Fight Fatigue with Food & Fitness… Plus, pre-workout FUEL tips
by Dasha Libin, MS, NASM-PES, NASE, SES
Regardless of your daily regiment, the character traits of a modern female are always rooted in our endless goals. Fatigue can often stand in the way of those goals, cutting training time short, prohibiting maximum output and perhaps even keeping you from getting to your workout. Not to mention leaving you flat on energy to play with your kids or spend active quality time with your family and friends.
While every busy women knows the struggle between wanting to train and feeling tired your workouts should never leave you exhausted. Instead a good workout should work you out to your max in each set, but leaves you energized afterwards. Make sure that when you train, be it with your home workouts or any other routine, you are training on a progressive training program, not juts a random set of poorly structured workouts- often that can make all of the difference in your energy levels and your results.
Exhaustion can come from many places, such as overtraining and a lack of recovery time, life stress and lack of sleep, it should not come from poor workout structure, poor form or a lack of a fitness routine. That is why many people find it beneficial to have and follow a home fitness program; not only can it ensure a scientific structure to your workouts, but it also leaves you more energy to train and less energy spent on your commute. Plus, for those new to exercise a home program is a great way to limit your ‘excuses’ and make sure you take the necessary steps to follow correct form (good programs will always have a beginner options available).
Why is pre-training nutrition important? Fitness and daily fatigue can accumulate from dehydration, poor eating, bad nutritional planning and poor diet.
Fatigue fighting and performance enhancing nutrition is not a myth, instead it is a calculated way to take in the right nutrients at the correct time. Fueling the body and aiding recovery before, during and after a long day or a hard training session is important. Fatigue fighting foods are real, and when coupled with the correct training program, the right nutrition can help a person reach any goal much faster and more efficiently.
If you workout in the am your pre-workout snack is your breakfast. You should have breakfast or a good energy snack before any high-intensity morning workouts (examples would include our Scorcher Series program). Working out on an empty stomach is only okay for slower pace regiments like a treadmill walk or light jog. Generally, starting the day off smart is vital. Just like the weather, your breakfast will set the tone for your energy levels, mood and performance throughout the day and in your workout. First thing is first, do not skip the AM meal. Second, be smart about what that meal is. Make it a point to take in clean, whole foods within the first hour of waking up. Fruits are best in the morning, so are protein rich natural yogurts and eggs. Other examples can include milk, almond milk, coconut milk and whole grains like all natural puffs and oatmeal. Yogurt with (portion controlled almonds) is another great choice. Most people do not realize that one small pack of non-fat greek yogurt has 15 grams of protein, essential to help you stay satisfied during your workout, and build healthy lean muscle post training. If you are not used to breakfast but you want to train in the am, when it comes to workouts like the Scorcher series sets you should have at least a small snack like a banana. Then, have breakfast right after the workout.
Day and evening workouts: Through out the day, nothing fights fatigue better then clean eating. Processed foods, energy bars and a reliance on energy drinks for your fuel will lead any person, from a pro athlete to a Kettlebell Kickboxer to physical breakdown. You need real food to live and sustain a high level of output in your day and especially in your workout. And because it is important for your weight-loss and health goals to have at least a few resistance and higher intensity workouts a week you should be fueling up correctly. Real whole foods and produce should be the major component of your diet. Instead of grabbing a nutrition bar, try to have actual fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. Making a habit out of fake foods will keep your body from reaching its full potential. Think of fake food as fake energy, they will leave you flat in your training, and even flatter on your workout gains. Nutrient rich foods are the number one daily fatigue fighters and performance enhancers, taking those out of the equation is not a healthy option.
At least half of your meals through out the day should be composed of foods without labels. Buying vegetables, fruits, meat and fish are all easy ways to ensure a healthy whole food meal. The more labels you see on your food, the higher chance it is that they are processed, refined and packed with sodium. To get started on clean eating, pretend that you live on a farm for one week, and eat like it! Force yourself to make a salad, order a whole grain sandwich for lunch, snack on apples and berries, grill protein and vegetables for dinner. Then, watch your energy levels and mood through the week change to a higher level of productivity.
Pre-workout Snack Guideline
- Drink lots of water, but no sports drinks. Sports drinks are only beneficial if you are doing endurance based training, like long distance running for a marathon. The only other time athletes will use sports drinks is if they are outputting a high-level of energy in their sport. In the case of weight-loss, a workout lasting 60 minutes of less does not require any form of performance drink, stick to water.
- Almonds! a portioned controlled serving of almonds can go a long way in keeping you satisfied and feeling full until your its dinner time, helping you make it through an evening workout.
- An apple is another perfect example of healthy and natural sugars (which you will burn off and use in your workout). Plus, an apple has fiber and other great nutrients your body will absurd and use.
- If you are starving, but want to keep your intake at a healthy minimum pre-training try celery and carrots with a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter.
- Some people feel great with a cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, while others feel like the dairy is too much.
- The key is to find a 100-200 calorie snack that is all natural and fits your body. You might need to test a few options before settling on your pre-training go to. Your goal is to maintain a 100-200 calorie serving and make sure your snack has some proteins and healthy fats to keep you full, and some carbs for added energy (especially during your HIIT – high intensity workouts like the Scorcher Series DVDs.
- Do not just eat food because you feel you have to, it is okay to have a breakfast and lunch, then workout and afterwards have dinner. Some days you will want a snack and others you might not need one- listen to your body and never eat because you feel you ‘have to’.
- Do NOT pick sugary snack foods because you feel like you will ‘burn’ them off in your workout. that is the wrong mentality. In your health regiment everything has to compliment each other.
- Keep in mind the pre-training snacks prescribed to professional athletes that train all day are very different from the ones you (a recreational athlete) will need to follow to se results. Avoid white breads and sugary drinks.
- Lastly- do not diet or starve yourself. You must adopt a nutrition lifestyle that works for your lifestyle and your likes, not a diet ‘fad’.