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Eating for your best workout

January 9, 2013
by Monica

This morning my typically spunky instructor was losing energy half way through our spin class.  She usually keeps us going with her energy levels, but not today.  She mentioned that she was trying to lose a few pounds and only ate a banana this morning before the class.  Afterwards, (she knows that I am a dietitian), we started chatting about what she is doing to lose weight. She shared that like many this time of year, she has really ramped up her working out, she is now running in the morning before teaching spin, and is trying to “eat better.” I was so happy that she asked me my opinion. Okay, so, if you are going to get the best from your workouts, you have to have energy, sustained energy. This means eating a good breakfast that digests easily to provide the energy you need during your workout.  For her, I recommended adding a low-fat Greek yogurt to her banana breakfast before her workout, and during her workouts, which is two or more hours long, adding 4 ounces of an electrolyte energy drink, like regular Gatorade, to her 20 ounces of water.  She also told me that she typically does not eat until several hours after her workout. Here is another opportunity to get food to work hard for her in rebuilding and maximizing her workout. She needs to eat protein and carbs within the hour of her workout. New research shows that the ideal amount of protein at this time would be 25 grams to get 100% muscle building (which helps burn calories). A great after workout meal would be 3 oz of tuna (21 grams of protein), 2 pieces of whole wheat bread (4 grams protein), and a fruit.  She is going to report back to me next week to let me know if her energy levels are better.

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