From the Mag | Summer Fitness Guide | Part 4
Diet is Key
Whether you'd like to improve performance, boost energy or get lean, a strong nutrition plan is a crucial component. We know what we put into our bodies has a direct correlation with our daily output. If racing is your priority, how do you fuel your body pre- and post-workout ? If looking stellar in your swimsuit motivates you, how do you stay lean? Here are a few tricks that can help you get the results you're looking for--and keep them!
-- Cut carbs. Whenever I look to lean out, I always cut carbs for a couple of weeks. Stored carbohydrates in the body retain water, which makes you bloated. In addition, carbohydrates (even healthy grains) produce a strong insulin spike, which results in weight gain.
Swap: Rice, potatoes and crackers for sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, spaghetti squash and mashed cauliflower
-- Increase healthy fat. It's always been a misconception that to lose weight you need to stay away from fat. I used to avoid whole avocados and oil because I thought it would make me gain weight. Trans fats definitely lead to weight gain, but there are other options that actually help burn fat stores. Healthy fats such as the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids enhance metabolic function and have a fat-burning effect. Bonus: they make your skin and hair shine!
Swap: All processed and fried food for raw nuts, avocados, wild-caught fish, organic hard cheeses and grass-fed meats.
-- Season with spices and Himalayan sea salt. Table salt and soy sauce make your body hold onto water, which is not ideal for bikini season. Switch to Himalayan sea salt, which is a natural diuretic. It contains 80-plus minerals, which balance PH, improve circulation and assist in metabolic function. Using other spices is also a great calorie-free healthy option. Turmeric and ginger contain major anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It's important to reduce the inflammation in the body in order to repair damage and block the body from viruses.
Swap: Table salt, soy sauce and ketchup with Himalayan salt, turmeric, ginger and garlic.
-- Refuel within 20 minutes of a workout. In order to rebuild the muscle that was broken down during exercise, it's critical to refuel within one hour (preferably 20 minutes) of exercise. During a workout, your body accesses glycogen stores to meet the demands of exercise. A post-workout shake or meal will replenish these stores, rebuild muscle to come back even stronger and keep metabolism high.
Foodie Hint: Try 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoon flaxseed meal and 2 cups almond milk.
-- Increase amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which helps limit muscle breakdown and speed muscle repair. It's important we get enough amino acids for muscle maintenance, maintaining metabolism and stabilizing blood sugar.
Foodie Hint: Go with grass-fed meat, organic eggs and wild-caught fish.
-- Fuel up with bulletproof coffee. If it's hard for you to have a full meal before a workout, try bulletproof coffee (a drink consisting of “upgraded” black coffee blended with grass-fed butter and coconut oil). The combination will provide an excellent and efficient source of healthy fats. These fats provide energy, keep you satisfied and support hormonal balance. The cup of Joe will keep you going throughout your workout or long paddle without the crash.
Foodie Hint: Give black coffee blended with 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter and 1 tablespoon coconut oil a try.
-- Drink more green tea. Green tea has a high concentration of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce oxidative stress, which help to slow down signs of aging, fight chronic disease and increase energy. Green tea also stabilizes blood sugar levels, helping to avoid that late afternoon crash when blood sugar is low.
Foodie Hint: Try un-sweetened green tea with lemon.
- Enjoy Maca daily. Maca is a root grown in Peru, but the powder and liquid form can be found in most health food stores in the States. Maca helps to balance hormones. It's an endocrine adaptogen, which means it does not actually contain hormones but has the nutrients necessary to balance hormones. Balanced hormones are essential for energy levels, athletic performance and overall mood.
Foodie Hint: Go with 1 teaspoon Maca powder in a smoothie or simply take it with water.
-- Keep the yolks. Egg yolks are rich in B-vitamins, which are crucial to converting food into energy. The B-vitamins found in your morning breakfast are easily digested and will give you that sustained energy to get you through your workout or work.
Foodie Hint: Go organic to get the most benefit from your eggs. Season with Himalayan sea salt and garlic powder.