After one-year of working as a YMCA wellness coordinator, teaching spin classes and doing personal training..and training for my first Ironman, I was desiring more education in the field of nutrition. Particularly, I felt very strong in my sport nutrition knowledge due to my Master of Science education but I felt very limited in my knowledge of vitamins and minerls. I always wanted to know more about what is really in food, particularly, the science of food and how it affects the body.
I find this info on Powerbar website, very informative. Specifically the
Table on Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are found in food (as we know) and the more you eat, the more you provide your body. Thanks to their beautiful colors, fruits and veggies offer a wide selection of powerful nutrients but in a varied diet, you can obtain a wide host of nutrients to support your fitness needs.
If you are an athlete (or fitness enthusiast) seeking performance gains, I recommend to always prioritize your pre and during training nutrition in order to maximize your energy and to postpone fatigue throughout the course of your workout. For many of you all, you only have so much time in the day to squeeze in a workout and your recovery from workouts may not be as ideal as you would like. Therefore, do not compromise a workout by "trying" to get through a workout. You'd be suprised how far 100 calories of Hammer Heed in 24-28 ounces of water will take you (and make you feel) during a workout or a small banana with a little peanut butter before a workout, in terms of getting the engine going. Of course, sport nutrition is typically very personalized and individualized. If you need help, you can contact me but for most people, experimentation is key as you know what it feels like to be limited by your current sport nutrition fueling strategy...just keep working at it.
Next, prioritize your recovery nutrition. You are recovering all day long when you eat throughout the day and keeping your body loose or moving, however, you can jump start the recovery process by prioritizing a mix of protein and carbs post workout, either as a recovery drink or meal. The info has been consistent on a 4:1 ratio of grams of carbohydrates to protein (ex. 40g of carbs, 10g of protein) but for me, I believe that if one can focus on 7-25g of protein (depending on the intensity and volume of the workout) within the 40-75 min post workout, along with a carbohydrate source AND THEN have a real meal, this will not only help recovery but will help with cravings, overeating and overindulging in "reward" food later in the day....all of this WILL also enhance your recovery.
So, then what.
In terms of food throughout the day to take your training to the next level, try to see food for vitamins and minerals. I find this much healthier in terms of your relationship with food, than seeing food for carbohydrates, fat or sugar. Prioritizing whole food is an easy way to accomplish this but depending on where you are in your fitness or nutrition journey, simply controlling portions and bulking up on more fruits and veggies will not only help with body composition changes but more importantly, will provide your body with more nutrient dense foods....rich in vitamins and minerals.
This is how I eat. I don't expect everyone to do as I do, but it seems to work for Karel and myself. We don't count calories but we enjoy a lot of real food. We emphasize a lot of food that is minimally processed but no food is off limits. We eat a lot throughout the day, but research shows that it really doesn't matter how you eat or when you eat, just what you eat. But of course, after spending over 6 years in my nutrition journey as an Ironman athlete, I know what works best for us in terms of keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day to prevent drops in energy and to encourage efficient uses of fuel as well as being able to feel satisfied and be mindful of what I put into my body. It isn't a diet, just a personalized approach as to what works for us.
My goal for you....find what works for you as you prioritize food for its nutritional value and how it enhances your exercise routine.
Here's a fantastic recipe to get you started....
Mango broccoli slaw
1 Mango (chopped)
1 bag Broccoli Slaw (can be found by packaged veggies/bagged lettuce in grocery store)
2 spoonfuls salsa (your favorite salsa, add more/less to taste)
1-2 tbsp tahini paste (more/less to taste)
1/8 cup chopped white or purple onions (omit onions if you don't like them. They aren't needed in the recipe unless you love onions like I do)
Pepper, pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp chopped nuts or seeds (I used sunflower seeds but walnuts would be great in this)
1. Combine all ingredients in a large container, cover with lid and shake.
2. Refrigerate for wonderful flavors.
For a more satisfying meal:
Top a bed of your favorite greens (I used arugula) with slaw and serve with your choice of protein (I used 1 hardboiled egg).