With exercise (aerobic or strength training) muscles are broken down, normally described as little tears in your muscles. This is where proteins and even grains come into play. The intake of protein after exercise helps to "repair" the torn muscles. The "repaired" muscles are in return stronger for future activities. Protein meal and snack ideas:
- Good protein meals: Beans! According to Runner's World (October 2009 issue) a cup of beans have an equivalent amount of protein as two cups of milk. Good bean meals include red beans and rice, white beans and rice, chili, soups (such as vegetable soup), or even salads. Be creative! Also note, beans serve as a good source of fiber to help keep you regular, and can also help reduce the risk of heart disease (which is the #1 killer in today's society). All around goodness! :)
- Good protein snacks: Protein bars, but be careful and don't over do it. Tuna is a good snack for protein, and is also low in calories due to being mostly water. If fish doesn't tickle your fancy try egg white. No you don't have to eat them raw like you see in movies. Just cook up an egg without all the cheese and butter because then you are adding unnecessary calories. Finally, a good snack with protein can be fruit. Fruit is pretty much good for most "nutritional musts".
Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins. Basically, amino acids are required to make protein. Different acids make different proteins, but that's irrelevant at this time. Amino acids meal and snack ideas:
- Good amino acid meals: Beans again! Also, meat is a good source. Cook your meat healthly. Bake or grill. Deep frying totally negates the benefits your meal is supposed to serve. Note that amino acids are pretty much found in most foods, but if you're looking to get a good fix beans and meats are a few ideas to resort to.
- Good amino acid snacks: Peanut butter! If you know me you know I love peanut butter, maybe too much. Peanut butter serves as a good snack. It's also a good source of protein. However, it is a little high in calories. A snack is meant for a modified meal. Therefore, don't eat the whole jar in one sitting. :)
Carbohydrates are the main energy source. Some diets say to stray away from carbs due to playing a role in weight gain. Remember that what you don't use as energy such as glucose (sugar), carbohydrates, and proteins they turn into fat. Fat requires more energy to burn off than carbohydrate and proteins do. Straying away from carbs is a bad idea since it is our main energy source. That's not to say some is good so more is better. It's simple, balance your intake. What goes out comes back in (assuming weight loss isn't the main focus). Good ideas for carbohydrate meals and snacks:
- Good carbohydrate meals: Pasta! Pasta can be as fancy, or simple as you want it to be. Prepare your sauce, depending if you want red or white, add what type of noodles you want, and finally add some meat and/or veggies. Vegetable soup is another alternative for a good source of carbohydrate. Not your typical vegetable soup, but soup with lots of beans, some type of meat, chicken broth, and of course veggies. The broth is loaded with a good amount of carbs.
- Good carbohydrate snacks: Bread, grains, and wheat. Add some nuts to some yogurt, or try a whole grain cereal.
Electrolytes, in layman's terms, helps to keep everything functioning as normal in the body. An imbalance can cause kidney failure as well as dehydration. Don't think after every workout you need to fuel back up on lots of electrolytes. Try eating some sort of fruit after a workout. Typically, you will restore the small amount that was lost. After a long workout it starts to become necessary to intake more electrolytes than you would normally. Dehydration is your a red flag to intaking more electrolytes due to the positive correlation between the two. If running long distance you should intake water roughly every two miles, then some type of DILUTED sports drink the next two miles, then water, then DILUTED sports drink, and etc. It is key that the sports drink is diluted because of the high sugar content. Some companies also make gel packs that are stocked with electrolytes. I have no insight with the gel packets. So read the package and take caution to anything new you are consuming.
Adding and maintaining these essential elements in your diet will help to recover broken down muscles, and keep your body hydrated. A good and healthy body helps decrease the risk of injury and disease!
Training Tip of The Week: Drink lots of water! Eliminate the empty calories such as soda, beer (well, not totally :) ), and sugar. Replace the empty calories with water; therefore, you are staying hydrated, and allowing those calories for a bigger healthly meals. Remember, when you feel thirty you are already dehydrated!
Training Song(s) of The Week: *Boyz/ MIA- Has a good tempo to keep you pumped.
*Chillin'/ Wale ft Lady GaGa- Thanks Ross! I don't like Lady GaGa, but this song is a goodie.