We all know the story: you have exercise goals, but when you get home from a busy day at work, you wonder how on earth you’re going to muster the energy to workout. Even if your exercise happens in your basement, you still have to force yourself to get off the couch and get moving. Then, the excuses start flying: “Maybe if I work out twice as hard tomorrow, I can just sit here and take the night off”, or “I worked really hard today, so I deserve to take the night off”. Sound familiar? The reality is: most of us have a love/hate relationship with exercise. We know that we should be moving our bodies more and we are constantly searching for an easier way to make exercise part of our daily lives. Whether you are training for the Olympics or trying to increase your walks on the treadmill, nutrition plays an essential role in your ability to get up and go.
The first – and easiest – nutrition and exercise tip is: drink more water. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate more with nature’s energy drink – plain water! Staying hydrated is important for many reasons, and one reason is to help your system detoxify itself. Many of us use commercial sport drinks to keep hydrated when we are working out. Unfortunately, the sports drink marketers have convinced us that we should add chemicals such as food colorings and over processed sugars to our fresh clean water. When our bodies are full of these chemicals, we have to use precious energy to cleanse them from our system, which robs our energy tank and slows our metabolism. Some sports drinks are loaded with over-processed sugars. One bottle can sometimes take you over your daily-recommended sugar intake. Too much sugar causes energy crashes and increases food cravings for simple carbohydrates. When we eat too much sugar, we crave things like white pasta, bread, and chips, and who could be motivated to exercise with a belly full of that?!
Maybe you are a long-distance runner or you play a team sport that requires a more high-powered hydration plan than plain water can provide. If that is you and you are a looking for a homemade sports drink, check out Nancy Clark’s simple and delicious recipe here.
Smart snacking throughout your day will also provide you with energy for your workout. Your afternoon snack is especially important. Have a good carbohydrate, protein, and fat source at around 3PM: try an apple with some organic peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts, or some hummus and veggies. Snacking this way will keep your appetite under control so you don’t over-eat at supper. A portion-controlled supper will better support your evening workout session, and it won’t drag you down.
There is no glory in skipping or skimping out on your breakfast. Your most important meal will set your blood sugar levels for the day and get your mind and body up and running. Breakfast skippers tend to over-eat at supper and into the evening. Breakfast eaters have more balanced moods and are better able to maintain their energy to work out later in the day.
Caffeine and sugar crashes are not helping either. The low mood and decreased energy that come with these crashes are also robbing you of motivation. We consume caffeine and sugar because we want an energy bump, but they provide a false sense of energy. I suggest that my clients hydrate when their energy levels are low. Often, an afternoon energy slump is your body trying to tell you to hydrate. Just try it a couple of times, I bet that you’ll soon realize you don’t need that afternoon candy bar and coffee to make it to the end of the workday.
Is feeling dead-tired getting in the way of your workout? If so, have a look at your food. Does it come out of a box or a can? Does it have a long list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce? If the answer is “yes” to these two questions, the food is dead too. To workout consistently, you need real energy that comes from real food. You have the power to support your internal energy systems by staying hydrated with real water, eating real fruit and vegetables, eating breakfast, and planning your meals and snacks.
Until next time, here’s to your whole health and happiness!
Laurie Pinhorn, Holistic Health Coach, is on a mission to help people break free from emotional eating patterns, create personalized food rehabilitation plans, and change their lives. With a background that includes 18 years in social work and a Masters in Holistic Nutrition, she is well equipped to educate and shift perspectives. Fueled by the truth about the food industry and armed with the right tools and strategies, Laurie is bringing true, long-lasting health and food freedom to those who crave and need change the most – one healthy decision at a time. For more information about Holistic Action visit them online at www.lauriepinhorn.com, or on Facebook or find Laurie on LinkedIn.