This past Thursday I had the pleasure of contributing to an unique event at The Weight Club that was a fun combination of exercise (burn), delicious food and sports nutrition (learn):
The exercise classes provided the opportunity to try something new, get in a great workout with the guidance of an instructor and camaraderie of a group setting all while jamming to great music. This was only my second real workout since MMTR, so I really enjoyed the motivation to get moving!
The evening started with a 30 minute session of B.A.S.I.C., a class based around functional fitness exercises of agility and stability drills, plyometrics, body weight exercises, interval conditioning, etc. I really enjoyed the combination of cardio and strength this class provided and the fast pace made for a lot of fun!
After a quick break, we moved into a 30 minute session of Bodypump, a choreographed strength class that provides a full-body workout through the combination of weighted exercises at high reps. I choose to put the lightest weight on my bar as its been a while since I've lifted anything. Nonetheless, this class rocked my upper body (in a good way) and I could definitely tell the next day that I had worked my body well!
After everyone was sufficiently worn out, dinner catered by my favorite restaurant, Gillies, arrived! We were served a fresh array of salmon fish tacos, tofu stir fry, quinoa and brown rice... probably the best meal I've had in a while (probably because I didn't have to cook it too!) We ate, changed, chatted it up and I met a few new people in the process.
Once everyone was fed, full and ready to sit still, I took the "stage" and gave a 30 minute sports nutrition talk on Real Food Approaches to Fueling Workouts. Okay, I'll admit I was really nervous as it was my first time talking in this sort of setting, I had no slide show to rely on for visuals and people asked some tricky questions! Overall though, I tried to set the tone that it's important to rely on simple meals and whole foods over processed protein powders and bars, that sports nutrition is not an exact science (though much is evidence based) and that there are no miracle "superfoods" or pills to success, only functional foods.
Here's a bit of what I discussed:
Pre-Workout Energy Optimizers
Aim for a snack with simple carbohydrates for energy and moderate protein and fat to promote satiety
Aim for a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates and lean protein to restock muscle glycogen stores and build muscle. Where possible, incorporate veggies to provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are also important in the rebuild process!
First and foremost, honor the fuel window: Your muscles are best equipped to receive fuel immediately following workouts. Eating a post-workout snack or meal with 15-60 minutes will optimize your body's ability to receive those nutrients.
Second, choose easy to digest foods: If your body needs to pull blood away from your muscles to digest a complex meal, that's less blood to aid in the rebuilding process.
Third, keep it simple: Post-workout is meant for recovery, not laboring in the kitchen. An extensive meal is great, but if possible, have something that's quick to throw together (wrap or smoothie) or planned leftovers.
Thanks to The Weight Club for sponsoring this event and letting me contribute, to Gillies for the amazing (as always) dinner and to all those who came out and participated!
See you next time!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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