Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mango slices mixed together for a nutritious diet

How To Add More Fruits & Vegetables To Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients such as vitamins to the body. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet is usually advised by nutritionists and health professionals due to the health benefits that come with them. However, for many people who have busy day to day lives, adjusting daily diet can be difficult and even frustrating. Below are several tips to consider to help increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Make Your Snacks Revolve Around Fruits and Vegetables

Snacks help to reduce hunger during tight schedules that don’t allow time for having a full meal. Adding them to your diet can be quite useful. Encouraging yourself to replace common salty or sweet snacks with fruits or vegetables can help improve your dietary health. This can be achieved by keeping a bowl of fresh fruits at your desk or at home, providing easy access to a quick, healthy snack. You can also try keeping dried fruit in your car for snacks on the go.

Boost Your Breakfast

Breakfast is the appropriate time to get in an extra serving of vegetables or fruit. This can be accomplished by simply stirring fresh or frozen berries, or banana slices into your yogurt, cereal, or other meal. If you have time, you could also consider making a breakfast smoothie from a simple recipe such as this:

  • Take your favorite yogurt (or a low fat milk)
  • Add 1/2 cup of frozen berries (any kind will do, though remember to consider seeds!)
  • Blend together to desired consistency!

If you prefer to use fresh fruit instead of frozen, considering adding some ice to your smoothie as well. If you have no time for breakfast, you can pick an orange, apple, or banana and have it on your way to work.

Add Small Amounts

Another great way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to add them into your current daily diet. This will not only allow you to improve the health of your favorite dish, but let you use your creativity to spice up old recipes. A simple way to do this is to grate or puree fruits and vegetables and add them to dishes they might complement. Another idea is to grate carrots or zucchini onto burgers, meatballs, or other meat dishes, as their taste and consistency can go well together. In addition, putting chopped peppers, mushrooms, carrots, or other veggies into recipes such as pasta sauce can add a few more vegetables into your diet.

Make a Meatless Day for Yourself

At least once a week, create a meatless day. Prepare fruits and vegetables for the day and then increase your intake to 3 servings. You can also make a fruit salad for snacking and meals. Also consider grilling extra vegetables and preserving them for salads, soups, sandwiches, and other meals during the week. This is not only good for your health, but it can also be beneficial to the environment.

Try Something New Each Week

Trying new things can be a fun way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Whether it’s a new recipe, or a fruit or veggie you’ve never tasted before, try to find something new each week. Looking up which fruits and vegetables are in season can help you decide what new food you’d like to try. You might even discover something that you want to keep eating on a regular basis.

Double Your Intake

Since extra vegetables are generally fairly easy to add to recipes without greatly affecting taste and composition, doubling what you use is a good option to consider. Some ideas for adding extra veggies to regular recipes include adding extra vegetables as topping to frozen pizza, to a variety of casseroles, or onto sandwiches.

Choose Fruit-Based Desserts and Salads

Using fruits such as grapes or bananas can add a good flavor to popular desserts. Some examples of desserts that can be improved with fruit include ice cream, frozen yogurt, and even pastries. You can also use frozen fruit as a dessert by itself. This can be done by dipping part of your fruit into a small portion of antioxidant dark chocolate.

For more information about how to increase the health of your daily diet, or to speak with a nutrition counselor, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Helpful Nutrition Tips For Active Athletes

Being an athlete has different dietary requirements than for other occupations and hobbies. Athletes burn more calories and need more fuel than the average person. However, this doesn’t mean athletes can eat whatever they like whenever they want. Athletes need to put healthy foods into their bodies to stay at top performance levels and have shorter recovery periods after working out.

Accountability for Your Nutrition

One of the most important aspects of nutrition is accountability. It doesn’t matter what type of diet you are on if you don’t keep yourself accountable. You must be confident and ready to commit to changing your dietary lifestyle. Planning your meals and meal prepping helps you keep your commitment. Create your menus based on what type of diet you want to stick to. If you’re able, prep meals and snacks ahead of time. This will make you less likely to choose something unhealthy if healthier options aren’t readily available.

Nutrition and Your Energy Level

When choosing what kind of dietary lifestyle you want to stick with, take your sport into consideration. Different sports require different needs due to different energy levels. For example, a full court game of basketball will burn around 750 calories per hour, yet weightlifting will burn only 250 calories per hour. On the same note, basketball and weightlifting also require different diets for recovery due to the types of muscles used for each sport. A good rule is to eat what you burn, but make sure it is food that is good for your sport. Weightlifters will require more protein in their diets because it is needed to maintain muscles, but it isn’t needed as much in a high energy basketball player’s diet because protein isn’t a good source of energy.

Foods with High Nutritional Value

Many diets have different requirements. As an athlete, you should only put foods with high nutritional value into your body. This will keep your body in optimal health for all areas of athleticism and allow the body to recover properly. Only eat real foods and avoid processed foods. Don’t exclude carbohydrates as an athlete because you need them for energy. Your body changes carbohydrates into a form of sugar called glucose and then stores them in your muscles as glycogen, which is then converted into energy. Choose high quality protein in your diet, such as lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, and milk. Go easy on fats. Most diets get enough fats from nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fish. No matter what, always aim for healthy choices. For example, choose whole grain bread over white bread, or trail mix over chips.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

A major thing that must be done to keep your body healthy and your digestive system working properly is to stay hydrated. Athletes often sweat quite a bit, so staying hydrated is even more important. How much daily water intake your body needs can vary somewhat depending on the person and their lifestyle, but it is generally recommended to drink 64 ounces of water daily. Drink water before, during, and after workouts. Chilled drinks are more easily absorbed than room temperature drinks, so keep your drink cold if possible. If your workout causes you to sweat a lot, replace your electrolytes with a sports drink. Remember that over half of the body consists of water, and it is important to stay hydrated for all bodily functions.

Make Healthy Choices for Your Body

When choosing a dietary style to complement your lifestyle, there are many different factors to consider. Make sure that you get enough types of energy sources to maintain a healthy, athletic lifestyle. Making healthy food choices is part of living an athletic lifestyle, and both will help keep you in great form. For more information about incorporating nutrition into your lifestyle, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure: Pt 2

Daily Caloric Intake for Gaining or Losing Weight

In our previous article we went over what a Total Daily Energy Expenditure calculator is, and an example of maintaining the same weight, and the basics behind the use of it. In this article we will be going over how though calories are calories in regards to sheer weight goals, it is better for you and a better goal to have a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

Carbohydrates

It is important to get a good amount of carbohydrates to have sustained energy and to be able to have the ability to work out when you want, unsaturated(mono/poly) fats because your body needs some fat to be able to function properly especially for those looking to gain weight. If you are working out, especially lifting weights, you will want to make sure you are also getting enough protein in your diet. And of course, either eating a multivitamin or eating fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamins.

Carbs

You will also need to get some carbs that have fiber, and sugar in moderation, though it isn’t something you need by any means. For someone who is looking to lose weight, it will also depend on how much they want to lose per week/month. A deficit of 500 calories per day comes out to roughly a pound a week lost. For example, if you are a 40-year-old male that is 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weigh 240 pounds, you will need to eat 2,387 calories per day to maintain your weight. If you want to lose a pound a week you will need to eat 1,887 calories a day. It can be hard to know how many calories you are eating without a calorie calculator, which is one of the best tools to pair with a TDEE calculator.

Anything that can track your daily macros will help you make sure you are reaching your goals. These numbers reflect someone with a sedentary office job, but they will change as you work out more. Without using a calorie counter app, a TDEE calculator, and tracking your exercises, it can seem extremely arbitrary trying to lose weight and knowing how much you need to eat less per day. That same person however, if they have gotten their weight down to 170 pounds, and working out 3-5 times a week, and is looking to gain 1 pound a week, will need to eat 3,091 calories per day, or 2,591 to maintain your weight.

Protein

Regardless of if you are cutting (losing weight) or bulking (gaining weight) you will need to make sure you get enough protein. The TDEE calculator can actually help you with the numbers. You need to hit those numbers because otherwise your body will break down your muscle to get it’s needed protein. If you are on a low carb diet of 155g of carbs a day, then you will need almost 309g of protein a day. But if you are on a high carb diet, you will need to get far fewer to hit your goal weights.

If you are looking for help with getting start on a new nutrition plan or learning more about the calories you should be consuming, contact our trainers at Str8 Training.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure: Pt 1

Daily Caloric Intake for Gaining or Losing Weight

It can feel daunting trying to figure out the fitness goals that you want to hit. Especially when you have set numbers you are trying to hit every week, breaking that down into day by day amounts can seem difficult and arbitrary. But with a couple tweaks to your diet and having an actual number of calories to eat a day, you can figure out how much you need to be eating every day to lose or gain weight. There are ways that you can calculate what that daily number is, using what is called a TDEE calculator. Basically it takes the amount of food you are eating a day, how much you weigh, your total activity, and then calculates how much or how little calories you need to eat to gain or lose weight. But there is a little bit more that goes into it than that.

If you are looking to lose weight, then at its most simple it is eating less calories each day than you use, barring any diagnosed medical conditions that impede your body’s natural ability to reduce your weight. There is a huge amount of varying ways in which you can go about consuming those fewer calories, and using more calories/burning more fat in a day. But we will not be going in-depth into your diet or you exercise routine in this article. We will be going over breaking your goals into actual steps and being able to measure the number of calories you can consume a day when taking into account physical traits and amount of exercise you do in a week.

Calculating calories

You can use any calculator, but this one is built on a bootstrap frame and does not ask for any personal information to get your results, which you should be weary of. For example, someone who is 180 pounds, 6 feet tall and 30 years old and works out 1-3 times a week, needs 2,495 calories per day to maintain the same weight. That same person who does not work out only needs 2,177 calories per day to not lose or gain weight, however. You can be a “healthy” weight but still live unhealthy.

It doesn’t matter quite as much where you get your calories from (i.e. 2000 calories of rice vs 1,000 calories of rice and 1,000 calories of chicken, or 1,000 calories of rice and 1,000 calories of M&M’s) if you only care about staying the same weight or just losing or gaining a certain number of pounds. But just because you can change your weight does not mean that is the best course of action over the long run. It is important to have a well-balanced diet (which definitely sounds like something from a 1980s breakfast commercial).

In our next article we will be going over gaining and losing weight using the TDEE, some of the differences in diets, how to define exercises, and some of the potential pitfalls in TDEE calculators.

TDEE Calculator link: https://tdeecalculator.net/

Healthy Alternatives to Soft Drinks, Sugar, Candy and Snacks That Don’t Hurt Your Teeth: Part 2

In our previous article we went over briefly some of the negative effects of soda, sugar, candy and junk snacks, and went over some basic replacements for them. In this article we will be going over more alternatives, and some foods that are considered “healthy” but are not really any better than traditional sweets.

Alternatives

One of these is fruit juice drinks. Apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice and things of that nature would seem like they would be a lot healthier. But in reality some have even higher amounts of sugar than soda. The only advantage of juice is that some of them have Vitamins, mainly vitamin C and a few have potassium. As mentioned in our last article, iced teas and Gatorades will have the same issue. And the electrolytes that they are stated to have, are normally less than 4% of the amount you need a day.

The best thing to do is to check the nutrition facts. Some hot chocolates with real coco are fairly healthy, and some real fruit juices are at least better for you than soda. And sometimes, it is unrealistic to expect a completely sugar free and great tasting alternative. Sometimes you have to go with something that is only half as unhealthy.

Smoothies can be a very tasty replacement for shakes and sweet drinks, if you prepare it with fresh fruit, milk/yogurt, and maybe some veggies. But if you make them like Naked Smoothies make their drinks, you will end up with a lot of sugar, and a small number of vitamins. Bananas that are fresh are great for potassium, strawberries are good for taste, blueberries and pineapples and oranges can give you vitamin C, milk and yogurt will give you protein, carbs and something real in your smoothie.

Veggies like avocados are not the best tasting in combination with fruits, but they do have healthy fats in them. Another OK replacement for shakes/ice cream is low-fat pudding, which is surprisingly healthy when it comes to certain brands, as well as yogurt. Something to keep in mind however is that just because something is low-fat, doesn’t mean it is low in sugar. And for things that are low in sugar, that does not mean that they are low in fat.

Gum

While it will not give you calories, will curb your appetite for a small amount of time.

Sweet Potato Fries

Making sweet potato fries is a great alternative to junk food.

Dark Chocolate

If you are going to have candy, dark chocolate is the healthiest by far, but still something to have in moderation.

Kettle Corn

Unsalted and unbuttered kettle corn is actually OK to have as well in moderation.

Hopefully this helps you, as anything that is lower in sugar will have less of an effect on the decay of your teeth. Change doesn’t happen overnight. If you can just replace your candy with something else, or your soda with an alternative, or find a healthier snack, then you are on the right path to having healthier teeth and finding sustainable eating habits.

Healthy Alternatives to Soft Drinks, Sugar, Candy and Snacks That Don’t Hurt Your Teeth: Part 1

We all know that sweets and junk food are bad for us; they make us gain weight, they decay our teeth, they slow down our immune system, and damage our organs over time. But the reason our body craves sweets is not just because the sugar, contrary to popular belief. We actually crave it for the calories it provides, and the number of calories and thus instant energy already available (sugar is the base form of energy and easy for our body to use but is the shortest lasting type of energy too).

When we were cavemen it made sense for our bodies to get all the sugar it could, because a little bit from a fruit for example, would give us a boost while we continue our search for food, and our body would want us to get all that we can from it because sugar would be found in limited amounts in nature. There is a wide-range of food however that is sweet or has a lot of flavor but not any sugar in it.

Today we will be going over some tasty alternatives to soft drinks, sugar, candy, and junk food snacks. However, for many foods, it will be hard to find a 1:1 replacement, but it may be possible to find an alternative. For example, if you really like ice cream, but do not like all the fat and sugar that is in the food, unless you buy sugar free ice cream (which still has sugar alternatives and dairy), there isn’t necessarily a 1 to 1 replacement. But there are some alternatives. The best one is using cool whip, putting it in the freezer, and using that as your sweet snack you can eat out of a bowl.

Cinnamon is also something that has natural sweetness, but no sugar at all. In fact, cinnamon is actually an antioxidant, meaning that it isn’t just health neutral, but it is a net positive. Cinnamon is not as naturally sweet as sugar, so it is hard to use it as a direct replacement in instances where you would have used sugar. Like you can’t replace sugar with cinnamon in your brownie recipe. But you can make things like sweet potato fries and put cinnamon on it, or when you make toast you can put cinnamon on top of them. It is great for pastries and bread food, and more.

Unsweetened tea and herbal teas are also a great way to get a flavored drink that isn’t full of sugar. Brisk Iced Tea and Gatorade, while many may think they are healthy, are actually full of sugar. Ultimately water is the best, but Crystal Lite is generally low in sugar, and fine for even diabetics. Some Diet Sodas are still full of calories; they just use sugar alternatives to get around it.

In future articles we will be going over more replacements for junk food and candy, which can be a hard one to find alternatives for in general.

Protein Supplements For Vegan And Vegetarian Diets

It’s commonly known that if you’re a heavy lifter, you have to eat enough protein. When it comes to protein, most people have it easy — just eat plenty of meat and you will hit your protein goals. But if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, then the choices of how you get enough protein may be more limited. In this article, we will be going over some different ways that vegans and vegetarians can get enough protein while maintaining their dietary needs.

Protein and Whey Powder

A great option for getting protein is in smoothies. There is a wide variety of foods that can be turned into a smoothie protein drink. In addition to any foods that you put in a smoothie, you can also add protein powder for an extra boost. For vegetarians, simple whey protein will do. Whey protein comes from getting all the protein and amino acids in milk and breaking them down into their base components.

Seitan

Whey protein is a great option for vegetarians, but vegans will need to find an alternative source of protein. One great replacement option is the use of seitan. Seitan is made from the proteins taken from wheat. Of course, this is mainly done using the gluten in wheat to derive the amino acids, so if you are also observing a gluten-free diet you’ll need to be wary of this type of protein.

Hemp Seed

For anyone who has Celiac Disease or whose body just does not handle gluten very well, there are alternatives to whey and seitan. One of those most natural, healthy, and least processed options is hemp seed. Hemp seed is heavy in protein and has all of the building blocks that your body needs. Hemp seed also has high levels of good fat, and a lot of the vitamins and minerals that modern humans lack in their diet. Magnesium, zinc, and calcium exist in especially high concentrations in hemp seed. Hemp seed also contains little or no THC, and is an all natural protein source.

Soy and Rice Protein

Two more common options available for increasing protein intake are soy protein powders and rice protein, though keep in mind that rice protein is likely to contain gluten. These are great sources of protein and offer an alternative to whey and seitan.

Additional Options

Another great source of protein is nuts and rich foods like avocado. Grains are a great option as well. Rice, wheat bread, cereals, and oatmeal are all very healthy options that contain grain. If your dietary restrictions allow it, dairy can be another option to consider. The most health conscious options include non-processed cheese, Greek yogurt, and fat-free milk.

If you would like more information about vegan and vegetarian options for increasing protein intake, or if you have other nutrition questions, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

The Importance Of Pre-Workout Nutrition Planning

Workouts are a big deal. They aim to recharge and revitalize your body. They aim to give you more energy as well. You can’t approach a workout session just like anything else, however. That’s because you have to prepare for it in the appropriate manner. Lack of workout preparation can often be a big mistake. If you don’t prepare for your exercise session properly, you could end up crashing and burning prematurely. Focusing on high-quality pre-workout nutrition can do wonders for those who want to take their physical fitness routines to the next level. Focusing on it can be great for those who want to make the most out of their valuable exercise time, too.

Aim to Chow Down Prior to Hitting the Gym

Don’t make the mistake of eating right before you begin your workout session. Don’t make the mistake of walking into the gym while scarfing down a sandwich or energy bar, either. Try to sit down and eat between 30 and 90 minutes before your workout. This can provide you with vital fuel that can help you take full advantage of your session. Remember, too, that you don’t want to begin your exercise feeling excessively full or bloated. That can lead to a lot of discomfort and sluggishness that you simply do not need.

Keep Your Fat Intake Low Before Working Out

Aim for pre-workout nutrition that’s not high in fat. Strive for fewer than 15 grams of fat if at all possible. Fat serves as a macronutrient that has the ability to decelerate the vital digestion process. This is precisely what you want to avoid. You should aim to make it easy for nutrients to access your bloodstream.

Consume a Good Amount of Protein

If you want to approach your workout session feeling like you’re on top of the world, it can be an amazing idea to consume a good amount of protein beforehand. Proteins can encourage muscle development well. People who want to optimize their workouts, as a result, should aim to take in a minimum of 10 lean protein grams. It can be a good idea to speak with a reputable nutritionist regarding your individual protein requirements as well. There are protein varieties that accommodate certain people better, after all.

Steer Clear of Excessive Fruit Intake

It may seem like a good idea to recharge with fruit prior to beginning a work out. Excessive fruit intake, however, is something you want to dodge. That’s because it can contribute to serious and unpleasant digestive woes. If you want to make sure you do absolutely nothing to interfere with the success of your workout, you need to keep excessive fruit intake at bay, plain and simple. Don’t go crazy with the fruit salad.

Focus on Your H20 Needs

Proper hydration is essential for people who want to approach their workouts feeling like a million dollars. Be sure to drink plenty of water prior to beginning your exercise session. Make sure you always have ample fresh and clean water on hand as well.

If you would like more information about workout nutrition strategies, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Training Tips For Long Distance Running Events, Part 3

In our previous two articles, we have talked about running routines, rest days, and the proper ways to workout to train for long-distance running. In this article, we will discuss the proper nutritional dieting habits to keep in mind while training.

Nutrition

Another important thing to keep in mind for those looking to build muscle while training cardio, is that running and working out without eating enough protein, can cause muscle loss. When the body needs energy, the first thing it does is begin to break down the ADP in the body, which is either carbs broken down or essentially the basic sugars we need. This is used first, then your body will switch to trying to break down carbs and the energy stored in fat. But for muscle rebuilding, your body needs protein. When you are sore and your body is repairing the muscle, it will first try to use any protein available from recently eaten food. If it is not available, than your body will have the use protein from muscle not currently being repaired to strengthen the necessary area. You will still need to do weight-training or sprints to build muscle, but proper nutrition can ensure you don’t lost muscle.

This usage of stored or available energy is why they tell you to eat complex carbohydrates the day before heavy exercise. This is because the fact that it is not simple sugar or a simple to break down carb, it takes a while for it to be broken down, and when it is, it stores a lot more energy than other food sources. So the next day when your body needs energy, they are just being made available. Remember that there is a lot more than just pasta that has complex carbohydrates. These include green veggies like spinach or green beans, anything whole grain including bread and oatmeal. Potatoes and corn are great, which is a reason why lean meat like turkey or chicken and potatoes is such a perfect food for recovery. You need to keep in mind that you will be burning a serious amount of calories while training long periods of time, so make sure you get enough calories as well. A good idea is to look up daily caloric intake calculators, so that you can see exactly how much calories you burn in a day training the amount you do, and taking into account height and weight. This will tell you how many calories you need a day to stay at the same weight.

Lifestyle Habits

We already went over the importance of sleep in the last article, but it is part of building the right habits. To ensure you get your sleep on track, turn off phones and devices an hour before bed, don’t drink caffeine after 5, open a window to allow natural light to encourage natural wakefulness in the morning, and stay consistent, with workouts to tire you and your sleep schedule.

Avoid sugary foods, as that energy will only create crashes when you need energy the most. Avoid drinking caffeine for energy during runs, and avoid smoking or anything that damages the lungs. Another thing to keep in mind is that alcohol can disrupt your body’s ability to repair muscle effectively, decreasing the amount of gains made during a workout. Hopefully with all of this in mind, you are well on your way to finishing(or kicking butt) at your first big race.

If you would like more information about nutrition and training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Healthy Snacks For Your Healthy Lifestyle

If you are in college and find it difficult to cook healthy meals all the time, then it’s time to get your pantry stocked up on healthy alternatives that are convenient and easy to grab on the go. That way you can stick to your budget and still eat fairly decent for the majority of the time.

No matter what you like to eat there are plenty of options out there as far as the healthy stuff goes. The good news is that even if you have a tiny fridge you can still have a decent stash on hand for when you get hungry because a lot of your snack options will be non-perishable.

Healthy And Fresh Snacks

If you have a bowl to throw some fruit into, keep it stocked with apple and bananas. They are delicious, affordable, and healthy. They are also great to take on the run between classes. Applesauce is another good choice and if you want a more portable option they sell convenient cup portions at most grocery stores. Just be sure to get the unsweetened kind.

If you are craving something not so sweet, then hummus and carrot sticks are a great way to get in your protein and fiber. Just don’t overdo it on the hummus and try to keep it to about 100-150 calories per serving.

Kale chips are delicious and good for you. Rice cakes are a great choice too. If you want to add some extra protein, add some almond butter.

Greek yogurt is another great way to get your protein in and it comes in many delicious flavors. If you want a more natural version you can add some honey or fruit and top with some granola.

Sprouted wheat bread with almond butter and a banana is about 250 calories. This is a nice twist on the usual peanut butter and jelly version and a lot healthier, too!

Pre-Packaged But Still Healthy Options

Stock up on soups. They last forever and are quick and easy to prepare. Just be sure to look for low sodium options.

Protein bars are a quick meal replacement option and you can throw one in your bag or purse for those days you have completely lost track of time and you are starving because you missed lunch. There are many healthy options that come in many different flavors.

Ginger chews are a great replacement for candy and two pieces are typically only 5g of sugar per serving.

There are many substitutes for potato chips such as veggie chips and chips that have been baked instead of fried, so you can indulge without feeling guilty after.

If you keep your dorm stocked with the healthy stuff you won’t have to eat out as much and you will stay on track with your nutrition. A lot of healthy snacks are portable so you can keep some on hand at all times so you will be prepared when hunger strikes. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your diet. Be sure to always pay attention to labels too, as they can provide you plenty of information about what you’re really eating.

If you would like more information about maintaining a nutritious diet, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

The Importance Of Staying Hydrated During Your Workout

If you’re seeking improved results from your workout routine, taking care of yourself properly will be at the heart of the matter. There will be few athletic professionals who disagree that staying hydrated is a big part of your workout routine. For anyone who leads an athletic lifestyle, or even for those who are trying to make a big change in their health, you may already see drinking water as a given while you’re partaking in your activity. What you may not realize are that the details behind hydrating yourself extend to all sides of your workout. That’s right, there’s more to staying hydrated than drinking water while you’re exercising. Hopefully this guide will shed a little light on the matter.

Remember to Think Ahead

While sipping an ice cold beverage while you’re working out can feel like a much needed relief, it’s not all that’s needed to become and remain hydrated before, during, and after your workout session. You’ll need to think ahead to stay on top of keeping yourself hydrated. This means drinking plenty of water long before you decide to exercise for thirty minutes to an hour and keeping it up throughout the day. What this doesn’t mean is chugging a liter of water right before you start, since consuming too much water (or any liquid for that matter) directly before going into a physical activity can cause cramping and uncomfortable bloating, which would slow down your exercise and be counterproductive entirely. It’s recommended by plenty of athletic pros that you drink around three liters per day, sipping on it throughout the day at a steady rate.

Proper Hydration During Exercise

Drinking a steady amount throughout the day can definitely set you off on the right foot but what about the proper method during your workout? While the right way to stay hydrated is up for a bit of debate, many athletic individuals will stick with a general rule of equal parts waste and equal parts haste. You can figure this out by weighting yourself before and after exercise, to figure out an estimate of how much water you will need during workout. You can go by this method and drink 16 oz. per pound lost or you can also go by another popular method and consume one cup of water for every fifteen minutes of workout time in low to moderate leveled exercise sessions. There are also workout drinks that have some boosting components that many write off as unnecessary, sugary drinks. For example, plenty of carbohydrate drinks are meant to help replenish your glycogen, which is exactly what your muscles are burning for energy. Electrolyte drinks are also good for replenishment when consumed in moderation.

The Aftermath of Hydration

A lot of people think they should consume a bunch of protein pre-workout but the truth is that it’s even more effective right after you’ve finished an exercise routine. When you add some protein powder to your water after you’re done lifting weights or running, the protein will help with the protein and muscle synthesis that happens post-workout session. Aside from helping with the catabolic state of your muscles, it can also help muscles heal.

If you’re interested in learning more about healthy workouts, contact STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Workout Supplement Options To Consider

Humans, for better or for worse, always want to be the best at whatever we do. And when it comes to building muscle and gaining strength, there are so many options and techniques that can be used, it can get complicated. Obviously everyone knows that they need to choose the best lifts for targeting the intended muscle groups, that a proper diet is key to the process as a whole, the different workout plans to use those lifts, and that sleep is key to muscle growth, but few take full advantage of the various supplements available to them. While it is true that protein powder and various pre-workout supplements are taken by a fair amount of the population, very few know the differences between the kinds of protein supplements, the different types of workout supplements available to them, or how to actually best use them.

Creatine

Creatine is one that has some coverage, but can actually be of huge help to quite a number of people. Creatine is best taken roughly 30-45 minutes before the workout for best effect. Creatine is mainly used, for a basic summary, to increase athletic endurance. Creatine is actually the same chemical that is in red meat and in our muscles, and is something that our body needs to turn ATP (ATP is essentially stored energy within your body) into actual usable energy. So essentially creatine’s scientific mechanism is that it allows the amount of usable ATP to increase.

The creatine will become extra effective once you have hit that first wall, and your body and muscles are beginning to slow. Creatine can help you push past that and increases your endurance and strength, resulting in muscle gains. Creatine should be drank with a healthy amount of water so the liver can properly metabolize it, an over time it will begin to cause you to gain water weight. This should be kept in mind when checking the scale after taking any.

Caffeine

Low doses of caffeine are also helpful. This obviously, as a stimulant, will increase your energy levels and allow you to get a better workout in. But users need to keep in mind that this is not something to be done without taking the proper precautions. Low doses of caffeine are best, as it is not wise to push your body past its normal limit. This is especially important to be heed because your heart rate could increase to a dangerous level if it is not monitored.

If you have access to caffeine pills, they are normally 200mg. You want to stick with around 60mg for the safest dose, and anyone with heart problems probably should not be going near supplements without talking to a doctor first. A soda is roughly 30mg, a coffee is 180mg, a Red Bull is 80mg, and black tea is 60mg. So either take a third of a caffeine pill, drink some tea, or have a half cup of coffee prior to the workout for the best aid to your routine.

For more information on workout supplements, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Meal Prepping Made Easy

It is no doubt that your life is busier than ever right now! Leading a busy life can make it hard to eat healthy. It is a lot easier to grab a quick pop tart, drive through a fast food restaurant or make a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner. That is why preparing your meals in advance is very beneficial! Whether you are trying to eat healthier, save some time or lose weight, meal planning will make sure that you reach those goals!

What exactly is meal prepping?

Put simply, meal prepping is just preparing some or even all of your meals a few days or weeks ahead of time. Think of it like having those easy, microwavable TV dinners, but so much healthier and better for you! The whole idea about meal prepping is that if you have your healthy meals ready to go, you will just go ahead and choose them over highly processed, unhealthy foods!

That all sounds great, right? So how exactly do you get started?

When you are just a beginner with anything it is really easy to get overwhelmed! So it is very important to not let this overwhelm you! For starters, make sure you aren’t trying to incorporate a lot of new things all at once. Start your meal prepping with recipes you are already familiar with and then the more comfortable you become, the more new recipes you can try.

1. Pick what day you want to start:

You should first pick a day to do your meal prepping on. Sunday tends to be the best day of the week for most because typically everyone is home for the day and you can get your family to help you out! If you would like to split it up into two different days, Sundays and Wednesdays tend to work out really well.

2. Pick the meals:

Start out by deciding if you are going to start with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Dinner meals tend to be the meal that you would receive the most out of your efforts, especially if you have a family! Once you’ve decided which meal to start with then the fun part starts! It is time to plan which recipes you would like to make!

3. Use proper containers:

Don’t just throw all of your prepared meals into tupperware bowls. When you do this you will just have one large pile of mush. That may not look appetizing when it comes time to eat! If you are preparing lunch, you can get specially designed containers that have separate spots for multiple lunch items such as your meats, rice, fruit and veggies.

If you are planning on freezing the dinners that you prepare, make sure that your containers are freezer safe! There is nothing like some freezer burn to ruin your perfectly good, healthy dinner!

Make sure you start off with just a few meals and as you grow comfortable you can add more and more! Hopefully this has helped you get started with your meal prepping to help make your lives even just a little bit easier! Enjoy your healthy, convenient meals!

Three Super Foods for Healthy Eating

Many diets focus on counting calories and limiting fat and salt in your food. While the emphasis is on what you shouldn’t eat and on limiting quantity that you eat, getting proper nutrition from food is also important.

Try adding the following three super foods to your diet for the nutritional push that it takes to be healthier in body, other than just avoiding those foods that are thought to harm you.

Chia Seeds

Long a staple in Mayan and Meso-American cultures, Chia seeds pack a nutritional punch that results in them being labelled a true super food. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, to the extent that two or three spoonfuls of the seeds will get you close to 50% of your daily recommended level. Fiber is essential for proper bowel and intestinal functioning, and is one of the key factors to a healthy lifestyle. Chia seeds also have significant amounts of protein, iron, calcium, and micro-nutrients which add to their overall health level. Ignore the high fat content on the bags (it’s the good fat anyway) and don’t worry about the calories.

Chia seeds are a super food you should be eating daily. Eat a tablespoon or two raw, or add them to salad dressings, yogurts, or shakes, and enjoy the benefits of this super food without even having to taste it (it’s slightly bland and a bit gelatinous in texture).

Berries

While most fruits are healthy additions to your diet, berries are a true super food. Low in calories and sugar, most berries are high in vitamin C, contain significant amounts of fiber, and are packed with antioxidants. The unique cell structure of berries makes them taste sweeter than they are, though they have a low sugar content. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries are the healthiest of the berry options.

This combination makes them a great addition to any diet and they are quite simply delicious and can be eaten raw, with any number of dishes, or packed into shakes. Avoid cooking berries though, as the nutritional content of them disappears when they are cooked.

Kale and Swiss Chard

Kale and Swiss chard have lately become popular foods and acknowledged for their strong contributions to your overall health. Leafy greens should make up a significant component of your overall diet and are packed with vitamins (C and A) and have significant amounts of fiber and antioxidants to boot.

Swiss chard is closely related to beets, but does not form the bulbous root that beets do. Kale is closely related to broccoli and cabbage. Still, the nutrition levels are the same. Kale and Swiss chard are spinach-like in nutrition and are affordable and tasty additions to your diet. They can be quickly sautéed with garlic and oil, or for a lower calorie alternative, steamed. Kale is commonly mixed with some olive oil and made into kale chips which can replace potato chips and other unhealthy alternatives in your diet.

Adding these super foods to your diet can add nutrition to your diet, which in turn can help to craft a healthier you. Look beyond calories and fat grams and find foods such as the aforementioned in order to grow into a healthier person overall. If you need further instruction or motivation come see our trainers at STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Yummm

Chicken breast, zucchini, and mushrooms sautéed in worcestershire sauce and topped with blackberries.

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