What You Need to Know About Optimal Nutrient Timing | QA

What You Need to Know About Optimal Nutrient Timing | QA

Question:

I usually work out at 6 or 7 am and I want to know if it’s better to eat breakfast before or after working out. If it’s after what should I eat before working out? Thank you for your help

– Santiago C.

Answer:

Optimal eating before and after a workout is all relative to the type and extent of your morning training. Some research points to greater fat burning performing cardio in a fasted state. Yet everyone seems to have a different eating schedule that works for them. Do you feel energized by a light breakfast ahead before working out or does it leave you feeling dull? Are you ravenous after working out or do you not register any hunger then?

BEFORE (approx. 30 minutes prior)

Since you don’t have the 3-4 hours ahead of time for a full meal, you can focus on a quick energy boost to restore glycogen and prime blood sugar for working muscles. If you don’t tolerate food well first thing in the morning, choose a simple carbohydrate source such as a cup of applesauce or single serving of graham crackers/pretzels with a cup of water. Move up to a mini meal of one egg plus a slice of bread and glass of milk if you feel better with solids in your system. You can also blend up a breakfast smoothie with Greek or skyr yogurt, cracked flaxseed, berries and banana.

DURING

Don’t forget about the opportunity to consume some nutrition during physical activity. For an intense exercise bout that lasts at least an hour you may consider sipping on a glucose-electrolyte beverage, aka traditional sports drink. These provide simple sugars for energy and potassium and sodium for muscle contractions and nerve impulse stimulation, as well as hydration for temperature regulation and nutrient processing.

AFTER (within 30 minutes following)

Immediately you can eat a granola-type bar you’ve packed in your locker bag or grab a protein shake from the juice bar to start off your recovery. This time is critical to nourishing your body for the whole day. Now’s the time for a heartier meal (e.g. oatmeal, lean turkey sausage and grapefruit) or a healthy breakfast wrap of eggs, spinach, feta, salsa and wheat tortilla. Choose foods with some protein and complex carbohydrate – a little fat is okay, too!

– 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.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Introduce Teens to Healthy Eating Habits | QA

Introduce Teens to Healthy Eating Habits | QA

Question:

Good morning,

I have a question about how to introduce my daughter to a better way to eat. She is 17 but loves to eat junk food, no veggies. I think the way she eats is affecting her ability to concentrate and perform in school.

Please help.

– María G.

Answer:

I’m glad you said ‘introduce’ instead of lecture, tell, instruct, etc. Teenagers seem to hardly listen to their parents, let alone experts, regarding self-care choices. Communication experts suggest giving praise for good decisions. Another approach is to discuss how food industry marketing overtly influences their food choices. Perhaps start a conversation by asking her what factors she thinks are impacting her school performance – then listen and act on those first.

Although I’ve a handful of websites* to suggest she visit (assuming she bothers to read them), most teens are influenced by their peers and social media. Sigh. Role modeling a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do as a parent, letting you “teach by example.” Behaviors and choices surrounding a nutritious diet, adequate sleep and routine exercise should be a family undertaking. That includes siblings and other adults in the home too! 

Tips

  • Involve her in planning the menu, choosing recipes and creating grocery shopping lists.
  • Offer to shop for something she is willing to cook herself.
  • Keep ready-to-eat versions of fruits and vegetables readily accessible in the kitchen.
  • Limit the junk food purchased and brought into the home so it’s not available.
  • Get her active in hands-on vegetable gardening.
  • Eat together as a family.
  • Limit exposure to commercial television and don’t eat in front of the TV.

Recommended Sites:

– 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.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

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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Fish Oil Absorption and Timing | QA

Fish Oil Absorption and Timing | QA

Question:

If fish oil is taken in the morning, how soon afterwards can a fiber supplement be taken without absorbing the fish oil?

– Gary J.

Answer:

My, my, someone is thinking ahead and looking to get the most bang for their supplement bucks! Shouldn’t we all? Seems that you’ve implied fiber absorbs fat present in the gut. …And you’d be right! Soluble fiber is known for binding with liver-created cholesterol (put out via bile secretion) and passing it through the gut. Fiber supplements usually contain psyllium, providing 5-10 grams soluble fiber per serving.

Now, to answer your question we would need to know the clearance time of a fish oil supplement. Hmm. That would depend on whether it’s straight oil, an emulsified liquid form, or a capsule. Whether food or beverage is also being consumed at the same time makes a difference. Therefore, I could not accurately say how long that process takes from mouth to large intestine.

The soundest advice would be to consume your fish oil and fiber supplement hours apart to prevent any interplay affecting digestion or absorption.

– 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.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

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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What are BCAAs and How Do They Help My Workout? | QA

What are BCAAs and How Do They Help My Workout? | QA

Question:

Hi there, I work out at the Richmond Hill LA Fitness location. I was wondering if you could tell me about BCAA powders… what are the benefits of consuming these during workouts? Also, many of them contain Taurine which I heard is harmful. Is that true?

Thanks in advance!!

– Josh M.

Answer:

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) required for creating new muscle, along with the other six essential and eleven non-essential amino acids. Muscle protein constantly turns over, meaning that protein breakdown is occurring simultaneous to protein synthesis.1

Supplemental BCAAs may reduce the amount of protein breakdown and notably leucine signals the synthesis process. However, this doesn’t necessarily equate to direct muscle building or growth, termed “anabolism.” Most studies compared BCAAs to taking non-protein placebo.

It’s important to note that the availability of the other essential amino acids can limit synthesis1, thus BCAAs don’t act alone. Due to the nature of protein construction, complete protein strands (found in solid food) contain not only BCAAs but other amino acids. Not surprisingly, research including whole proteins post-workout show similar gains in muscle protein synthesis2.

In summary, it makes sense to eat full proteins (such as whey, casein or soy) with additional BCAAs rather than ingest BCAAs exclusively to promote anabolism.

Supplemental BCAA powders generally offer 5 grams BCAA per serving, while capsules may offer as little as 1.5 grams BCAA. In regards to the amino acid taurine, I advise limiting supplemental intake to 3000 mg (3gm) daily, consistent with research3. That level is not likely to be found in strictly BCAA supplements but may be found in pre-workout formulas with other compounds.

Resources:

– 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.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

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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Super Snacking Guide

Super Snacking Guide

Solutions to 7 Sticky Snacking Situations

Snacks can easily be something to grab-n-go! Whether you invest a little effort to prep snacks ahead of time or purchase one of the many available options at the grocery store, a quick snack “helps bridge the gap between meals,” as Kimberlain puts it.

It used to be that eating between meals was a “no-no.” Snack food was often equated with junk food. But no more! Eating healthy snacks in between meals can give you an energy boost, keep you satisfied and help prevent overeating at meals. The right snacks can add fiber and nutrients to your day without an abundance of calories.  

Many people know this but still end up stretched thin and starving by the next meal or dragged down by fat and calories. Why? Several obstacles can stand in the way of snacking smart. We dug in with the help of Amy Kimberlain, RD, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Miami, Florida, to find solutions for seven common snack problems. 

Follow These 7 Solutions

01.

NO PREP TIME

Snacks can easily be something to grab-n-go! Whether you invest a little effort to prep snacks ahead of time or purchase one of the many available options at the grocery store, a quick snack “helps bridge the gap between meals,” as Kimberlain puts it. She suggests protein packs, nuts pre-portioned with dried fruit or simply a banana or apple. An individual tuna salad kit complete with crackers is another quick option. Even a package of peanut butter sandwich crackers or small 1.5 ounce energy bar works. 

02.

DIETING

If you think you need to avoid snacking to curb overall intake, think again. Kimberlain comments that “going too long without eating may sometimes lead to overeating.” Crunchy fruit or vegetables provide bulk with fewer calories, such as fresh fruit bowl, celery sticksbaby carrots, sliced cucumbers, mini bell peppers, and sugar snap peasThose are light enough to combine with a couple tablespoons yogurt dip or hummus. Items under 150 calories like these Avocado Turkey Roll Ups and Strawberry Coconut Energy Bites, as well as low-sodium V8® juice, also serve for calorie-controlled snacking. 

03.

CARDIAC DIET

Sensible snack choices can be part of a heart-healthy diet!Low-saturated fat foods that have moderate protein or high fiber will satisfy between meals. Pick items with 2 or more grams of fiber per serving. Functional foods that include omega-3 fatty acids or calcium + vitamin D are also heart-smart. Our top recommendations include grapes & almondspeach & nonfat cottage cheese, and a whole-wheat waffle with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter and a few berries. Create your own 3-ingredient trail mix with cup pretzels or dry cereal, 1/4 cup raisins or other small dried fruitand 1/4 cup cashews or pistachios; makes 4 servings. 

04.

ATTACK OF THE MUNCHIES

Having a salty, crunchy snack craving can lead you tgrab a notsohealthy treat. Goodbye chips — Kimberlain states, “There are several savory foods you can purchase ahead of time and portion out at home to meet your salt cravings. This way you can grab a healthy snack to take to work, instead of grabbing something salty from the vending machine. Find a microwave low-sodium popcorn in single-serve (usually 100 calorie) bags. Try seasoned roasted chickpeasdry roasted seaweed sheets or freeze dried crunchy veggies.  Aim for 200 mg or less total sodium per snack. 

05.

MEALTIME MISHAP

When you’ve missed a meal or are running a couple hours behind, cramming in a full meal before yet another one later may do more harm than good. Mini-meals that are filling yet calorie-controlled resolve this situation. Here are some of our favorites… Half quesadilla: whole wheat tortilla with a slice of reduced fat cheese, leaves of spinach and a spoonful of salsa, folded and pan warmedMini pizza: grain bagel half topped with marinara sauce and shredded low fat cheese, broiled until cheese is melted. Potato bitessplit 4 creamer potatoes, scored and microwaved open-faced with broccoli bits, then topped with nonfat cottage cheese and squirt of hot sauce  

How to avoid bad snack temptations at work 

06.

DESSERT DOWNFALL

Instead of giving in to your sweet tooth’s urge for a dessert, consider healthy alternatives. Kimberlain says, “While it’s OK to indulge your cravings every now and then, there are healthier options out there that will help satisfy these cravings.” Try a slice of cinnamon toast or a few graham crackers instead of rich baked goods. Opt for flavored yogurt instead of ice cream or pudding. For a fruitier flavor, pop berries into your mouth for sweetness with each bite or mix diced apples with a couple spoonfuls light whipped cream and walnuts. 

07.

NUT-FREE AND VEGETARIAN

There’s more to snacks than carb-loaded starches like pretzels for vegetarians who also need to avoid nuts. Protein helps you feel fuller longer, and meat-free protein sources are no exception. Kimberlain shares that “there are plenty of quick, nut-free snack options that pack lots of protein. Her top suggestions are edamame, hard-boiled egg, hummus (or other bean dips)and cheese with fruit. A high protein skyr or Greek yogurt with granola is another good option, as is a sunflower seed butter + sliced bananatopped English muffin half. 

Smart Snacking Tips

  • Plan ahead. Kimberlain encourages, “Snacks don’t have to take a lot of time – and by having a few snacks ready-to-go you’ll set yourself up to have healthy options accessible.”
  • Keep a supply of shelf-stable healthy snacks in your office or car to prevent last minute trips to the vending machine or drive-thru.
  • Focus on plant foods and fresh produce. Stock the fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables, washed, pre-cut, and ready to grab.
  • Remember, a snack is meant to tide you over between meals, so keep portions small – no larger than the size of your fist.
  • Limit pre-packaged snacks containing more than one serving per package and divide bulk foods into individual portions ahead of time.
  • In general, keep snacks under 250 Calories for men and under 200 Calories for women.
  • For snack satisfaction that keeps hunger at bay, try combining a complex carbohydrate with protein.
  • Foods that provide varying textures (crunchy, soft) and flavors (sweet, savory) are more appealing and hold your taste interest.

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