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The Diet FItness Diva Newsletter Archives
Wednesday
May272009

Could you give a good recommendation on what someone should eat before a workout, also what type of foods, for both aerobic workout, and for a workout with weights? When after a workout, how soon is it important to refuel, and with what? What should be avoided before and after, depending on the type of workout as well?  

You have asked several questions - let's take them in order:

1. Could you give a good recommendation on what someone should eat before a workout, and what type of foods, for both aerobic workout, andfor a workout with weights.

Before a workout, it is important to fuel the body with a good balance of unrefined, complex carbohydrates, a little lean protein and a small amount of good fat. Some suggestions might be to have an egg, toast from whole grain bread with a little real butter (or natural peanut butter or almond butter) and fruit or a bowl of real, unrefined oatmeal topped with a small amount of real fruit with some walnuts and milk, or a protein shake. You want to eat something that digests easily so your body can convert it quickly and use it. If you are working out in the mid morning or mid afternoon, again a moderate sized meal or protein shake that is balanced between carbs, proteins and fats is fine. The total calorie intake doesn’t need to be more than two or three hundred. It's not a lot different for aerobics or lifting weights. Food is fuel and you need fuel for either workout. Keep it simple, balanced and moderate in portion size.

2. And then after a workout, how soon is it important to refuel, and with what?

After a workout, you want to eat something similar. You want to eat within an hour so that what you eat goes to your muscles for repair and recovery. For example a sandwich of natural peanut butter or other nut butter and whole berries on whole bread with a glass of milk is just as good as a bowl of homemade chicken soup (that has chicken in it!) plus a salad topped with olive oil and vinegar. Both meals are balanced and include good carbs, protein and fat and do not contain a lot of calories. If you have been lifting heavy weights, just be sure and have a little more protein for muscle repair.

3. Also, what should be avoided before and after, depending on the type of workout as well?

It is not necessary to eat a lot before or after a workout and there aren’t any special foods that will make or break a workout except of course junk foods. As long as you consume a meal that is balanced with whole sources of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and good fats in a moderate sized meal, you will be just fine. It's worth repeating; keep it simple, balanced and moderate in portion size.

Wednesday
May202009

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON EATING GLUTEN FREE FOODS? I THINK THEY ARE BETTER AND ARE EASIER TO DIGEST. MY SON LOVES NOODLES; HE DOES NOT EAT A LOT OF MEAT. [THERE ARE] TOO MANY CARBS IN NOODLES SO I TRY TO BUY THE GLUTEN FREE NOODLES OR EVEN THE WHOLE WHEAT NOODLES. AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING BY BUYING GLUTEN FREE PRODUCTS IF WE REALLY DO NOT NEED THEM?

Most people who are on a gluten free diet suffer from Celiac disease and that means they are unable to process foods made from wheat, rye and barley so a gluten free diet is a diet that is free of those grains. People who eat a gluten free diet also need to watch out for foods that contain the ingredients malt and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Foods that contain these ingredients are white and wheat bread, multi grain breads, bagels, muffins, hamburger/hot dog buns, croissants and pizza crusts to name a few. Even though you and your family don’t appear to have Celiac disease you prefer the taste of gluten free foods.

Rice is gluten free and is the basis of lots of gluten free foods. To some degree you are replacing wheat with rice. Breads and pastas made with potato flour and corn flour are also alternatives to wheat flour based foods. Some corn based foods have malt in them so read the labels.

Gluten free is not synonymous with lower carb, and is not a replacement for meat which is mostly protein. Rice, corn and potatoes are not lower in carbohydrates than foods made with wheat, rye and barley. A carb calorie is a carb calorie no matter what the source is. So whether you eat noodles and pizza dough made from rice flour as opposed to wheat or barley flour doesn’t mean you are eating fewer carbohydrates. You are just eating carbohydrates from a different source.


There is nothing wrong with what you are doing. It is not any more or any less healthy than eating foods made from wheat, rye and barely. It is just a preference. Your desire for a gluten free diet is based on preference not necessity.

Monday
May182009

Recently I attended a new class at the gym called The Mixx – kind of an interval class with lots of different, high intensity moves. My heart rate goes really high – totally anaerobic and I had a hard time getting it to come down. How do I get my body to adapt to the class? 

You say you have been to the class once a week for the last four weeks so that’s four times. You also said that until that class you thought doing cardio five times a week and weight training had you in good enough shape to do this class without your heart rate going so high.

You are in good shape and getting in better shape and that takes time. Remember you have only been to four of these classes so far. At this point you have a good cardio base specific to the classes and cardio workouts you have been doing for a long time. Your body has made adjustments to those specific demands. You have now added a very intense cardio workout to your routine and your body is being pushed to meet new, difficult and challenging demands. You are moving in different ways and going hard which drives up your heart rate. This is a challenge to your current aerobic base which is not accustomed to these demands. What you are doing is exactly what you need to do to increase or raise your aerobic base which eventually increases your fat burning potential and overall fitness level. Keep taking the class and don’t be afraid to modify some of the moves until you have adapted to them. Then progress those moves so you continue to be challenged. Don’t be discouraged, be encouraged! You have taken the class only four times, you are putting new demands on your body, and as your fitness level changes, you will soon be able to do the class and stay aerobic. Write back and let me know when that happens!

Friday
May152009

Is there a way to make a protein shake that tastes good?

That's a great question! Protein shakes are quick, easy, and provide a great source of nutrients. See if this video helps!

Tuesday
May122009

I am happy with my weight and size, but would like to be in better shape and more toned. I have been doing kickbox classes, cardio/strength/interval classes and I do a weightlifting class once a week. I try to work out 4 or 5 times a week. Is this a good mix to help me achieve my goals? Does weight training or cardio give better results for general toning?

I am so glad you are happy with your weight and size! You have a really good mix of classes that you do and a nice blend of cardio and strength classes. By toning I am assuming you want long, lean muscle (not bulk) with some definition. Cardio workouts build endurance and burn fat to help reduce body fat all over your body. Remember, you can’t spot reduce. Weight training builds muscle strength. Together they result in a healthy, physically sculpted body. You may be afraid to lift heavier weights because you don’t want to bulk up. Keep in mind that women do not bulk up the way men sometimes do when men lift weights. Women often lift too little and lift too light. Women don’t have as much testosterone as men so they don’t bulk up the same way and usually not at all.  To achieve the goals you have stated, you need to lift enough weight to bring your muscles to fatigue within about 10-12 reps. You also need to continue with your cardio workouts making sure that you keep it fresh. Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. Try substituting kickboxing with cycle and cardio/strength/interval training with a weightlifting class every once in awhile.  Keeping your workouts different and rotating them prevents your muscles from adapting and keeps them developing.

Working out 4 or 5 times a week is just fine. If you aren’t meeting your goals doing classes on your own, invest in a Personal Trainer. I have trained with trainers on and off for years when I need to freshen up my goals or set new ones. They are worth the investment, which ultimately is an investment in you and your health. Just a few little tweaks from a Personal Trainer can make a world of difference.