Before and after any exercise it is highly important that you eat the right things, not only get optimal performance out of your body and mind, but also make sure that your being kind to your body and giving it the nutrients it needs. You would not run your car without petrol so don’t run your body without food.
Avoid at all costs to exercise without eating as this is the worst thing you can do – training on an empty stomach means that your body goes into a mode known as “catabolic”, whereas it eats into it’s own muscle stores to sustain it self whilst training, thus seriously diminishing the return the participant is likely to get from the exercise session it self.
Lean muscle is as vital a part of Yoga for skeletal integrity as it is for an Olympic athlete in their respective event. By adhering to the following simple nutritional guidelines you will not only be able to fuel your body for a demanding workout, you’ll also find that you can increase the amount of lean tissue in your body thus reducing overall levels of body fat whilst also leading to enhanced strength, and subsequently balance and overall muscular synergy.
- Ideal for muscle growth and recovery pack in as much protein as you possibly can.
- Protein shakes
- Foods in the legume family are good sources of vegetarian protein such as alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans and peanuts.
Carbohydrates are a fantastic addition to any meal when used to fuel the body first thing in the morning, in the two-hour window before training and during the two-hour window after training.
They have long had a bad reputation in the health and fitness sector largely due to mis-use of the UNHEALTHY carbohydrate types when in actual fact, healthy carbohydrates are a staple part of a balanced eating plan. They are split into two types, known as refined and unrefined carbohydrates.
The simple principle is that the refined variety are man made and often digest so fast within our digestive system that they contain too much energy for our body to access in one sitting, where un-refined types digest at a much slower rate meaning the energy they contain can be accessed over a controlled period and energy levels are sustained instead of shooting up then rapidly dropping.
These are the carbohydrate types you should look out for when constructing healthy meals in conjunction with a healthy protein and fat source:
- Rye bread
- Whole-wheat spaghetti
- ANY type of dry bean or pulse
- Any type of berry
- Long grain brown rice
- Red split lentils
If you want to guarantee safety, simply check something known as the GI scale – this measures the digestion rate of carbohydrate food types. The lower on the scale the food is from around the 60 mark and below, the slower it digests – eat everything above that level in moderation.
Glycogen (our body creates glycogen when any carbohydrate we have eaten goes through the digestion process) is actually our brains primary fuel source – no carbohydrates means diminished mental functionality including terrible mood swings and feelings of depression, lethargy and a general sense of emptiness.
Much like carbohydrates, fat has gained an ill-placed reputation for being an unhealthy artery clogging substance that only damages our health and needs to be avoided at all costs.
This isn’t strictly true, now SOME fats are indeed terrible for our health and should be avoided at all costs, but the truth is that fat is utterly essential…If it’s the right type.
Fat actually plays a vital part in the formation of our immune and nervous system – if we don’t get enough of the right fat types in, we SERIOUSLY risk making ourselves chronically ill.
The effects of a low fat intake don’t just stop there either, whether it’s your nails, complexion, hair or even vision – you’d be amazed at how badly you can harm yourself if you don’t ingest healthy fatty acids as part of your eating regime.
UN healthy fats are also known as trans fats – trans fats can be found in pastries, cakes most processed food and the vast majority of ready made baked goods.
Trans fats are the prime reason fat has been given such a bad name in general (in conjunction with an incredibly higher than normal intake of saturated animal fat) – it is literally useless for your body, and when studied at a molecular level is actually one molecule away from being plastic.
That’s right – your body doesn’t know the difference between trans fat and plastic and can’t use it for any practical purpose…so if it isn’t being digested, where IS it going? And more importantly, what’s it doing to you? Check out these healthy fat types and include them in your diet regularly:
- Nuts of all varieties
- Oily fish
Healthy fats also increase your cholesterol – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
There are two cholesterol types – LDL and HDL. When we get our cholesterol checked we can often be told we have high cholesterol, but we are often not told which one we are high in.
There IS a massive difference – LDL is unhealthy whereas HDL is healthy, and the above food types increase our HDL count. You can have “high” cholesterol but actually be healthy, as long as it’s not the LDL variety.
Basing your meals on all of these food types will ensure that you are helping to not only fuel but also improve your body as part of a regular exercise program. Every meal should contain a healthy protein and fat source in moderation (according to the daily calorie intake relating to your height, weight and age) – the majority of your carbohydrates should be consumed at breakfast within the first half an hour of waking up, the two hour window before exercise and the two hour window after exercise for the best results and to ensure unwanted storage of body fat.
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