What are the Best Foods to Eat Before & After a Workout? | Q+A

What are the Best Foods to Eat Before & After a Workout? | Q+A

 

Question:

I was wondering what are the best foods to eat before and after a workout. Also, is it bad if you work out late at night consistently (10 PM- Midnight)?

-Jesus S.

 

 

Answer:

Working out late at night is not a bad way to get your exercise if you get adequate restful sleep. Optimal eating before and after a workout is all relative to the timing, quantity and quality of the rest of your meals. After a complete meal one might not feel ready to work out for 2-3 hours, after the food has mostly emptied the stomach. If one hasn’t eaten in over 4 hours, a quick snack before working out is needed for best performance. Let’s suppose a couple of scenarios to answer your first question…

 

 

6 pm evening workout, before 7:30 dinner:

Hitting the gym after work usually means on an empty stomach if lunch was at noon or 1 pm. The fix is a 4-5 pm snack containing protein and complex carbohydrates of approx. 200-300 calories, depending on your goals. There are several options that suit these needs:

Apple + string cheese

2 oz. protein/energy bar (such as Rise®, Builder’s®, Larabar ALT, Macrobar, Detour SimpleTM,  Balance® to name a few)

Half a homemade turkey sandwich

Fruited Greek yogurt cup + 2 graham cracker squares

1 cup cooked soybeans

After this workout you’d need to eat dinner right away (within 30 minutes). If there will be a delay, have a small recovery drink or a single-serve package of chocolate milk before you leave the locker room.

 

10 pm evening workout, after 7 pm dinner:

Letting your dinner settle before exercise is important not only for gut comfort, but also to allow the nutrients to fully get to your muscles. A pre-workout snack is not needed. If you feel a little depleted, perhaps an energy sports drink will perk you up. After your workout you don’t need much before bed, but enough to encourage muscle repletion and growth. Consider one of these options:

Bowl of hearty soup

1 cup mixed cottage cheese & fruit

Handful of baked pita chips + hummus to dip

1-2 hard boiled eggs + a soft pretzel

Read our previous answer to eating for late night exercise by clicking here.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Commit to Fit | Member Spotlights

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Goals, Commitments, Community

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What’s the Best Way to Calculate One’s BMR? | Q+A

What’s the Best Way to Calculate One’s BMR? | Q+A

 

Question:

Is there a more sophisticated equation used to calculate one’s BMR? Or is it only weight/height?

-Matt O. 

 

Answer:

In fact, there are! Most equations include gender and age in addition to height and weight.

“Basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy that is required to maintain basic body functions such as heartbeat, breathing and maintenance of body heat while you are asleep.”

One of the most popular equations to calculate an adult’s basal metabolic rate is the Harris-Benedict, which is as follows:

  • * Women: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.68 x age in years)
  • * Men: 66.5 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.78 x age in years)

Used often in the medical and weight loss fields because of its accuracy, and recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the Mifflin St. Jeor for resting (awake/alert) metabolic rate:

  • * Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161
  • * Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5

As any equation is actually an estimation of your needs, you might want to try both and obtain a range that your true BMR probably falls within. Neither of the above take into consideration lean mass versus fat mass, so they aren’t practical for extremely muscled or morbidly obese individuals. For teens, the Schofield method (previously used by the World Health Organization and the US government to formulate the RDAs) has different equations for various age groups.

Measurements of metabolism are usually only done in research laboratory settings but might be conducted by endocrinology specialists. If you are sustaining your weight by eating fewer than 1200 calories per day, you should see your primary care physician.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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What Should I Eat While Training for Running? | Q+A

What Should I Eat While Training for Running? | Q+A

Need some advice for training specifically for running?

See what kind of foods may help with your running. No matter if you are training for a marathon or just want to run for fun!

 

Question:

I am by no means an apex athlete or anything.  However, I would like to start to train for an 8k run next March.  I currently do workout with a trainer at the Mt. Prospect Club (who’s awesome by the way).  Can you recommend an eating plan or point me to some resources to help me make the best decision when it comes to nutrition and my training?  Thanks in advance for your time.

-Robert T.

Answer:

Bravo on planning well ahead of time, Robert.  Let’s say that someone starting out jogs at 12-15 minutes per mile.  Your total jog time also depends on how far your current distance is. Conservatively, let’s say that it’s 2 miles. So perhaps you’re moving 24-30 minutes now.  By March, you’d like to be running faster 10-12 minute miles to complete the 8K (5 mile) race in about an hour. Given the time and energy expended, your training diet will not be much different than that for your current workouts with your trainer, but may be comprised of more carbohydrate and ample fluids.

breakfast

Your initial nutrition plan should be to support your in-gym training & short runs, and to experiment with what foods your gut can tolerate prior to a morning race. Pre-workout nutrition is key so you have the fuel you need to complete an exercise session without feeling drained. Read more about fueling up by clicking here. A bowl of cold cereal with milk might sit well for some individuals but be too slushy for others. An egg white, half an English muffin and half a banana may be all that you need after you wake up to have a successful workout an hour later. Now is the time to try whatever smoothies, protein shakes or bars you might like.

By January, you’ll want to shift your focus to eliminating heavy fats and big meals that make you sluggish, as well as cutting back on alcohol, desserts, and late evening eating. Your muscle cells will be in full training mode to become more efficient aerobically, and they’ll need lots of nutritional support. Balanced lunch and dinner meals mean a plate with 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 starch (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.), 1/4 lean protein (poultry, fish, lean meats) and a tablespoon of healthy plant fat. Picture a big bowl of shrimp and vegetables stir-fried in oil with just one scoop of rice on the side. For heartier breakfasts on non-run days, you can pick a starch, protein, fruit and milk product such as oatmeal with raisins, nuts and low fat milk. Add a glass of water to your daily fluid intake.

For the few weeks preceding the race, it’s all about ready fuel and recovery as you will probably be running more often and for longer. Read more about recovery nutrition by clicking here. Having adequate glycogen stores will give you sustained energy beyond the blood sugar derived from your most recent meal. The key to muscle glycogen is complex carbohydrate intake, not just before a run, but daily at each meal. Picture the meal balance described in the last paragraph with whole grains, beans, or corn. Then add starch such as pretzels or popcorn at snacks, washed down with another additional glass of water.

You can also read the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics article “Beginners Guide to Running Your Personal Best” by clicking here.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Ask our Dietitian

QA_icon

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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