Trainer Blog - 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition

It is a BIG one

It is a BIG one

Personal Training Director, Jay McWilliams

Guess what? It’s my favorite month of the year….. STRENGTH MONTH! If you have been following my newsletters, you know how important full-body resistance training is to achieving all of your health and wellness goals. The benefits are countless: from increased metabolism, to decreased risk of fractures, to better cognitive function. If you do one thing for yourself this year, make it adding two to three days of strength training to your routine. A new 8 week cycle of Targeted Training is beginning May 28th, and this is a great way to begin a consistent strength routine. Please find below a description of Targeted and some answers to frequently asked questions about the program.

Targeted Training provides a middle ground between personal training and group classes, by offering strength training in 8 week programming cycles, in a well-planned progression to groups of up to 6 participants. You will receive the attention to detail, individualized coaching and support found in training, while still enjoying the camaraderie of a small tightly knit group, all at a much more affordable price tag than personal training. Each 8 week progression offers full-body strength training using a variety of equipment, including barbells, cable-machines, kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands. You will track your progress over the course of the 8 weeks on a personalized tracker sheet. Most participants are able to see concrete improvements in strength over the course of the program. In fact, the majority of participants continue with the program for months to years and continue to reap the strength benefits. After the 8 week cycle of training, there will be an additional make-up week; to allow those who had to miss 1-2 sessions during the program a time to make-up these work-outs. At that point current participants are allowed to sign-up for the next cycle before it opens up to the general community. To maximize the benefits of the program, we highly recommend twice a week attendance, but once a week attendance is possible. Each session allows a maximum of 6 participants, ensuring a good training environment and plenty of one-on-one coaching from the trainer.

Targeted Training Frequently Asked Questions:

I am a beginner at strength training, is Targeted a good fit?

Yes! Targeted has the ability to be much more customizable than group classes and all levels, from beginner to advanced, can work out together and challenge themselves appropriately. One of the most rewarding aspects of Targeted is seeing your progress over the 8 weeks, which we track on a strength training tracker sheet. Beginners will be shocked by how much they can progress in these 8 weeks, and often report feeling encouraged and inspired by more advanced participants. It is a warm and compassionate environment with everyone supporting each other.

Do I really need to attend twice a week?

The program is designed for twice a week attendance and you will get the most out of the program if you are able to attend twice per week. However, if this is not possible in your schedule, you can attend once per week. If you are only coming once per week, it will be critical to complete 1-2 days of full-body strength training on your own outside of class.

Why is this an 8 week program?

We have found that eight weeks is a good amount of time to focus on a “micro-cycle” of training progressions, and this provides an easy way to allow new participants to enter the program at designated times. However, most participants continue to attend Targeted training for months to years; there are some members who have been doing Targeted twice a week steadily for three years and they have the strength gains to prove it! The program is designed to be used as a long-term progressive strength training program divided into 8 week cycles.

I have an injury I am rehabilitating from, is Targeted right for me?

Targeted training has worked wonders for many participants with injuries and physical limitations. The small group environment and one on one coaching allow for safe effective strength training for those with some limitations. Personal training may be a better option if you are very restricted by your doctor or physical therapist, or if your goal is a more specific rehabilitation program for a certain body part. But, if you are looking for full body strength training while working around an injury, Targeted is a great option.

Why is there an additional cost for Targeted?

Targeted training fits more in the realm of small group personal training than group classes, and due to the small group size and level of attention it is an excellent value. At less than $20/session it is a fraction of the cost of personal training. You will also have the opportunity to utilize equipment that is not available to group class participants. We encourage you to speak with current Targeted participants and ask them about the value of the program.

Upcoming Targeted Schedule

Targeted Strength Training: Traditional Program

Monday/Wednesday: 8:30-9:30am, 5:30-6:30pm, 7:00-8:00pm

Tuesday/Thursday: 6:30-7:30am, 11:30-12:30pm, 6:00-7:00pm

Introduction to Weight Training (Female only)

Saturday 12:00PM

This class is designed for women who are new to strength training and are interested in learning the fundamentals of the three primary barbell lifts – the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Taught in a supervised and small group of women only, this class will help you find your strength and properly and safely execute the major barbell lifts. No prior weight training experience is required. If you’ve ever been curious about powerlifting and wondered, ‘can I do that?’, then this is the class for you. Come learn how to lift with the camaraderie and support of your fellow strong women! Each class will begin with a warm-up to properly prime your movement patterns and work on mobility prior to lifting. This class will follow a workshop-style – the first half of the class will cover the basic cues, setup, and execution of the lift, and the second half will include a weightlifting circuit incorporating the lift of the week. We will learn the basic movements using kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands, and work our way up to the barbell lifts.

Women’s Intermediate Weight Training

Saturday 11:00AM

This class will cover the fundamentals of the three primary barbell power lifts – the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Taught in a supervised and small group of women only, this class will help you find your strength and properly and safely execute the major barbell lifts. In addition to barbells, this class will use a variety of equipment including kettlebells, dumbbells, cable machines, and resistance bands for a well-rounded full body strength training program. Come discover why so many women are switching up their old gym routines and changing their body composition with barbell training! This class is recommended for those who have some prior weight training experience but are looking to take your experience to the next level, or fine tune your barbell lifting techniques and increase your strength.

Once you have registered, we will email you with instructions to either sign up for Targeted on your own, or set up a one on one consult to discuss the targeted program and figure out if it is the right fit for you.

My Four Lessons of Running 

My Four Lessons of Running

Written by Jamie Cocco

The birds are chirping, the sun is beaming through the trees, and you pass by a cow who stares at you right before you have to convince yourself for the tenth time that there is light at the end of this running tunnel.  Running is not easy!  Whether you are a seasoned runner, have a couple half marathons under your water bottle belt, or have written down on a piece of paper somewhere, you can’t remember where, but are pretty sure it is in the kitchen, that you are going to complete your first 5K this year.  So where do you start, where should you be, or where are you going?

As a certified running coach who is also on a running journey, here are four lessons that I have learned so far:

Meet yourself where you are but push a little further each time.  Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or your middle to someone else’s 15-year journey.  We get stuck in the rut of seeing someone who inspires us or a friend who has been doing it for a while and try to match them.  I catch myself trying to push too far too fast to keep up with more experienced runners.  Running is a marathon, literally and metaphorically.  Some days you just have to drag yourself out of the house and do your best.  When you get to the place where your body pushes back, push a little bit further, and you will get so much out of it.

Gradually increase your distance and speed.  In the past as a runner, I have pushed myself to injury because I am too competitive with myself and progress.  If you are a beginner, go down the street to the nearest stop sign, farm, crossing, 10thmailbox, ding dong truck, or something close enough to be achievable, don’t stop, walking counts, and head back home.  The next time go 10-20% further.  Then the next time go 10-20% further.  That means if you go out for 10 minutes today, then go for 11 minutes on your next run.  It is the small steps in the right direction over a long period of time that make the difference.

Make every third week a recovery week, where you don’t increase distance or speed.  It took me awhile to understand that shifting my focus from always gaining on my run to flexibility, balance, and strength can improve my running.  Our muscles adapt faster then our connective tissue and injuries can occur when we don’t adequate recovery time.  So give your muscle a short vacation, not to Fiji with those fruity drinks and colorful umbrellas in them, more like a relaxed binge watching session of Stranger Things, where you maintain your distance and speed, focus on flexibility through stretching, one of the other focal points to holistic health, and do some myofascial work (foam rolling).

Before, sometimes during, and after running, hydrate.  I have been caught on both ends of the spectrum with dry mouth, wondering if the water station ahead is a mirage or not, and standing in line for a porta potty when I could be running.  It is important to drink a lot of fluids the night before a big run, the day of your every day run, during a long run, and always after a run.  Drink about 16 ounces of water in the 1-2 hour before you run and start to slow down your water consumption to 8 ounces during the final 30 minutes before your run, to avoid bathroom breaks.  Drinking 5-15 ounces for every 15-20 minutes of running is recommended by Runner’s World.  Click here to read more about hydrating from Runner’s World.  More likely than not, if you do a road race, there is going to be a beer waiting for you at the end.  Don’t worry.  I am not telling you to not drink the beer, just drink water slowly first.

Remember, you can do it!  Running is hard, so use these lessons I have larned to make it a little easier for you today.  Please comment and let us know what worked for you.  Thank you for reading my lessons and stories!

Jamie Cocco
UESCA Certified Running Coach (United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy)

Build Muscle and Lose Fat article

Build Muscle and Lose Fat article

By Emily Mailloux

We all want it, right? We’re all after that elusive goal to increase our muscle mass while decreasing our body fat percentage. Changing your body composition can be challenging and requires a lot of hard work and patience, and losing fat while gaining muscle tone is even harder. However, it definitely can be done, if you make sure to follow the guidelines below.

 

While exercise plays an important role in body composition (and we’ll discuss that more in a minute), changing your nutrition will have the biggest effect on your body’s ability to lose fat while simultaneously building muscle.

 

First, increase your protein intake and decrease your carbohydrate intake, particularly those carbs found in processed and sugary foods. For the best body composition results, aim to get 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. Sound like a lot? Start by getting a minimum of 25% of your daily calories from protein, and make sure to space the protein out evenly throughout the day. Shoot for a minimum of 25-30g of protein per meal.

 

Next, make sure you’re eating a lot of good, healthy fats, particularly for breakfast, which will help you feel full for longer. Swap out your carb-heavy breakfast (cereal, granola, pancakes, waffles, scones, etc) for a breakfast high in protein and fats (eggs, avocado, salmon, turkey or chicken sausage, cottage cheese). Save the bulk of your carb-heavy meals for right after your workout, when the body needs to replenish its glycogen stores.

 

Also, make sure you aren’t in too great of a caloric deficit. While it is tempting to drastically cut calories to lose body fat, remember that you can’t grow muscle in a caloric deficit. Instead, keep your calories at a maintenance level but adjust where those calories are coming from by changing your macronutrient ratios as discussed above – increase protein intake, make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats, and decrease carbohydrate consumption.

 

Finally, watch your alcohol consumption, and set a goal to cut down or cut out alcoholic drinks from your diet. Not only is it empty calories with no nutritional benefit, but alcohol also alters your sleep and decreases your body’s ability to recover from your tough workouts. Alcohol also increases cortisol levels, your body’s stress hormone. Prolonged increased levels of cortisol have been linked to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, slowed metabolism, and degradation of muscle mass. Increases in cortisol also cause increases in ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite. This is why the more stressed out we are, the more likely we are to binge on food. Engage in stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or even a walk outside, to keep your body’s cortisol levels in check.

 

Now that you’ve got your nutrition in check, let’s talk about the most effective training to rev up your body to burn fat and build muscle!

 

First, train with short, intense bursts. This includes sprinting (one of the most effective workouts to burn fat quickly) and high intensity interval training (HIIT workouts). You can create your own interval workout pretty simply: choose three exercises (let’s say a goblet squat, a push-up, and a kettlebell swing) and do 30 seconds of each exercise alternated with 30 seconds of rest (30sec squat, 30sec rest, 30sec push-up, 30sec rest, 30sec KB swing, 30sec rest). Repeat this circuit 3 times for a total of only 9 minutes.

 

Another way to train with these intense bursts is to utilize supersets in your training. Superset two opposing movements, for example, an upper body pull (pull-up) with a lower body push (squat), and perform them back-to-back. This helps to keep the intensity of your workout up and minimize rest time, but still allows each muscle group time to rest. Don’t check your phone during these supersets, switch quickly from one to the other to keep that heart rate up!

 

Performing complexes is another excellent method for burning body fat while building muscle definition. Complexes can be performed with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell, and the goal is to complete all exercises within the complex without putting the weight down (for example, a kettlebell clean, squat, and overhead press, repeated 10x, never putting the KB down until the end of the set).

 

Finally, lift heavy and lift often. Strength train at least 3 times a week, and prioritize the big, compound movements that work all the major muscle groups and movement patterns. And don’t forget to take ample time to recover! Take at least 24-48 hours of rest between training the same muscle group so your muscles have time to rest and grow. Sufficient sleep is also crucial to muscle recovery and growth, so aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. When you’re sleep deprived, your body craves glucose (aka sugar) in an attempt to find energy, so you’re more likely to consume more calories, particularly the sugary empty calories, on days when you haven’t gotten enough sleep.

Three Steps to Improve Your Balance

Three Steps to Improve Your Balance

Health & Fitness Specialist, Michael McCarthy

Balance can be tricky. It seldom comes easy and the more it’s neglected, the worse it gets. Whether it’s work/life, relationships, or fitness, the long-term benefits of improving your balance can be life changing. For our purposes, let’s stick with fitness.

When training for balance, let’s start at the root of the matter- feet! Most people have had their feet stuffed in their shoes for 8 or more hours per day, every day, for nearly as long as they’ve been alive. Although necessary in most circumstances, the shoes have essentially created a “crutch” for your feet. The muscles of the feet will likely have atrophied (broken down) and weakened, giving you a much less stable surface to move upon. Now I’m not saying to go burn every pair of shoes you own and to relive your Woodstock experience, but let’s address this sooner than later.

First – take your shoes off and let your toes wiggle. Let them breath and feel the ground beneath them. Our feet are incredible sensory tools and require that stimulation to function optimally. Try this out: while standing, take a tennis or lacrosse ball and place it under one foot. Gently apply pressure on the ball and slowly roll your foot up, down, left and right all over this ball. This is a great way to jump starting your nerves, relieve tension in your feet, and bring in some fresh blood supply.

Second – perform a simple exercise to “root” your feet. After you’ve rolled out your feet, stand tall, abdomen and glutes slightly engaged, with your feet facing forward about shoulder width apart. For this exercise you will focus on the connection to the ground with three parts of your foot: big toe, pinky toe, and heel. Apply pressure into the ground with just those three parts of your foot, hold for 10 seconds, and rest. Doing this exercise regularly can help strengthen the muscles of your feet and improve their neuromuscular response, essentially making them more “awake.”

Third – strength train. Having balance requires total body strength and proprioception. Standing still and training balance is one thing, but what about when we’re in motion? Teaching your body how to move through space is incredibly important and even more important as we age. Our feet have been neglected and need attention, however muscles like the glutes and core are incredibly important as well. To truly make an impact on your balance and quality of life I recommend full-body strength training 2-3 times per week. 50/50 Fitness Nutrition provides a great space to strength train in a supervised and safe environment. Programs such as personal training, Targeted Strength, Yoga, and Pilates are all fantastic options to challenge yourself. I hope to see you there!

Weight lifting is not just for men

Weight lifting is not just for men

Weight Lifting Does Not Have To Be A “Testosterone” Filled Environment Here at 50/50 there are more women strength training now than ever before. The days of only attending aerobics, jogging on treadmills, and lifting pink 3lb dumbbells are long and gone.
 
In general, most women at any age loathes strength training. While about half do the recommended amount of aerobic activity each week, only 20% also do the muscle-strengthening exercises of weight training. Yet the research has concluded the benefits, from bone protection to disease prevention, and it appears to have some special benefits to women.
 
Weight lifting builds muscle and is the only kind of exercise that increases lean muscle mass. And one of the very few ways to make bones denser, a benefit especially important for women of all ages. Over time, bone gets less dense and more brittle and prone to osteoporosis, a condition that affects many women. Women have smaller, thinner bones than men from the start, and after menopause women lose estrogen, a hormone that protects bones. There are a host of other benefits reducing risk factors for several diseases. Weight training increases lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolism making the body more durable against many diseases. Not to mention making it easier to change body composition, for those looking to reduce body fat.

Click here to read about the Importance of Balance Training!

The Importance of Balance Training

The Importance of Balance Training

Written by Personal Training Director, Jay McWilliams

The Two types of Balance

Here at 50/50, April is all about balance… you know a balance of snow showers and spring flowers. Just kidding! Crazy weather aside, we are taking this month to focus on keeping our bodies in balance. While balance is one of our key focal points for a balanced approach to health and wellness, it can be easily overlooked. I want to take some time to discuss why balance is important, and how we can improve our balance. The importance of balance training is paramount.  Two types of balance are essential for achieving functional balance: static and dynamic balance. Static balance refers to the ability to maintain your body in a set position, while dynamic balance describes the ability to remain in control of the body during changing circumstances, utilizing movements to maintain a base of support. Picture static balance as simply standing on one foot, while dynamic balance is surfing on a surf board. Both require proprioception, the ability to know where your body is in space, and strength. Focusing on improving proprioception and strength, particularly core strength, will improve your balance. This becomes increasingly important as we age, as falls due to lack of balance are a common cause of serious injury.

Proprioception Training

Proprioception requires the integration of input from our visual, sensory, and vestibular systems. Working on agility and coordination are great ways to improve your proprioceptive abilities. I encourage you to try a new class that pushes you slightly outside your comfort zone to do this. Great options for improving proprioception are Step and Core or Cardio Kick Boxing. The choreography and movements are fun and challenge your proprioception constantly. Secondly, and just as important is developing strength. As I have stated before, a well-rounded training program includes at least 2-3 days of a full-body strength training routine. Personal training and Targeted training ensure you are receiving this full-body strength programming in a safe and effective way. Pilates and Yoga are also great ways to improve core strength, and will also challenge your balance in other ways. Note, that while Bosu trainers and unstable platforms can be incorporated into a routine, training on these surfaces does not have to be a key part of improving your balance.

I encourage you all to mix up your routine this month.

Challenge your body in new and unexpected ways. Your balance will improve and your future self will thank you!

Do you have enough balance in your life? From cardio to strength to flexibility, nutrition, and everything in between – we’ve got you covered at 50/50. Come on in and speak to a specialist, to get your health and wellness back on track!

Click here to Learn about and Claim your Complimentary Health and Wellness Consult!
http://5050fitnessnutrition.com/functional-fitness/joint-by-joint-approach/

Click here to read our article on The Joint by Joint Approach!

 

 

Joint by Joint Approach

Written by Michael McCarthy – March 27, 2018

Michael working through the Joint by Joint approach with Emily

We all have nagging aches and pains (well at least most of us) that have snuck up on us over time. Sometimes it comes rudely and unexpectedly, like the time my distant cousin drove down from Canada unannounced and stayed with us for a week. Either way, these aches and pains are annoying and sometimes hard to get rid of.

To help get rid of these aches, we need to discover the source of the problem. You might say, “Well that’s obvious. The source is where the pain is coming from.” Now that’s not entirely false, because that is where the source of the pain is, however we need to take a look at the bigger picture.

As Certified Functional Strength Coaches we use a method called the Joint by Joint approach that we geniously stole from the original creator of this method (it’s ok, he steals stuff from people all the time). This approach allows us to gain a better understanding of human movement and function, and the roles that our joints play.

Specific joints have a primary need for either being mobility joints or stability joints. Mobility joints such as the ankle and shoulder require the range of motion to properly propel the body through movement. Stability joints such as the knee and lower back need to be stable to support the structure of their associated parts through movement. When a mobility joint becomes too stiff or a stability joint becomes too mobile, it will send a chain reaction up or down the body to the next joint.

For example, if someone has injured their ankle multiple times and it now has adapted to become very stiff, this joint that is supposed to be mobile has now turned into a more stable joint. This joint now does not function with the range of motion that required, but the body still needs to move through Mike’s Spin and Strength class. To compensate for this lack of mobility, the knee joint on the same leg will start to become more mobile. It will twist and turn to adapt for the lack of mobility in the ankle, which without intervention can lead to long term damage in the knee.

As you can see with this example, there is a bigger picture to our aches and pains. The source of the problem can be coming from either above or below where we feel pain. As fitness professionals it is our main goal to improve the performance of all our clients. We look for compensation through functional movement assessments and monitoring movement patterns in attempt to discover the source. Once identified we develop a plan to improve as much function as we can and keep our clients on the path to achieving their goals.

Click here to read our article on how Cardio Affects your Body

 

 

How does cardio affect your body?

How does cardio affect your body?

Written by Personal Training Director, Jay McWilliams

Step and Core Cardio Class on Mondays

Cardio month continues at 50/50 Fitness Nutrition, and I thought this would be a good time to get down to the nitty gritty of how cardiovascular exercise changes our bodies on a physiological level. I promise, it is actually really cool! We throw around the term cardio all the time: “spinning is great cardio!”, but what does this type of exercise actually do to are cardiovascular system, namely our heart and blood vessels? As we are all well aware, when we exercise our heart rate increases. The body is pumping more blood to our hard-working muscles, and this results in a greater volume of blood returning to our heart per minute. Over time, our heart adapts by enlarging the left ventricle to more efficiently pump this larger volume of blood back to our tissues. These adaptations make our heart more efficient, both while exercising and at rest. One of the results of these changes is a lower resting heart rate. Athletes can have resting heart rates 20-40 beats per minute slower than the average person.

Another cool adaptation of the cardiovascular system to exercise is the creation of new blood vessels. Yes, your body, in some cases, can develop new blood vessels in response to your fitness habits. This is one reason your blood pressure can be reduced by exercise. Along with these changes to your heart and blood vessels, your lungs respond by delivering up to 15 times more oxygen to your tissues during exercise. Just like your heart, over time your respiratory tract adapts to become more efficient. One measure of the efficiency of your lungs is VO2 max. As your fitness level increases, so will your VO2 max. This week, while you are rocking it out in spin class, hiking with your dog up a local mountain, or busting your butt in Tabata, I want you to take a moment to think about all these changes going on in your body. Doing cardio is so much more than burning calories, you are becoming a more efficient pumper of blood and breather of air. Way to go!

Do you have enough balance in your life? From cardio to strength to flexibility, nutrition, and everything in between – we’ve got you covered at 50/50. Come on in and speak to a specialist, to get your health and wellness back on track!  Click the image below to schedule your FREE health and wellness today!

Postural Restoration

Health and Fitness Specialist, Michael McCarthy

We’ve all heard it before – sit up straight, don’t slouch, keep your head up. We’ve been having our posture coached and corrected since we were kids but chances are it didn’t stick (I know I ignored a few of my cues as I sat on the couch watching the Super Bowl for a few hours.) Our professions have become more desk bound and we’re finding our height shrinking, upper backs rounding, shoulders more forward, and lower backs aching as we commute to work or hang over the computer.

Sitting for extended periods can have negative effects in general, but sitting with poor posture will amplify problems. It doesn’t take long for the body to adapt to the position it is being put in. In as little as 30 minutes the muscles will “creep” into the posture that they are put in. Certain muscles will become over active while their counterparts become underactive. Let’s take the example of rounded shoulders:  Sitting in a hunched position for extended periods will cause the pectoral muscles to stay in an internally rotated position, effectively making them overactive. Because they are in a constant state of being active, the scapula muscles adapt and become underactive, leaving the shoulders in a forward position. Without intervention, this posture can lead to kyphosis (rounding) in the spine and the shoulders are at a much higher risk for injury.

Being mindful of how you sit or stand is a great way to stay on top of your posture. However being mindful alone will not repeal the adaption that has taken place. A recipe for success, in addition to being mindful, is releasing the overactive muscles and strengthening the underactive muscles by means of soft tissue work and strength training. Having a massage or myofascial therapist is a great way to help release that tension. Another option is to use a tool like a foam roller or lacrosse ball on the soft tissues. Not only is it an affordable and effective way to relieve tension on the overactive muscles – it also helps introduce additional blood flow to the underactive muscles to help get them moving.

When choosing an exercise to target a specific element of posture, choose an exercise that is opposite of the action that is taking place. Staying with the example of rounded shoulders, I would choose an exercise that externally rotates my shoulder, such as a cable row, because it is the opposite of the internal rotation that is caused by the pectorals. Start small and progress slowly. The underactive muscles need to relearn their job and doing too much too soon can result in an injury. Combing deliberate and consistent strength training with consistent and deliberate soft tissue work, over time, will work wonders for your posture.

The Importance of Pre and Post Exercise Nutrition

Here at 50/50, our members take their exercise seriously. Between spin classes, bootcamp-style group fitness, strength training, and training for 5Ks and triathlons, our members definitely know how to stay active. However, how often do you stop and think about how you are fueling these workouts? Are you getting adequate pre- and post-workout nutrition? Are you eating enough calories to sustain your energy through your weekly workouts?

First, with nutrition as with exercise, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind. If you’re looking to lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit, meaning you are burning more calories than you’re consuming. However, it’s important that this caloric deficit isn’t too large, or it will have negative impacts on your energy levels, training results, recovery, and metabolism. If you’re trying to build lean muscle or gain overall size, you need to be in a caloric surplus. If your goal is to lose body fat while building muscle, eating at a maintenance calorie level while adjusting your protein, fat, and carb levels can help you attain this goal. If you’re training for a marathon or other endurance event, it is imperative that you take in enough calories, particularly carbohydrates, to fuel your long training runs. The moral of the story – the outcome goal matters.

It’s also very important to eat the right foods before and after your workouts to maximize your results. How many times have you had a workout that didn’t quite feel like your best effort? Maybe you felt a little lightheaded or sluggish, or maybe you experienced muscle cramps during the workout. Your nutrition plays a huge role in all of these! It’s important to ingest a small meal or snack 1-2 hours before your workout to ensure you have enough energy to complete the workout. You should eat something that will sustain your energy, improve your performance, help you recover quickly, and hydrate your body. Signs that you haven’t had enough to eat before your workout include lightheadedness, dizziness, and slow recovery. Eating protein in the few hours prior to your workout will boost your muscle-building capabilities, help you recover faster from workouts, and provide sustained energy. Ingesting carbs before a workout, such as a piece of fruit, will enhance your energy, particularly for high-intensity or longer endurance-type workouts.

Finally, what you eat post-workout also plays a huge role in your ability to recover and bounce back for your next workout session. It is also important in achieving the goals you set out to accomplish during your training sessions. Post-workout nutrition should help you rehydrate, recover and refuel, build muscle, and improve your future performance. Most importantly, eat a meal high in protein right after exercise to prevent the breakdown of proteins in your bloodstream and stimulate protein synthesis, which leads to increases in muscle tissue. Eating protein post-workout will also help alleviate some of the delayed-onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) that you may feel after a particularly challenging workout. Second, your body tolerates and processes carbohydrates most efficiently in the 3-hour window post-workout, so this is your best window to eat your starchier carbs. Eating carbs after exercise will replenish your glycogen stores, which have been spent during your workout, and will also improve your ability to bounce back and come back stronger for your next workout. And last but not least, staying hydrated and drinking sufficient water before, during, and after all your workouts is one of the most important steps you can take to properly fuel your body and achieve the results you’re looking for.

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