Friday, May 19, 2023




Could it really be that someone ASKED ME to write a blog of info on this?! YES I WILL!!!  (thanks Tina!).

So, the great question was, “how to eat before/after morning workouts to not crash during the day”.

OK there is so much info on this and the “fun” but frustrating part is that there isn’t a FORMULA to exactly follow because bodies are different.  That is the fun part- you get to take science, and then try to figure out the art of making it work for individual bodies.  The frustrating part is that sometimes it would be easier to follow a script, but- again- bodies react differently with GI system preferences and issues, as well as how sensitive your body is to insulin and other macronutrients that you take in, along with other personal differences.

*speaking of- in this brief info on “nutrition” around eating- I’m not even going to use words like macronutrients because some people are like what IS THAT?  (it is the type /category of foods that you take in.  So, let’s say it like it is- we will be talking about carbohydrate (cho), protein and fats… and fiber).

If you are working out early morning, the goal and purpose of the workout/training session is important to consider.  If you are out for a low intensity walk or easy jog or bike then you could do that workout without eating (fasted).  However, if you have a workout where you are asking your body to do strength, any high intensity intervals, sustained work at a higher level, you want to have something to eat, even if minimal, to have some blood glucose to help serve as fuel for that high intensity work.  (otherwise, the purpose of the workout is compromised…. And then—you aren’t getting as fit/fast/results from what you are spending your time doing!)  So, this could be having a sip or even a small amount of juice, a few bites or a half of a banana (or a whole banana), or some berries/grapes/pineapple slices.  Something with carbohydrate source to give your body fast energy.  Remember, if you are working out with intention, with the purpose of getting stronger, you need to be able to train in a way that allows you to train well.  You need to fuel for that training.  You cannot just will your body to do things it doesn’t have the resources to perform.  You wouldn’t ask a car to drive on no gas. (see later hints on eliminating carbohydrates).

AFTER the workout:  The higher intensity exercise- (both cardio and strength), the more important it is to get in your recovery nutrition ASAP, and this means ideally within the first 20 minutes.  This sometimes isn’t easy.  If you drove to a workout, you might need to pack something in your car if it is longer than this.  If not 20 min then 30-40 and DEFINITELY within first hour, otherwise you are compromising recovery as well as compromising your immune system.  For ideal muscle repair and recovery/rebuilding, you want to have a minimum of 150-200 calorie carbohydrate/protein snack.  Examples could be yogurt with berries, tart cherry juice has been shown to help recovery as well as immune system health after hard/long training sessions, and you would want to pair that with maybe 1 hard boiled egg/1 egg white or however you choose to cook them.  A smoothie could fit into this recovery model as well. Another option is overnight oats with berries, or a whole grain piece of toast with egg and avocado.  If you need to pack something, pack a half a sandwich, or even half a PBand banana sandwich (on whole grain). 

OTHER GENERAL NUTRITION HINTS that are your just easy general guidelines to always resort back to:

1.       Any snack or meal- you should always be able to look at your food and it should be comprised of:  a fruit or vegetable, combined with a protein or dairy. (example:  an apple is not a good snack.  An apple combined with almonds would be.  Likewise, a spinach side salad is not a great snack, but a spinach side with cottage cheese on top (and maybe strawberries) would be!)

2.       Snack needs to be minimum of 150 calories in order to stimulate your metabolism.  We all would like for our metabolism to be revved as much as possible, right?!

3.       I always recommend (and personally rely on this mentality for nutrition) to have a diet of INCLUSION versus exclusion.  “how much GOOD can I get into my body”… so I always have a focus of trying to get in as close to 5 fruits and 5 veggies/day (combined with the above- including it with protein/dairy as well as whole grain).  If I am eating well on a diet of INCLUSION, then first of all, I’m satiated, but not going about thinking and obsessing about “I am trying to NOT eat something (which just personally makes me want to eat it!).

4.       Keep a food log- and it doesn’t need to be fancy- if you take 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day to write down what you eat, times (include liquid also, even water), you will get a sense of what you may need to modify to feel more energetic and balanced.

5.       CARBOHYDRATES ARE NOT BAD.  If you are an athlete you NEED THEM.  They are the only source of fuel for your BRAIN as well!  Unless you have a medical condition that you have been medically advised to take out carbohydrates you NEED THEM.  (I also have never met someone overweight who got that way by eating too many apples, right?)  If you are exercising and active, you need carbohydrates – just be sure to have the appropriate ones!  Whole grains- (has to have the word WHOLE- so bread from the grocery store that is “wheat bread” is not whole wheat) are your friend- brown rice, whole wheat pastas are not something you need to eliminate. 

*Note:  I am not including any information on fueling DURING exercise, which is another huge topic to consider for long workouts lasting over an hour, particularly in training for performance.

I hope this helps, and I love answering questions, so anyone else please ask away if there are other questions!