As athletes or fitness enthusiasts, we all understand the importance of eating for fuel. It's important that we are setting ourselves up for quality training sessions so that we are moving ourselves closer and closer to reaching our performance goals.
Having said that, we all know how important it is to eat for health and to not sabotoge our performance and health gains, by not appreciating the "fuel" that we put into our body on a daily basis.
If you can take away anything from this blog today, I ask that you think about your current exercise or training routine and see if you can address a few strengths and weaknesses in your current lifestyle routine that may be affecting how you fuel for, recover from and perform during your daily choice of activity. There isn't a right or wrong response and for each person it will vary. For some people, you may decide to address hunger, never feeling satisfied, always feeling stuffed, experiencing extreme cravings, experiencing low (or rapid drops) blood sugar, feeling moody/depressed around workouts, GI upset, feeling hungry during workouts, feeling full after workouts, feeling fatigue during workouts, feeling tired during workous as weaknesses affecting your current lifestyle routine. For strengths, this will vary as well.
You see, food and exercise are areas in your life that you want to control but not let control you. Your diet and fitness routine should enhance your life, not control your life.
When it comes to finding that right balance in your lifestyle routine, there is no one right answer for everyone. We all have different ways to live our life but it is up to you to address the areas in your life that may need improvement.
For me, every eating opportunity, whether it is a snack or meal, is a chance to provide my body with quality nutrients. The same goes for you. Without addressing individual choices for body composition, training goals and dietary habits, it's important to recognize that as an active individual, health is your priority, then performance. However, the two can certainly go together if you are choosing to provide your body with a balanced diet of quality, wholesome nutrients that your body knows how to metabolize and use. There's no perfect diet but rather a diet that allows you to succeed in all areas of your life. When it comes to succeeding in sport, prioritize the pre, during and post training nutrition so that you are gaining the most possible from every single workout. You should not be trying to "save calories" or "exercise to eat" as this is not beneficial for a balanced lifestyle routine. As you work on "perfecting" your individual "sports nutrition" (for EACH workout of the week - as this will also very depending on duration and intensity and the sport of choice), be mindful of how you are eating throughout the day. Be comfortable with food and do not fear food. It is there to not only enhance performance, but also your activities of daily living.
I can't help but add that exercise, which we all know is important to overall health, weight control and stress reduction, can become unhealthy. Over the years, both Karel and myself have learned how to train less and recover more, all while experiencing significant performance improvements. Knowing that we can't expect to improve just by "putting in the miles", recognize that eventually, too much wear and tear on the body may lead to long-term problems. I have said it so many times in the past, but in addition to using proper training tools to ensure quality training, along with taking advantage of some of the coolest recovery gear, please spend at least 2 times per week (or up to 90 minutes a week) strength training. There is no better way to increase longevity (both in years and in your sport) by dedicating time to strengthening your bones and muscles (especially the weak muscle groups that you constantly ask/expect to perform optimally, day after day... such as running).
I have three wonderful Tempeh recipes that made my tummy happy this past week. Although tempeh is the star in each of the recipes, I added a twist to each one as I feel variety is key to everything we do in life.
Karel and myself just love the nutty and meaty texture of Tempeh and how it can be added to any meal for that extra "yum" factor. On it's wonderful nutrition profile, you will find manganese, protein, copper, phosphorus, magensium, potassium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin)..to name a few.
Tempeh is a wonderful fermented food that is packed with protein so it can be used as a great replacement for meat or for those who need to increase quality protein in the overall diet. You will find tempeh at most health food grocery stores as well as Publix, in the refrigeration section near the tofu.
Stir-fry tempeh, mushrooms and purple onions
1 tbsp heart-healthy oil
Purple Onion (sliced)
1. In large pot on medium heat, drizzle olive oil and cook onions until slightly brown.
2. Add tempeh and mushrooms, toss occasionally.
3. Cook until tempeh is "browned" on edges.
4. Plate on a bed of greens, with sliced tomatoes.
Curry Tahini dressing:2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili spice
2 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp tahini
water to meet your consistency needs
1. Whisk together ingredients. Add water to meet your consistency needs.
Arugula, tempeh and fruit salad with curry dressing
Peaches (canned in juice)
1. Cook tempeh in oil for a few minutes (until golden brown).
2. Toss together all ingredients, including dressing.
Sweet bulgur and tempeh salad
Peaches (canned in juice)
1. Cook bulgur for 10-14 minutes, according to package/box (either on stove top or microwave)
2. Cook tempeh, chickpeas, tofu and onions in large skillet, with 1-2 tbsp oil. Toss occassionally.
3. When ingredients above are golden brown, turn off heat.
4. Plate romaine lettuce in shallow dish and make a circle in the middle to serve 1 serving of bulgur.
5. Top with veggie stiry fry mixture and add a few sliced peaches.