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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Approach Your Workout Like An Athlete At Practice

Approach Your Workout Like An Athlete At Practice

When a championship or trophy is on the line, every opportunity for an athlete to practice makes a difference. The same is true of exercise sessions in preparation toward achieving a physical goal. Too many people run through their workout just to check it off as done instead of utilizing the workout to its full potential. Instead, treat the session like elite athletes do – as a rehearsal for the biggest physical performance they’ll do that season.

“Make each day your masterpiece“ – John Wooden

Effort, drive and determination are often attributes associated with athletes pushing through tough practices. Hence, the “no pain, no gain” exercise motto. But enthusiasm, purpose and intense focus may be just as important for progress1. For successful workouts, having a positive attitude, a goal for that session and focused attention are key.

Three Key Factors You Need

01.

Enthusiasm is a cornerstone of the late basketball coach John Wooden’s famous Pyramid of Success2. He described enthusiasm as that “which infuses hard work with inspired power.” Without the passion and joy for what you are doing, you can easily slip into worker bee mode to get your workout over with. Enthusiasm is a spark that ignites the willingness to proceed. It’s characterized by feelings of excitement and high levels of enjoyment3. If you’re not loving what you are doing, find another way of doing it or switch up your workouts.

02.

Purpose Personal meaning powers action – it’s caring enough about what you’re doing. Finding your purpose goes beyond the outcome you seek, but the “why” you are striving for it to begin with. Putting your personal values as top priority can lead you to perform better4. Nothing else can take precedent during your exercise session. Purpose is supported by the belief that you are responsible for your own success. Having an identified purpose helps you overcome pressure and stress and to bounce back from losses.

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.“ – Bruce Lee

03.

Intense Focus With digital distractions it’s easy for one’s mind to wander off course. Sport psychologists say that being in the moment is crucial for effective practice5. Worry about what you can execute in the present instead of dwelling on the past. Pay greater attention to the action you’re doing instead of smartphone alerts, the environment around you or thoughts of the outcome. Whereas you might get away with reading while doing some low-intensity steady-state cardio, strength-training requires focus6.

Definition: Practice is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement.

All that is not to say that the treadmill setting or weights have to be different or more than your last workout. On the contrary, repetition with good form allows you to improve on quantity or speed later. The TED-Ed video entitled “How to practice effectively…for just about anything” by Annie Bosler and Don Greene has an expanded explanation for the reasons why repeated practice works — one of them is neural processing. You actually create the neural pathway to do an action unconsciously by repeating it until the action becomes reflexive.

Treating your workout like a household chore to get done will likely make the session, well, …a chore. Consider each exercise session a rehearsal – a chance to fix mistakes and move forward toward a winning performance, even if you are the only audience. Embrace what you’re doing, make your purpose a priority and narrow your attention to your present action.

References

  1. Developing the Practice Intensity Habit by Larry Lauer, PhD, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University. AppliedSportPsych.org Accessed July 11, 2019
  2. Accessed July 11, 2019
  3. Athlete Engagement in Elite Sport: An Exploratory Investigation of Antecedents and Consequences. K Hodge, C Lonsdale, SA Jackson. The Sport Psychologist, Dec. 2009, 23(4): 186-202
  4. Purpose Based Identity: Why The Right Mindset Will Determine Your Athletic Success, With Sports Psychologist Ben Houltberg. https://www.hopesports.org/purpose-based-identity/ Accessed July 18, 2019
  5. Sports: Focus Control by Jim Taylor, PhD, www.PscyhologyToday.com Posted Sept. 3, 2010. Accessed July 11, 2019
  6. 11 Things I Learned From 20 Years Of Lifting By Dean Somerset. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19547707/lifting-lessons/ Posted Sept. 16, 2015. Accessed July 18, 2019.

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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