NYC Nutritionist, and FHIXtremer extraordinaire Shara Lazar tells FHIXers exactly what we should and shouldn’t eat before breaking into a round of burpees:
Shara Lazar, RD
If you are reading this blog you may already be addicted to The Fhitting Room classes that offer 50 minutes of high intensity training. This boutique studio has mastered the concept of minimizing the amount of time spent working out, while maximizing the sweat and the feel-good burn after the finale, aka the FHIX. As a nutritionist in NYC, gym members and clients often ask me how they can improve performance and morph their bodies; the latter often being the force that drives us out of bed before dawn for our regularly scheduled workouts. The exercise is just half the equation; eating right and making positive dietary changes can take your workouts to the next level and give you the toned arms and abs you desire.
Although you have read it many times before, smaller more frequent meals throughout the day will allow you to sustain energy levels and maximize your potential during your workouts. For most people the goal is to improve both strength and endurance, and develop lean muscle mass. In order to achieve these goals you have to create a meal plan that compliments your exercise regimen and FHITs your lifestyle.
When it comes to nutrition, eating less is not necessarily more. Food is the body’s fuel and any attempt to tackle a HIT workout without it is like driving a car with no gas. The meal plans that fill the pages of popular health, fitness and fashion magazines always include snacks between meals. There are a few reasons why snacking is encouraged and gains so much attention. Keeping blood sugars regulated during the day is really the name of the game. You should aim to eat something every 3-4 hours to avoid long lapses of time without food. Skimping on food throughout the day may cause what can be described as “highs and lows.” These irregular blood glucose levels may stimulate food cravings, lead to impulsive food choices and can cause mood swings and feelings of irritability.
Now that we have established why eating at regular intervals is beneficial, let’s tackle what to eat between meals. This is essential when combining diet and exercise. People who exercise with their tank on E are more inclined to breakdown their own muscles. During a workout the body is looking for readily available fuel, if it not available it will take protein that has been stored in the muscles. If the body starts to deplete its own muscle stores this can also affect metabolism and hinder weight loss. The snacks that will benefit you and your workouts are those that equally combine a carbohydrate with a protein. To better understand these food choices you should know that the body uses glycogen for energy during the workout. Since carbohydrates are broken down and stored in the form of glycogen, making glycogen available is essential for peak performance. These snacks can contain some fat too which is why it is often referred to as a mini meal. Some examples that combine these nutrients well are a 0% Greek yogurt with 2 tsp of slivered almonds and a small banana or a small apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter. One of our fellow Fhitting Room members has put together a few simple recipes that combine these nutrients and focus on flavor. So follow these guidelines and let’s start snacking right:
● Plan your snacks in advance to be sure they are included in your total daily caloric intake. Often people grab food on the go and this feeling of desperation can lead to poor food choices.
● Think of snacks as mini meals and carve out time during the day to refuel. Busy schedules often take precedence and do not allow for fine dining during the day. Just take a few minutes to eat meals and snacks to avoid overeating or what we often refer to as mindless eating. It is easy to reach the bottom of the bag and exceed serving sizes when we are multi-tasking.
● Make sure to eat your snack at last 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to exercise. If you attempt a workout on a full stomach you may be sluggish or experience cramping. If you are cutting it close and do not have a lot of time keep the snack small.
If you are not sure how to refuel after the workout keep the above principles in mind and try to eat something that combines these nutrients immediately following a workout. The idea is to aid recovery and refuel as soon as possible.
Shara Lazar, RD
FHIT recipes for success
Dara Yaffe, chef and creator of Tastes Like More
(Complex Carbs and protein) - Before a Fhitting Room workout, you need energy to get you through the intense intervals and duration of the 50 minute class.
Oats and protein
¼ cup steel Cut Oats
2 Tbsp Quinoa
pinch of salt
2 cups water
½ cup almond Milk
2 T raisins
Bring 2 cups of water to a rapid boil. Add a pinch of sea salt and the oats. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the oats are mostly cooked. Add the almond milk, quinoa and raisins and continue to stir until the oats have absorbed the almond milk, the quinoa has bloomed and the raisins are plump.
(Lean Protein for muscle recovery)
Turkey and Roasted Pepper Rolls with Hummus:
1 Red bell pepper
4 slices of low sodium deli turkey (Applegate farms)
2 Tbsp Hummus
Set the Red bell pepper directly over the open flame of a gas range or under the broiler in your oven. Char the pepper until it is blackened on all sides. Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Remove the plastic and allow the pepper to cool. With the back of a knife, scrape the charred skin. Cut the pepper in half and discard the seeds. Reserve half the pepper for another use. Cut the other half into 4 slices and spread each with ½ Tablespoon of Hummus and wrap with 1 piece of turkey.