I realize it has been well over a month since my last post, and I do apologize. I have been swamped with friends getting married (multiple weddings) and I started law school part-time. But I am finally back in action!
This post focuses on the fads behind pre and post workout nutrition. There is a lot of bad information out there in the world, and gyms love to promote certain brands for nutrition. I call these brands “crap.” Because most of them are just that.
I remember a time as a trainer, years ago, buying pounds of low-carb protein drink mixes to fuel my workouts. All the guys would keep their own favorite flavor in the break room and convinced me that it was all healthy. Now I know better. Those protein mixes have so many ingredients that the body is probably not even breaking it down in the correct manner. The low-carb part really means that some artificial sweetener is replacing what would be the sugar. Artificial sweeteners are poison to the body and lead to nerve cell damage and tumors. Unfortunately I was apart of a gym that did not educate its staff properly and personal trainers were telling clients to use these toxic protein mixes.
All that the companies claim on their labels is one giant lie and a scam. Much like those Take Shape For Life or Slim Fast meals. The prepackaged meals shipped to your home? Garbage.
Before You Workout
Our bodies really do not need anything extra before a workout. As long as you are eating by my Rules to Eat By you will be fine. All you need to survive are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, essentials oils and some meats (if you eat it) every 3-4 hours you will survive your workout.
Most people have it all wrong when it comes to fueling before and after workouts. What should you really eat before a workout? Nothing. Yes nothing. You have just been told by mostly advertising that you should always have something to eat. But what the companies making all the “pre-workout energy bars” are forgetting to mention is that your body does not digest these things. That is correct. When you eat that power bar 30 minutes before your workout you are doing your body more harm than good.
Ashtanga Yogi’s are the only athletic individuals who seem to not eat before practicing. This enables the body to actually use muscles in the abdominal region, and allows the energy to stop flowing down and out of the body, but rather work its way up and out of the crown. Any yogi will attest that when they eat or drink too much before a practice, they do not practice as well as they would have otherwise.
Medical science also finds this to be true. It takes the body roughly 5 hours to digest the complexity of foods like protein bars prior to a workout. There are just too many ingredients to try to break down. In addition, as soon as the body starts to work out, the brain shuts down the bodily systems that aren’t as necessary as the muscular system. The heart has to pump more blood to your muscles, and pumps less to your digestive and excretory systems. That is usually why you don’t have to go to the bathroom during a workout. The body stops digesting your food and it just sits in your belly. Taking up valuable space and creating more strain to the body.
That is why most Ashtanga yogis practice yoga in the morning. Just after you go to the bathroom, you practice. You clear the bodies of excess waste and can have more control of your physical body and all your muscles. You also have great awareness for your body because you are just awake and have not cluttered the mind with too many worries. But that is for another blog. The point is to have a light body to do proper movements with.
So If you work out in the afternoon, try not to eat for about 3 hours prior to practice. Even though I always say eat every 3 hours, your metabolism will not slow down if you replace food with exercise and eat within 30 minutes after. That leaves your body only without food for maybe 4.5 hours which is still safe.
If you find yourself starving before your workout, you can eat a piece of fruit. It’s the easiest and quickest for the body to digest and will not leave you feeling too full to engage the abdominals during practice, or to breathe as deeply as you need to.
After You Workout
30 minutes after is key. Even if you workout far from where you have food waiting for you, have some fresh-squeezed organic juice to replenish you. This will allow your body to begin to recover quicker. Fruits are the easiest to digest and only take about an hour to process. Leaving you time to eat your healthy dinner of organic-local-chicken with kale-cauliflower ‘rice’ when you get home.
Enjoy your food. Allow the body to relax post workout and with that comes slow, mindful eating. Be aware of what you put into your body. If you are working out, you are trying to rid yourself of dangerous toxins, so try not to put them back in your body when you finish that workout. That means you have to eliminate the fried, processed and inhumane foods out in the world.
If you feel the need to add in some protein somewhere, try to get organic grass-fed whey protein powder (plain no additives) or pea protein powder.
In summary, try not to eat before you workout. Always drink something natural (ie. fresh-pressed juice) within 30 minutes post workout, and take your time eating your meal 1 hour after that. Be mindful about what you put into your body.