3 Must-have food groups for FitPros

Food for FitPros
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Food for FitPros

Food for FitPros

I write this with limp, exhausted fingers and huge elation that I  don’t have to teach cycling classes tomorrow. This is a 10 class week and I have to ask: HOW do you 15 class per week people do it?! Holy Moly!  So here’s the thing: cycling, especially the athletic type that I teach, uses up tons of carbs/muscle glycogen. This is my reason for not restricting carb intake during weeks like this. Still, burning so many calories means this instructor is HONGRAY and will eat whatever carbs that catch my fancy.  In fact, during weeks like this I have noticed that my cravings for quick, biscotti flavored sugars are sky high and almost too powerful to fight off. If you don’t want to feel like a giant Pac-Man/Pac Woman and :

YOU: 

Teach classes totaling more than 5 hours per week, most of which you actively participate in.

Teach high endurance/high intensity/high impact formats

Dash from appointment to appointment using most of your break time up for transportation ( or naps)

Engage in your own vigorous weekly exercise routines.

Then focus on:

  1. Hydration: The recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 140 pounds that would translate to 70 ounces or about eight and half cups. Regular participation in higher intensity formats means the obvious: you will need more water than the regular recommendation to replace what you lose. Make water a habit by starting your day with it, drinking it before or after coffee (caffeine is a diuretic), drink it during and after your classes and when you return home in the evening. Yes, decaffeinated teas do count towards your daily intake.
  2. Electrolytes: Do you ever feel loopy, weak, or crampy? Well, if you’re dehydrated then you could also be low on electrolytes. The minerals in question that qualify as electrolytes are potassium, sodium, calcium bicarbonate, magnesium and chloride. Although needed in small amounts, they perform the big job of maintaining the fluid balance in your cells. Regularly completing over 60 minutes of rigorous exercise means that you’ve likely sweat some of your electrolytes out and need to replenish. Sure, you can reach for a sports drink but wholesome foods can provide them all too. Salt and chloride are 2 that we get plenty of daily as many foods have naturally occurring sodium or are  seasoned and preserved with both sodium and chloride. However a daily diet that includes plenty of dark  leafy greens beans, asparagus, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, sweet potatoes, beans and peas means you should be getting plenty of potassium, calcium and magnesium. *Dehydration and low electrolyte balance can cause hospitalization and death so don’t play around.
  3. Complex carbohydrates: The digestion process for all carbs begins as soon as they hit your saliva. That’s because carbohydrates are your body and brain’s preferred fuel and your body doesn’t play hard to get when it comes to loving them. Your body being a lean, mean energy using machine will put a ring on complex carbs, court them and use them slowly. Simple, refined carbs get used up quickly and leave you feeling as worn out and empty as a bad one night stand. Furthermore, constantly burning off carb stores means, you guessed it, you crave them A LOT.  I don’t know what your fitness goal is but if you’re like me and just want to stay energized without crashing,make sure you have stores of healthy carbs in your bag: oat balls, fruit, salad bowls, WHATEVER. Just make sure they’re healthy and be ready to want to eat everythng sweet and easily digested….or maybe that’s just me?
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