Thursday, March 26, 2009

What to Eat Before a Workout. To Eat, or Not to Eat... That is the Question.

I am about to embark on a very controversial subject here. It seems like everything I read had a different opinion.

The question I’m going to answer is: Do I eat before a workout?

The answer is Yes and No. I know that’s not the answer you wanted, but there are a lot of factors that go into it. For example, if you workout right after you wake up in the morning, hydrate you body with a glass of water and go workout without eating. Now I only recommend doing this is you’re only doing cardio, because when you add weights it’s a whole new ballgame!

You will need energy when weight lifting and if you’re not supplying your body with the fuel (food) that it needs then you’re not going to reach your optimum level in which you can push your body out of that comfort zone. Also, you can’t wait too long between waking up and working about because this sends your body into what I call starvation mode. A lot of people think that they will burn more fat if they just skip the meal prior to working out, and that just isn’t the case. Our bodies store fat for a reason – a reason of survival. It is very reluctant to let go of those fat stores (especially if you haven’t eaten in over 8 hours), so it first gets its fuel from our muscle which is the best form of protein. Yep, that’s right, our body will burn our muscles before it burns fat – and this is NOT what we want to happen when we’re trying to get fit and healthy!

If you workout in the afternoons eat something light 2-3 hours prior to working out that’s mainly good carbohydrates with a little protein & fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel and they are digested the quickest. Protein, fat, and fiber all linger in the stomach a little longer, so if you eat a meal high in these things then you need to wait around 4-5 hours to workout. If you do workout on a full stomach the body’s energy goes to focusing on digesting the food you just ate instead of focusing on the muscles that you are working out. Which honestly defeats the purpose, right???

They say if you choose to go to the gym and are feeling very hungry prior – just grab a piece of fruit. Fruit tends to leave the digestive track around 30 minutes. So it’s the perfect snack to eat right before hand.

So the question of “Do I eat before I workout?” Should actually be, “If I eat prior to working out, what is the best food to fuel my body?”

As for eating after a workout, it’s important to eat within an hour. This meal should be equaled with good carbs and protein. The protein is especially important and here’s why.

When you weight train or do any kind of resistance training you are breaking/tearing down your muscle so that it can build itself back up even bigger and better. Upon doing this you need to feed it protein which is the muscles source of fuel that helps to rebuild and repair it.

This is by no means what you “have” to do. Everyone’s body is different, so I recommend eating “light” right before working out. Do what fits right for your daily routine, but at the same time make it so that it gives you the best benefits of your workout! After all your working out for a good reason!

Next week I plan on following up this post with "What" to eat before a work out. I know that I briefed over it, but this time I can give some good examples as to what to fuel your body with! See you all next week!


Don't forget to go check out Sandy at God Speaks Today. It's her Fitness Friday post and she always has great info. She also links to another blogger who talks about healthy hearts.


If you're looking for the Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge, my post is directly below this!

Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge Week 6

Those of you who are still in this (which I'm not quite sure about some of them on my blog roll) - can I just say how proud I am of you all for making it half way!!! Keep up the good work and hang in there. 6 more weeks to go!

As I told you all before I had family in town for 2 weeks straight. Don't get me wrong, I am ALL about family time. But again, it's really hard to eat healthy all the time. I was scared to death of what the scale was going to do even though I was still able to get my workouts in. I was even able to talk my wonderful sister in law Dani into going to Zumba class with me! Spinning she would not do, but Zumba she did! And she loved it (except for the song where we did squats throught the whole thing).

Anyway, me being my paranoid self got on the scale everyday since Sunday. I have only been trying to get on the scale 2-3 times a week at most! But all week long I saw 131, 132, 131, 132. Hey - I have to say that I'm alright with this being that I had cake, chips (which I NEVER eat), cookies, cake balls, wine, and on and on!!! Just the other night my husband said, "You never do this to your body, it needed a good shocking!" I'm hoping that's what it did - I would LOVE just to see 130!

Here is my workout schedule this week:
Sunday: Ran 3 miles (burned 500 calories)
Monday: 1 hr Zumba class (burned 700 calories)
Tuesday: Off day
Wednesday: 1 hr spinning class (850 calories)
Thursday: 1 hr spinning class (1000 calories) It was all up-hills and sprints - killer!
Friday: I plan on working out with my best friend (cardio and weights)

So How did you all do??? Don't forget to leave me a comment so I can go take a look and see how you weeks went.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The 5 Heart Zones

I’m beginning this post by talking about my wonderful husband. A few weeks ago we were talking in the car and he said, “For the people who really don’t know you I look like a bad husband when it comes to giving gifts.” And my immediate response was, “why in the world would they think that?!?” Here is his gift “track” record:

Birthday: Treadmill
Christmas: Biggest Loser DVD, running shoes
Birthday: The Ultimate Push-up set
Christmas: Running shoes & workout clothes
Birthday: Timex Personal Heart Zones Monitor, Acai Berry drink mix, Protein drink mix

After I thought about it for awhile, I just laughed out loud. He knows me SO well, better than I even know myself. But he’s right, for anyone who doesn’t know me it looks like he’s trying to get some kind of point across!

As for the latest gift he got me – the Timex Personal Heart Zone Monitor – I completely love it! When I first started my cycling classes, they would say stuff like “I want you at 65% of your max heart rate.” Or “I want you at the top of Zone 3.” I was completely clueless until I got this monitor and read the little booklet that came with it. It discussed the 5 different heart zones. So, I got even more curious and did a little research on them.

First of all I want to start off by telling you to find out what your Maximum heart rate is. There are different ways of doing this, but here are two that I found to be the easiest. Please keep in mind that these are just estimates.

220 – (Your Age) = Maximum Heart Rate

New Mathematical Formula Age/Weight Predicted Maximum Heart Rate:

Males: 210 minus 1/2 your age minus 5% of your body weight + 4
Females: 210 minus - 1/2 your age minus 1% of your body weight + 0

*A few tips about Max HR which you may be curious about. It's altitude sensitive and increases as you go higher and it also is affected by drugs such as beta blocks and even antihistamines. It cannot be increased by training and a high Max HR does not predict better performance.

Once you know your maximum heart rate than you can figure out each heart rate zone.

Heart Zones:

Healthy Heart Zone (Zone 1): 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, can carry a full conversation, less intense & won’t give you the best cardiovascular training benefits, in this zone the body derives its energy by burning 10% carbohydrates, 5% protein, and 85% fat.

Fitness Zone (Zone 2): 60-70% of maximum heart rate, should still be able to speak in short sentences, a little more intense then Zone 1, the body derives its energy by burning 10% carbs, 5% protein, 85% fat.

Aerobic Zone (Zone 3): 70-80% of maximum heart rate, should only be able to speak short phrases, use this zone for endurance training, body gets its fuel by using 50% carbs, 50% from fat, and less than 1% of protein.

Anaerobic Zone / Threshold Zone (Zone 4): 80-90% of maximum heart rate, should only be able to speak one word, gasp, another word, improves the amount of oxygen you consume, body begins to produce lactic acid, the body burns 85% carbs, 15% fat, and less than 1% protein.

Red-Line Zone (Zone 5): 90-100% of maximum heart rate, you can’t go any higher than this, you should not remain in this zone for more than a few minutes, this zone should only be used during interval training, you burn a ton of calories but 90% of them are from carbohydrates, 10% fat, and less than 1% protein.

I also found a site that gives you a target heart rate range, which is where you need to be to see the best results.

Target Heart Rate Calculator:

As for those of you who have been reading my blog, you all know that I have been in a plateau since November, and when I was reading one of the articles I read this…

Fit and unfit people burn fat differently. The more fit you are, the more effectively you use fat to maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, perhaps you've been exercising vigorously, but not losing the weight you expected to. Could be you've been working too hard and need to drop back to this zone and exercise longer. To burn more total calories you'll need to exercise for more time in this zone (Zone 2).

I completely feel that this is me. My mentality has been “I need to do more, I need to do more.” This has not helped me one little bit! I now feel that I need to back off a bit and try to keep my heart rate within a healthy zone for me. I have done nothing but run myself in the ground. I used to have energy from working out, but lately I think that I’ve expended it from working out so hard that I just flat-out feel exhausted!

I hope this helps you all out there. Stay positive and accountable for others. Don't forget to check out Sandy at God Speaks today... It's Fitness Friday and I always LOVE reading her posts!


Next Friday’s post will be on What to eat before working out. Or, “Do I eat before working out, or do I not???”

And if your looking for my post on Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge Week 6, it's directly below this!

Gettin' Fine In '09 Week 6

I hope you all had great weeks. I am on the second week in a row of having family in town. Don't get me wrong - I love family time and wouldn't trade it for the world, but it means... Hamburgers, homemade pizzas, BBQ, cakes, cookies, brownies - and on, and on. So, needless to day the 131 that I saw last week is now 132. I can't catch a break!

Now, even though I just listed all that food - it doesn't mean that I'm eating it all. My family knows I'm trying to eat healthy, so instead of a burger I had a chicken breast, and I shared my slice of cake or brownie with my two kiddos. But still, it all adds up and begins to catch up with you.

The positive thing is that I haven't missed a single workout. I've actually worked out harder and longer because of the way I've been eating. I hoping this one pound gain is just temporary. When family leaves... they can take it with them!

Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know how you all did this week!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Children & Eating / Gettin' Fine Challenge Week 5

As long as I can remember I have been on a "diet". I have tried just about all of them, from taking pills, to slim fast shakes, to severely limiting my food intake, etc.

All this started when I was in High School, but it wasn't until I was in college that I figured out why I am so weight conscious. I grew up with a very skinny older sister who never even thought twice about what she ate, and to top it all off my father called me fat all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love my father and we are very close to this day, but I his words will haunt me for the rest of my life. My very own husband, whom I've dated since we are children, can even recall my father telling me that I was fat in front of all my friends. So needless to say, I have a witness!

In college I also began trying to live a healthy life style instead of "dieting". I started doing Body for Life and lost over 30 lbs and I was eating a TON! I LOVE Body for Life and highly recommend it. However I was spending a lot of money on Protein Shakes and Bars.

I'm saying all this because one of my biggest worries is portraying food in a wrong way to my children. My son (3 years) is a VERY picky eater. I usually try to introduce healthier food a few times (something life Broccoli), but he will only try 1 bite and say he's done! He tends to favor veggies, but LOVES meats. While my daughter (18 months) will eat anything and everything, and she LOVES fruit! Even though we eat very healthy in this house, my kiddos still get WAY too many sweets. I know that it completely falls onto my shoulders. After they eat their meals they ask for a cookie, which is their dessert, and I give it willingly. Some other things that they have on occasion are: Cosmic Brownies, Oatmeal cream pies, Ice cream, and donuts. I say that it falls on my shoulders because in my head I say, "They're kids, they burn it off, so why can't they have it." This couldn't be more wrong! Once they get it they want more and more, and it becomes a viscous cycle that is totally hard to break!

I don't want to pass down my issues with eating and dieting to my children. This is why I have to really watch what I say about certain things and foods. These behaviors are learned, and my babies are way too young to learn such a thing. I want them to know "healthy" without thinking that they are being deprived of something.

My husband, Kris, came across an article in New York Times about 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make. It really hit home with me and it well worth the read if you have small children.

Here is the link:

Also, a couple of Fridays ago Sandy at God Speak's Today did a fabulous Fitness Friday Post of kids and obesity. I recommend taking a look!


As for the Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge! It's week 5 everyone, so how are you all doing? I will be moving the Gettin' Fine post to Thursdays so that I can be consistent with Fitness Friday on God Speak's Today.

As for this week for me. I've been doing the same cycling classes, but I've added more weight training. I lifted on Monday (arms and legs), Wednesday after spinning (upper body), Thursday after spinning (lower body), and will be doing light weights and cardio today.

As of yesterday morning I weighed 131 lbs! YEAH BABY! I haven't seen 131 in months! It means that I lost one pound and I'm hoping that it stays that way!

Be sure and leave a comment telling me how you all did this week!


Next Friday I will be posting on the 5 Heart Zones. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fast Food Ratings & Healthier Options

I was reading an article when I saw a link on Yahoo about "America's Healthiest Restaurants". It talks about the best fast food places to eat that actually provide "healthier" options - not just for adults, but for children too.

I have friends say to me, "How can you stand cooking all the time?" "I hate cooking so we eat fast food a lot." I have to remind them that just because they eat fast food doesn't mean that they can't still eat "healthy". It's all about making the right choices.

Now I'm not saying that you can't have something "Bad" every now and then. I actually have a "free" day every Saturday where I eat the things that I've craved all week, and yes, sometimes that's McDonald's. I feel that it shocks my body to eat something like that, and it also helps me to stay on track for the rest of the week. Ironically though, once I've eaten it, I always say to myself "why again did I crave that!"

Believe it or not there are healthier options at Fast Food joints. Take a look at the article. It lists places like Chick Fil-A, Subway, McDonald's, Jamba Juice, Cici's Pizza, etc.

Here's the link to the article.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gettin' Fine in '09 Week 4

I been doing some researching this week that I will eventually share with all of you. Things like, "What are the target heart zones?" "Burning Fat vs. Burning Muscle?" "Calorie Eating" etc. So, if there is anything that you guys have questions on - just ask me and I'll do a little research!
I want to start putting up more informative information rather than just "my" progress.

But speaking of progress... how did you guys do this week? I decided to really keep track of my calories in and calories out just to see where I'm at each day. Here is what it looked like:
*Keep in mind that BMR calculated to be 1393 (this is what my body burns without be doing anything).

Monday: Interval Cardio training mixed with free weights (Burned 700 calories). Daily calorie intake was 1375

Tuesday: 1 hr aerobics step class with weight training (Burned 650 Calories). Daily calorie intake was 1435

Wednesday: 1 hr cycling class (Burned 950 calories). Daily calorie intake was 1415

Thursday: 1 hr cycling class (Burned 1000 calories). Daily calorie intake was 1500.

Friday: 1 hr aerobics and weight training session (Burned 850 calories).

As of this morning I still weighed my usual 132 lbs. I know that I'm being too hard on my body. Being a woman my menstrual cycle is usually right on track, but this month it arrived a week early, and February was a short month. With this happening I know that I'm being to hard on myself. I'm trying to rethink how I'm going to workout to get "fit" in a "healthy" way without thinking that I have to push myself to burn more calories... because honestly, that's just not working for me!

Let me know how you all did this week. Some of you are being VERY quite and I would love to hear from you. And don't forget to ask me questions! Remember that just because something doesn't work for me doesn't mean that it won't work for you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Kiddos and an Ab Wheel!

This past Friday night my family and I were enjoying some leisure time with my in laws. Right after I put PJ's on my kiddos they started playing with my ab wheel. My daughter (17 months) started it first and of course once I got the camera out my son (3 years) was all for doing it too!

They've obviously seen me at work! Their technique needs some work, but hey it's just too cute!



* I didn't put music to that last video. That was actually my very talented hubbie playing the piano. We are also a very musical family! I've been singing since I could open my mouth!