Ask Your Trainer: What Should I Eat Before and After I Train?

We’re back with another week of the Ask Your Trainer segment. We get this question a lot. “What should I eat before I train?”

Here’s our resident nutrition expert, Emily, with your answers:

Before Training:

You should try to  always eat something before you workout. What you eat depends on your individual tolerance.

Even a spoonful of almond butter or a half of a banana will be helpful. Try not to push your body on a completely empty stomach. You’ll be able to burn more calories in a session if you train after a solid meal or snack, and you’ll support muscle mass, which burns calories all day long just by sitting on your body.

On an empty stomach we tend to run out of gas during our workout, have brain fog and truly do not get the most out of our muscles.

There is lots of debate about working out on an empty stomach, one of which is that if you body is void of food, then it is void of glycogen, so your body will need to go to fat for energy.

Glycogen is the stored carbohydrate that your body uses as its preferred fuel source during exercise. The problem here is that the body doesn’t go to your fat stores. More often instead the body will go to your glucose rich muscles for an energy source, and save the fat for later.

Working out on an empty stomach will eventually lead to muscle breakdown.

Maintaining muscle =more fat burn.

So your best bet, have something to munch before you hit the gym. It doesn’t have to be much but something to get your body a little glycogen to convert to that energy rich glucose.

Try not to eat the hour or so before your workout. The ideal time to consume food is about two hours before the activity begins. Try to consume  protein, fat and complex carbohydrate will aid in your performance. Do not ever overeat!

Protein will help prevent more muscle damage than needed, it will also flood your blood with amino acids, this help build muscles, bigger and stronger.

Fat will assist in providing a little energy, without the blood sugar spike of a carbohydrate. Fats digest slowly so they help to maintain blood glucose and insulin levels and keeps you on an even keel.

Carbohydrate fuels your training and helps with recovery. It’s a popular misconception that you only need carbs if you’re engaging in a long (more than two hour) of endurance exercise. In reality, carbs can also enhance shorter term (one hour) high-intensity training.

So unless you’re just going for a quiet stroll, ensuring that you have some carbs in your system will improve high intensity performance. Preserves muscle and liver glycogen. This tells your brain that you are well fed, and helps increase muscle retention and growth. Stimulates the release of insulin. When combined with protein, this improves protein synthesis and prevents protein breakdown. Another reason why a mixed meal is a great idea. No sugary carb drinks required.

If you need to reach for something quick, roll some almond butter in oats on a spoon and head out the door. Or a protein shake with nut butter.

After Training:

After should always be protein & complex carbohydrate. Protein to aid in repairing/rebuilding muscle, and carbs to aid in building new muscle and to help get your body some glucose so you are not starving later. To make the most of your workout, eat within 2 hours prior to your sweat session.

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Somerville Personal Training Ask Your Trainer: How to Get Results

This edition of the Ask Your Trainer segment features kind of a loaded question.

How do you get results?

The important thing to know about this question is that results depends on what YOU view as important. If it’s not important to you, it won’t last long.

In this video Callie will break down exactly what you need to do using two simple strategies to get better results.

Check it out here:

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Ask Your Trainer: Why Do We Warm Up?

Warming up is key. Most people if left to their own devices however, won’t do enough of this. Check out this video where I break down exactly why you need to warm up and the importance of prepping your body before each training session.

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People Ask Me This All the Time

How do you find a balance?

I get this question a lot. Everyone wants to know how to get lean, eat right, get results AND still have a life.

In the beginning it’s hard. There is not a balance when you first start out. You have to dedicate yourself to your goals with laser focus. If you want to achieve them 80% of the way, you can still have pizza and ice cream once and a while.

If you want to change your body composition (how much fat and muscle you have) 100%, then you have to commit.

There’s no other way around it. You can’t have it all in the beginning. 

I’m not saying you have to adopt a steady diet of boiled chicken and broccoli at every meal. You can still eat delicious food, you will just have to stay within your daily goals and be sure to get your 4-5 training days in.

What about when you have hit your goal of body composition? Maybe you find a new goal and it becomes that you want to build more muscle or strength in certain exercises.

That’s where a lot of our clients are at right now. It’s a pretty cool thing to have happen. 

But what comes along with that is the dreaded word that everyone is searching for. Balance.

I was thinking a lot about this yesterday after a conversation with one of our clients.

I wanted her to make sure that she gave herself some compassion, not beating herself up during a particularly stressful time.

It got me to thinking about what balance means for me personally.

It’s knowing the difference between making excuses and having compassion for yourself.

Things will always come up in life. You have to determine whether you are making an excuse or whether you’re giving yourself a break and understanding that you can’t be perfect. Use your goals as your compass. Do your behaviors match up with your goals?

If not, then figure out what the real issue is. I am pretty sure the real issue is NOT that you just have to have that ice cream every night.

It’s probably a different trigger. Stress, fatigue (your body craving sugar) or boredom, maybe?

Are you making an excuse or giving yourself some compassion?

Have a great week,

Callie

P.S. If you’re ready to take the next step to finally achieving your goals and ditching the excuses then click here to fill out an application to the Durbrow training family.

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Ask Your Trainer: What’s up with Sports Drinks?

We get a lot of questions about Gatorade and other sports drinks. Are they good, bad or indifferent?

Here’s a blog post from Emily about the why’s and why nots of sports drinks.

Sports drinks are beverages made of water, sugars, and small amounts of minerals like sodium and potassium and sometimes other ingredients like fruit juice. They are made with specific amounts of sodium and sugar to make it easy for your body to absorb. Sports drinks claim to help improve how well you perform a sport by replacing the nutrients that are lost in your muscles. The original theory, and recipes for these drinks were great.

Theory: Sports drinks give you the carbohydrates (sugars) and fluid you need to fuel your muscles and stay hydrated. You may lose large amounts of water and sodium as you sweat.  Sports drinks help make sure that the sodium that is lost in sweat during exercise is replaced. The right amount of sodium in your body helps you stay hydrated; helps with muscle recovery, soreness, preventing dehydration, and providing stamina and increased endurance during strenuous exercise.

The problem now is the over consumption, the amount of sugar, artificial flavors, and oils that go into the drinks.

Sugar- The drinks are now too high in sugar. The body cannot absorb them very well during exercise. High sugar drinks can often increase the risk of dehydration and cause bloating, nausea or stomach upset.

Over consumption-Our body really doesn’t need a recovery drink unless we are doing more than 60-90 minutes of vigorous, INTENSE exercise. They are also useful when exercising in hot weather. Right now we are consuming them before, during and after any gym session not just the intense ones, and at times even without exercising.

The good news- If you do want to consume a recovery drink to help replenish minerals, sodium and electrolytes, there are more options without the excess sugar and toxins.  Coconut water is great. If you cannot tolerate coconut water, then look for a recovery drink without excess sugar, dies, and oils.

Or make your own:

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup orange juice- pure not from concentrate juice, freshly squeezed is the best.

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix, chill and serve

Makes four servings. Per 8 ounce serving: 50 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 160 milligrams sodium.

Options 2:

12oz of Water

3 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Pinch of Finely Ground Sea Salt

Add in your flavoring (smashed fruit, etc…)

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Screw Self Control

I have no self control.

If there is ice cream in my house, I will eat it.

If there’s a jar of almond butter in the cabinet I will also eat that. Maybe on top of the ice cream.

For that reason we don’t keep that stuff in the house, unless we purposely go out and buy it for a treat.

(not a “cheat”, BTW, I am over using that term. You should always be able to treat yourself)

Self control is like this mysterious thing that everyone tries to have, work on or fight.

Why?

Emotion trumps logic all the time.

If you “want” to eat ice cream, that will beat the crap out of all the “why I shouldn’t” answers you could ever come up with.

So screw the self control. Don’t try to fight it because you will 99.9% of the time lose. And if you don’t lose, you will make yourself miserable in the process.

What to do instead?

Set yourself up so that you don’t have to beat self control. Align your environment and your lifestyle to support what you want instead of fighting against it.

This applies to food, fitness and just life in general.

If you don’t want to eat crappy food, don’t have it in the house. If your husband repeatedly buys it, you have to have the conversation with him about what you’re trying to accomplish and ask him to get on board.

If you are a repeated snooze-button hitter, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you will get up (trust me, it works).

I’ve been trying to read more each day. Stuff that motivates me and puts me in a good head space. I get overwhelmed if I try to make myself read for 30 minutes each night. Not happening.

So I commit to reading 2 pages every day. That turns into at least 5 usually but at least I did something that aligns with my goals and changes my habits slightly.

If I was relying on self control and will power to “push through” and read 30 minutes a day, some days I would and then some days I wouldn’t do any. That doesn’t change my habit. Small increments each day is what makes progress.

So figure out the things that are getting in your way. Are you trying to push through them and beat them through sheer will power?

If so, instead make a list of all the things where you try that tactic and then figure out how you can change your environment or your lifestyle around that thing.

Now I know your next statement is going to be “but some things I can’t change.”

That’s true. But you can change how you react to them. Your attitude is always a choice. That’s another email for another day but there are plenty of things RIGHT NOW that you can adopt a new way of thinking around.

Let me know how this goes for you, I’d love to hear what you’re working on.

Have a great week,

Callie

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Durbrow Performance Training June Client of the Month: Shonda Ettienne

Congratulations to our June 2014 Client of the Month, Shonda Ettienne!

Shonda has been training at Durbrow Performance for just over 1 year and in that time she’s made one of the best transformations we’ve ever had. She has lost 87 pounds since starting with the training family last July.

Shonda is always one to push herself and she has an amazing way of being laser focused during an exercise and then being able to joke and have fun during the breaks, then turn the focus right back on.

It’s been amazing watching Shonda transform her body and each week she is able to challenge herself past just moving more weight. Now with more confidence she’s building her athleticism and pushing herself to try different exercises.

Shonda Push Ups 300x225 Durbrow Performance Training June Client of the Month: Shonda Ettienne

I was joking with her a few weeks ago that that’s the way it has to go- she loses more weight and her weights in the gym go up.

Shonda has hit a recent PR of a #235 Deadlift, she flips the #420 tire with ease and just yesterday started swinging the 40kg kettlebell.

In addition to her own success, we have heard from several clients about how much her transformation and journey has inspired them to become better.

Congrats again Shonda, you deserve it more than you know!

Shonda COM1 e1406230257122 Durbrow Performance Training June Client of the Month: Shonda Ettienne

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What’s the Deal with Bulletproof Coffee?

We got this question from a few different clients over the last month or so.

Bulletproof Coffee.

It’s all the rage in the Paleo and Primal communities, boasting huge energy boosts without the crashes, incredible mental clarity for hours on end and even improve fat loss results.

Sounds amazing, right?

This idea was spawned from Dave Asprey, also known as the Bulletproof Exec.

If you haven’t heard of Bulletproof Coffee or you have heard about it but you aren’t sure what it entails, here are the basics.

  • Organic, toxin free coffee
  • Kerrygold Grass Fed Butter
  • MCT Oil

You are brewing the coffee as usual and then adding the grass fed butter (Asprey recommends at least 2 tablespoons) and then also adding the MCT Oil (1-2 tablespoons).

The premise of this recipe is that the healthy fats from the butter will give you a ketonic energy effect, meaning your body will burn fats for energy and avoid any insulin spikes. The fats also keep you more full throughout the morning.

MCT (medium chain triglyceride), in this case found in an oil, has been shown to promote fat oxidation and weight loss because they passively diffuse from the GI tract and do not require any energy for storage or absorption.

The premise of Bulletproof Coffee is that you would drink a cup of this in the morning as your breakfast. The high fat intake will keep you full, help push your body to use fats as energy.

It does taste pretty good. When I tried this for about a month, I didn’t notice a huge change in my energy or focus. It didn’t hurt me, but it didn’t change my life either.

The other issue that comes up is when people do Bulletproof Coffee AND eat throughout the early part of the day. That just leads to an excess of calories and usually way too much fat.

If you like to drink your calories, then give it a try. I much prefer eating and focusing on quality foods instead of a hyped up coffee.

The one positive aspect I will take from this is that if you want to sweeten your coffee with something more natural and healthy, use a tablespoon of coconut oil. It has a similar premise to the MCT oil (which is flavorless) and tastes great.

Otherwise, skip the 400-500 calorie coffee and eat some real food.

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Don’t Focus on the Whispers

I like to make lists. On my calendar, on my phone, on my desk with a few sticky notes.

I realized after a while that my to-do lists were starting to have to-do lists.

Time to scale back. I still make lists but it’s all about the important stuff. I figure out what my most important tasks are and do those first. I believe this is essential when you’re training and working to lose fat or get in shape.

One saying that a mentor of mine uses a lot is “don’t focus on the whispers. Focus on the shouts.”

Too many people get wrapped up in the minutia. He was talking about
business but again, this translates over to health and fitness.

Does it really matter if you eat spinach OR kale? They are both great. Pick one. Or eat both. Just do it.

Which kind of protein powder is best?

Most of the time, as long as it’s not containing a lot of garbage and chemicals, it’s good. Just pick one.

If you spend your time focusing on the tiny pieces of the puzzle, you won’t make any progress.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t care but focus on the big picture of the questions I just asked. The big picture is, you are eating your green leafy veggies and a high quality protein to supplement your hard work in the gym.

Figure out what your end goal is. Come up with your WHY. Then work backwards and every time you come up with a “whispering” question, ask yourself if that aligns with your big picture goal or if you can focus your energy and efforts elsewhere.

Here’s the thing too, focusing on the minutia sometimes makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere. Focusing on the big stuff is hard, but that’s where the progress is. Keep working at it.

Have a great week,

Callie

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Cut the Sugars…Now What?

A few weeks ago Emily covered why you need to cut out artificial sweeteners. Take a minute to read this one.

Why you should cut artificial sweeteners.

Now, check out the follow-up to a lot of questions we received about what you should use instead. Here are Emily’s answers…

Best Options:

Organic Maple Syrup- (shocking I know that a girl from Vermont would recommend maple syrup) It is very sweet, comes from nature, has been around for years so we know it is safe, and our body knows how to process it. MPS is sweet enough that you can use very little and get a lot of sweetness and flavor.

Organic Honey- Honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Very sweet, comes from nature, has been around for years so we know it is safe, and our body knows how to process it.

Molasses- Very sweet, comes from nature, has been around for years so we know it is safe, and our body knows how to process it. Also offers the body nutrients like potassium, calcium, and iron.

Organic Green Leaf Stevia -Stevia is a sweetener made by purifying extracts from an herb that grows in South America. Stevia is available as a dietary supplement but not a food additive in the United States because of a lack of data regarding its safety.

This means you can buy packets to use in your coffee or for baking, but you won’t find it already added to packaged foods. You can now also by the herb and process it yourself. Stevia has been widely used in Japan for the past several decades without any apparent adverse effects.

It actually has no calories and tastes up to 400 times sweeter than sugar, but it can produce a slightly bitter aftertaste. It won’t raise blood sugar, and it may even help stabilize blood sugar levels. There is some debate out there if it causes sweet cravings when you consume large quantities.

Okay Options:

Brown Sugar – white sugar with molasses, so it does offer a little nutritional content.

Truvia – more processed version of stevia, made by the Cargill and Coca-Cola company. Although they start with raw stevia herb, it is not know what process they use to develop the granules. They also list “natural flavor” in their process without identifying the source.

Why are theses your best options? They pack a sweet punch so you can use very little. Some of them offer nutrients, and excellent flavor. However, let us cover one more time that you should avoid excess sugar/sweetness.

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