Do you know what to eat before and after your workout? This is a popular question from people just starting out in their fitness journey. Getting your diet on point is a science and any custom to you plans should be created by a registered dietician/nutritionist (remember that!) but there are some general tips and tricks I can share with you to get you started!
What To Eat:
Before – Carbs! Carbs are your friends. I know you’ve heard that carbs are bad and should be avoided if you want to lose weight but I promise, you want a little carbs in your life. Carbs = ENERGY. Good carbs (whole grains/wheats, fruits) turn into the energy your muscles need to push you through a killer workout. You should eat a little something 30-90 minutes before you workout like toast with PB and banana, some oatmeal with berries, crackers or rice cakes.
After – Protein! Protein is what is going to help your muscles repair themselves and grow. When you workout (especially strength train) you make tiny tears in your muscles. Protein helps repair these tears. The sooner you get in some protein after your workout, the better! Some ideas of good protein sources are protein shakes or bars (be really careful they aren’t full of sugar!), lean meats like chicken or fish, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
There ya go! A quick reminder of what to eat before and after your workout. Carbs = Energy, Protein = Repair. Energy before, repair after.
Macros, short for Macronutrients, are the parts that make up the calories that you eat. There are 3 macronutrients that go into your total calorie count. They are Fats, Carbohydrates, and Proteins. The combination of these macros give you your daily calorie totals.
Breaking it down:
1g Carbs = 4 calories
1g Fat = 9 calories
1g Protein = 4 calories
Each one of those macros plays a big part in your health and fitness journey and it is important that you get the right amount of each one. You can find many free macro calculators online, like the one at Bodybuilding.com, that will give you daily macro goals based on your age, height/weight, and activity level as well as your fitness goals.
When you have your daily macro grams you can figure out your daily calorie goals. You can also use websites like My Fitness Pal to track your food and keep count of your macros and calories. When you log into MFP, you can go to Goals from the home page, then edit your Daily Nutrition Goals. Move the percentages around until you come close to your Macro gram goals. For me that comes to 40% Carbs and Protein, and 20% Fat. Plugging in those numbers gives me a general calorie goal to aim for. From there I can track my food and see where I’m at as far as meeting those goals.
Tip: If using a website like MFP, add all of your meals for the day in the night before. That way you can see it all laid out and know that your macros are spread and you’re not struggling at the end of the day when you realize you’ve been binging on carbs and need to get in more protein.
Tracking and following your macros has become a big deal in the diet/fitness world. It’s more than just counting calories. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a popular website that can also give you macro goals and help you learn more about flexible dieting. The idea with this way of eating is that you are allowed to treat yourself and not cut out ALL the things you love…as long as eating them fits into your daily macros. Want a cupcake? Go for it. But remember that will cut into your macros and you will need to adjust for it in other meals during the day.
No matter what you choose to follow remember that to lost weight you need to be burning more calories than you consume so make sure you’re crushing your workouts! Also, I definitely recommend tracking your food for a few days, eating the way you normally would, and see what you learn about your calorie and macro intake. From there you can see where to modify (less carbs, more protein, less fat?) to reach your goals.
*I am not a registered dietician or doctor. This post is meant to provide general information and knowledge on nutrition and macronutrients for a healthy person. Please consult your doctor before starting any fitness program.
WATER! Drinking water is so important. I know you’ve heard that a million times, right? But it’s true. Water helps your kidneys flush toxins out of your body, muscles need water to stay energized, it can help clear up your skin, help with digestion, and about a million other things. Basically, it’s super important.
What I’m sayin’ is…you need to drink your water! At least half your body weight in oz every day. Every. Day. That would be 90+ oz a day for me. Honestly, I could go all day with only the water used to make my coffee (which totally doesn’t count by the way. Boo.) and I know that’s not good! I just don’t like drinking water. It’s a major struggle getting those ounces in…and some days I don’t. But I try! That’s important. Some is better than none at all, right? Right!
Some people are just natural water drinkers. Good for them! But if you’re like me you’ll need all the help you can get to stay hydrated.
Here are a few things that I’ve tried that seem to help me:
Water bottles: I’m a bit of a water bottle hoarder. Same goes for plastic straw tumblers and to-go mugs. Every time I fall off the water wagon I buy a new water bottle and it almost makes me excited about water again, haha. Also, I try to think about how many times I have to fill up. With my Camelback I had to drink 3. Recently I just bought a 52oz (I think) Bubba mug. It’s ridiculously big BUT I only have to drink 2 of them to hit my goal for the day. Somehow, even though it’s the same total, drinking 2 is so much more attainable than having to refill 3 times or more.
Bracelets: A friend told me about this, and while I haven’t tried it, I think it’s genius. I just don’t have that many bracelets. You can also use rubber bands though which I believe was the original method she found. If you are shooting for 8 glasses of water put 8 bracelets or bands on one wrist. Every time you drink one, move a bracelet/band to the other wrist. It’s a nice visual to have right in front of you all day to remind you and keep you on track.
Apps: Like a good water bottle I’m a sucker for a useful phone app. I downloaded both Waterlogged and Daily Water on my iPhone. Daily Water seems really straight forward and easy. Little fuss, just click the glass as you drink and it tracks. It also makes some fun sounds when you track. Waterlogged seems to do a lot more but I haven’t fully dug into it. I think you can schedule water intake on both apps. Either one would be a good choice to try out if you love tracking things on your phone or ipad.
Infusing: This is another great way to make you want to drink water. They sell fancy infusing pitchers and bottles but you could just buy any large water container with a spigot on it and it works just as well. Fill it with water and add chopped fruits, berries, herbs, cucumbers…anything. The options are really endless and Pinterest has about 9 million variations you can try. This really is good! I love naturally flavored water like this. It almost feels like cheating.
Write it down: In my planner I make little boxes everyday (or draw little water drops if I’m feeling fancy) and color them in as I drink. You can even buy little planner stickers that are for tracking water on Etsy! If you’re writing it in put as many down as you need. I did have a lot before but now I just have 2 boxes. I get to check one each time I empty my huge 52oz mug.
Plan ahead: This is smart too for the plan ahead types (which I am so not). Another friend of mine was filling large water bottles every night and sticking them in her fridge that way all day her water was there and ready. No refilling. Just grab and go. Finish them all and you’ve made your goal!
Are you good at drinking water? Do you like it? If you have any other tips that I haven’t mentioned please share! I can always use more help with it.