
  • Do I like to be outside or indoors? At home or in a gym/rec center?
  • What activities energize me (even if I think I am tired)?
  • Is there an activity that makes me lose track of time? That before I know it, 30 minutes or an hour has passed?

In answering these questions, did you notice a trend or type of exercise that popped up frequently?  If not, try out various types of exercises you think you may enjoy to pinpoint what gives you the feelings described above the most.  

If you are at a loss, here are some activities to consider: walking, hiking, biking, yoga, pilates, swimming, water aerobics, kick-boxing, a group class such as spinning or Zumba, CrossFit, dancing, tennis, racquetball, strength/weight training, circuit training, at-home exercise videos, etc.

Try doing that exercise on a regular basis for atleast 3 weeks. Even if you feel like quitting, DON’T QUIT!

After 3 weeks, take note of your results, and ask yourself these questions…

  • How does the exercise make me feel, both physically and mentally?
  • Can I keep up with doing this exercise most days of the week?
  • How can I carve out time in my life for it?—-Which days of the week/how often can I commit to exercising? What time of day is best for me? How much time can I spend doing it?

You may not find it right away…but just know, YOU WILL FIND IT! And it will FEEL GREAT! 

Please help me to help you! Share what you thought about this post, AND if you’ve found your “sweet spot,” tell us what it is and how you’ve made it a priority in your life!

 

 

 

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe

Who loves fresh tomato salsa (or pico de gallo)?   I do! I do! I do! 

Here is my recipe 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
  • Juice of 1 Lime (about 2 Tbsp lime juice)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Mix tomatoes, jalapeno. onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Chill for at least 1 hour to let all of the flavors combine before serving.

Click on the infographic below for a quick reference, or print out as a recipe card.

Enjoy! 🙂

Fresh Salsa

 

 

 

“I know what I need to do, but”…

How many times have you made this statement?….”I know what I need to do, but, I just can’t make myself do it.” There’s a good chance you have thought or made this statement at one time or another in your life, especially if you have ever wanted to lose weight or improve your health. 

So why is it that so many of us have a hard time following through with “what we need to do”, especially with changes related to our health and lifestyle?  I’ll tell you why, and better yet, I’ll tell you what you can do to about it!

 So back to that phrase “I just can’t make myself do it”…

Here are the likely reasons why:

  • You are not clear about your goals. You may know you want to lose weight, but, are you setting a specific goal?  how much weight do you want to lose? and in what time frame? What are the short-term goals and steps you need to take to get there? I know I am always pushing SMART goals and I’ll say it again…You must set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevent, and Time-bound. Without SMART goals, there is no roadmap to get you to your long-term goal!
  • You are overwhelmed with too much, so have no idea where to even start. The the statement “I know what I need to do” probably encompasses several areas you need to change. Maybe you’re thinking “I need to start exercising, planning meals, eating out less, eating more fruits and vegetables, stop the potato chips, drink more water, stop the soda”, and on and on and on….  Ugh! I’d be overwhelmed too! Thinking about ALL of the things you need to change will do nothing but paralyze you. The key is to focus on one or two changes at a time!
  • Habits and behaviors are formed over a lifetime. Chances are your food choices, eating patterns, activity level, and possibly emotional ties to food were developed much earlier in your life and have continued over years. I know it sounds cliche… but why would you expect these behaviors to change overnight? Give yourself time. Research shows it takes ATLEAST 21 days to make or break a habit!
  • Self-discipline only goes so far. The idea of “make myself do it” or “not do it” in regards to a lifestyle change (such as exercising, or not giving in to temptations) may only last for so long before you lose motivation or willpower… that is, if you are relying on only yourself.  A weak moment, a rough day, or too many temptations could find you falling off track… and it happens!  But the question is, what does it take to get you back on track?

SO….what DOES it take?

I’ll tell you… in one word…

ACCOUNTABLY! Never underestimate “power in numbers!” Having other people hold you accountable could mean the difference between achieving your goals or never coming close.

Here’s how to get some accountably:

  • Declare to others what your goals are. Tell family and friends about your long-term health goal and what changes you are making to get there.
  • Get an exercise buddy, especially if you are just starting out. Is there a friend or family member who also wants to start exercising or who is already active? Buddy up! You wouldn’t miss a walking date or gym meet-up if someone else was counting on you to be there, right?

And….the ABSOLUTE BEST THING you can do is… 

  • Hire a HEALTH COACH!!  Having a health coach to check in with on a regular basis will keep you motivated because someone is holding you to it! A coach will guide you to set specific goals that move you closer to your long-term goal. He or she will also help you gain insight into your own lifestyle behaviors and come up with strategies to change behaviors. And when you fall off track (and you will!) a coach is there to pick you back up so you keep moving forward. He or she can offer suggestions and educate when necessary, but more than anything, a coach will “hold you to it”, which makes all the difference!!!

Can you tell I’m passionate about health coaching? That’s because IT WORKS!  For the amount of money spent on diet books and weight loss programs, a much better investment would be to hire a health coach!

Ready to do that thing? I promise I’ve got your back, and will make sure you DO IT! Check out my programs and contact me today to change your life!  http://nutritionconsultantsoftherockies.com/#contentTwo

 

 

 

Spice up your Summer with Fresh Fruits and Veggies!

Do you get bored with the same plain old fruits and veggies? Summer is a great time to experiment. Read on for ideas that will spice up your summer with fresh fruits and veggies!

  • Fruit and Veggie Kabobs- slide on to skewers a variety of vegetables and/or fruits (large pieces of bell peppers, zucchini, onion, plum tomatoes, whole mushrooms, cubed pineapple, melon, and grapes all work great!). Drizzle on some lemon or lime juice and sprinkle with spices/seasonings (such as pepper, garlic, chili powder, or chopped cilantro etc.) as desired. Grill kabobs for 5-6 minutes on each side.
  • Spinach and Strawberry Salad-  Place 2 bags of baby spinach in a bowl, add 1 cup of sliced strawberries, 2/3 cup chopped pecans, and 1/4 of a thinly sliced red onion. . Toss some balsamic or red wine vinaigrette dressing into salad just before serving.
  • Pineapple Mango Salsa- Dice up 1 mango, 2 cups pineapple, 1 small red onion, 2 medium tomatoes, and 1 finely diced jalapeño. Mix together in a bowl. Then add 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro, 1 garlic clove minced, and 2 Tbsp lime juice.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy by….
  • Serving with tortilla chips
  • Using as a topping on grilled chicken or fish
  • Adding to homemade tacos or quesadillas
  • Adding to a salad
  • Grilled zucchini and summer squash- Cut off the ends of the veggies and slice in quarters lengthwise. Drizzle/toss in olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper, and minced garlic to taste.  Grill on all sides until tender. Serve at your next summer BBQ!
  • Enjoy some Jicama- Have you ever had this crunchy, sweet veggie?…. It’s delicious! Peel and thinly slice 1 jicama. Toss in a bowl with1 Tbsp lime juice, and add a light sprinkle of chili powder, salt, and sugar to taste. Spread out on a plate and chill for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy as a snack, appetizer, or side dish at a cookout.
  • Frozen grapes- For a cold treat, freeze grapes and serve! So simple, yet so good…

Have any good fruit and veggie ideas or summer recipes? Please share!!