Sometimes, The Body Knows More Than The Mind

About two weeks ago, my friend Christine texted me a question that arose from my blog. Due to unfortunate circumstances, it took me this long to answer (though I did answer her in person right away, for the record). She was curious as to what I do with eating before a workout. It all depends on the time of my workout and if I’m in a crunch or can take my time.

If I’m heading to a class in the morning or otherwise occupied in the afternoon and need to fit it in, I am no stranger to eating something on the way to the gym. It sounds like a crime, which is why I said it with italics. I give myself every second of sleep that I can afford, so yes, there are often times that I am in a rush, chugging gallons of water, sips of coffee, and snarfing down a quick peanut butter wrap to rev up my metabolism and fuel my workout. I’m only mildly ashamed.

Strange thing though, it works for me.

I keep my meals quick and easy in these circumstances, sticking to carbs and protein. My favorite is the aforementioned peanut butter wrap, which includes a whole wheat tortilla and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Boom. Perfection in an oddly wrapped cylinder. Another excellent combination is a hard-boiled egg with a cheesestick or a handful of trail mix- Trader Joes’ peanut butter cup mix is a personal favorite. A banana and peanut butter will never steer you wrong, but I tend to avoid lots of fruits and veggies right before working out because they fill you with fiber and don’t leave you feeling light and airy.

Before heading out to a Zumba class my friend Shonna teaches, I had a little bit of extra time, so I found a recipe online to try for something a little different.

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I know you’re confused because I would be too if I hadn’t made it. Looks a little eggy, but doughy as well, yeah? Well, it’s a protein pancake made mostly of egg whites with some oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and mashed banana. It was also huge without being too filling. I topped it with some butter and syrup to sweeten it up. Though the texture was strange, it wasn’t altogether terrible and I did enjoy it. It also didn’t sit in my stomach like a rock while I was hopping around in Zumba, so yay!

My post-workout snack included this big bowl of kefir filled to the brim with strawberries, blueberries, and a couple of almonds thrown on top for a hit of fat and crunch. Between yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese, I like kefir the most because it’s tangy like frozen yogurt and smooth. Note, don’t love chunks!

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I kept my workout to Zumba today because I’m nursing a sore calf. Not sure what happened, but it started hurting yesterday while I was training, so I’ve been stretching and rolling it out every few hours. Yesterday, I did fit in a quality run. My calf wasn’t aching or sore during it, so I think the movement actually helped stretch it out. Since it’s so nice out again today, I’ll try to stretch it out with a walk in a little while.

Back to today’s main topic, eating before a workout, if I have a few hours, I stick with my normal eating routine, typically enjoying a good sized breakfast (favorite meal of the day!), drinking tons of water, coffee and tea, and then about an hour and a half to two hours of digesting, I’m good to go for a strong workout!

Obviously this would vary depending on the type of workout you are about to do. I find that when I’m running, my body is very fickle and I’m still trying to find balance for it. For instance, there is such a thing as having too much water during a run that it bloats and makes you have to pee- not a fun feeling when you’re trying to keep stride and very distracting- or not enough that you’re dehydrated and not energized. Same goes for food because your stomach can’t be too full, but it also needs something to burn for energy. The only workout I find that I don’t want to eat beforehand is during Yoga, but even then I usually pair it with some form of cardio, so I need something.

Eating in general can be overwhelming. There is so much information out there that tells us “exactly” what we should do and that “exactly” changes about every two-three days depending on all sorts of studies. Stay educated, even while reading through different articles and following advice. Every single thing that works for me, will not work for you and vice versa. Our bodies are machines that operate in similar ways, but even when the mechanics are the same, we’re all so different. Explore a little, see what works and what doesn’t and make note of it. The very best thing you can do to and for your body is to listen to it. It tells us what it needs.

I think I’ll do another post somewhere down the line about what to eat post-workout. When our bodies are hungry and revved up, our brains sometimes confuse signals with what we should be eating versus what we want to be eating. Balance, my friends. Balance is a challenging, but necessary part of life.

With anything, just keep trying, accept failure, measure success, and enjoy the process.

True Life: Sometimes I’m A Slob :(

Whoops! This posted before it was ready. This is what happens when I’m super organized and have it written and scheduled for the day ahead.

I want to first mention how sad I am to hear about Alan Rickman’s passing. I didn’t know David Bowie as much, but I know he was a fixture of so many people’s lives. With Alan Rickman, he brought a character to life so beloved in my memory, Snape, and my childhood, that I can’t help but mourn. RIP to the both of them.

I’m embarrassed to admit that my room is not the tidiest and coziest it can be. To the outside world, I am an organized person. I made two different versions of flashcards when studying for my test. I used to rewrite my notes from school. My calendar is in both written and wireless formats.

I just also have a terrible tendency to drop my clothes where they are, in part (and this sounds horrible, I know) because I have too many clothes filling my closet.

Listen. Okay. When I first got my office job over a year ago, I went ham at the store thinking I needed all of these clothes. And then I was making money to buy more clothes. And I wore such cute outfits (in my opinion) for the eight or so months I was working in the office.

Then, spoiler alert!, I quit that office job to start working in a gym that requires a somewhat bland uniform of black pants and a white or black shirt underneath a work-mandated jacket. Now I only wear a handful of the clothes in my closet along with exercise outfits and I won’t complain, especially if that’s really the only complaint I can offer, but my closet is kind of a sad place right now. All of those pretty and fancy clothes (so many dresses) just sitting there. So yeah, sometimes the not so pretty and fancy, but very well-worn clothes get tossed to the ground when I come home.

I’m sure one day I will find cause to wear them again, which is why I’m holding onto them, but I have donated certain items I won’t wear. So, in conclusion, this was a long-winded way of telling you that I need to do some organizing in my life.

It’s been a strange sort-of six months (seems longer and not long at all somehow), what with studying and passing my Personal Training test and now transitioning into that career, while figuring out where and who I want to be (but isn’t that just life?) Since graduating from college, I’ve found my life to flash in a series of unsettling moments and constant changes, but I know this is not a bad thing. It’s just a different thing, less comfortable. But when I feel a little (note, a lot) insecure about the happenings of my life and I allow the little details that I can control slip, I start to feel much more hectic than I should.

Long story short, I’ve got to pick up those damn pants and clean out my closets (I know, I’m the worst), and straighten myself out. Scary, fun, amazing, challenging, difficult, and inspiring things are happening, if only I keep a clear mind, heart, and soul.

You’re “welcome” for the rant, but I think most people just come to see the food.

We’ll start with last night’s dinner. Chicken cacciatore with whole wheat pasta, peppers, zucchini noodles, and asparagus. So.Tasty.

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We move onto this morning’s breakfast of this Champion. I can call myself a Champion sometimes because if not, who else would?

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The workout of the day will consist of Zumba taught by a friend! Followed up with some kickass kettlebell training I’ve strung together.

Happy and healthy living! Don’t be a slob (like me)!

I’m Running Out of Clever Titles for Workout Wednesdays

(And yet, I’m still able to fit a pun in there!)

Lately, I’ve been doing my regular workouts too late in the day and I feel as though I’ve fallen off schedule. This keeps me up later at night because I have so much energy, but at least it’s getting done. In the summer it can be hard because it’s so hot outside, but also so nice so it’s hard to get the motivation to go to a gym.

Last Tuesday’s workout was a nice run, but incredibly sweaty run around my neighborhood. Even though it was a bit more humid than I prefer, I found the perfect time to go when the sun is still shining, but not as bright.

Wednesday I had a strength workout with the barbells, performing each exercise three times with sets of ten. Lately, I’ve been doing Tabata intervals on the bike, which means cycling 20 seconds as fast as you can and resting for 10. This high intensity cardio only lasted about five minutes as it is more tiring than it seems. I coupled it with a couple minutes of jump rope.

On Thursday, I did a very brief body strength workout consisting of deep squats, lunges, push ups, and . After, I went to Zumba with my friend Nouha, which was a good workout and something fun to add in with my other workouts.

The weekend did not include a lot of regular exercise sessions. I only got a barbell strength workout in as well as another cycling Tabata session before starting my weekend. I was far too busy on Saturday having brunch with my sister, sweating my way through Harry Potter trivia, and spending time with my family. I should have been more proactive on Sunday, but it was technically a day I was going to run and by the time I could have gone without it being so humid, I was off to spend another evening with my family. Instead, I played a brief game of kickball with my cousins, which is far more important than a run anyways.

Feeling a little guilty, but more itching to get back to it, I did a barbell strength workout on Monday, again with three sets of ten before going to the track to run. My legs were so sore from my strength workout (I don’t usually run on the same day as I use weights) that I was only able to run a little over two miles and walk another two. It felt good to get moving again though.

Last night I forced myself to leave the comforts of my own pool and head back to the gym so I could swim longer laps. I could definitely tell the difference, so it’s something I need to remember when I’m trying to motivate myself in the future. I also took my dog on a long walk that he wasn’t very happy about, but in fairness, the heat affects him more than me, so he took awhile to recover. I also had the pool to help refresh me.

Finally, tonight, I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it because I spent this very hot day swimming in my own pool with my cousins Erin and Mikey, then had dinner with my friends Lauren and Andrea. It was difficult dragging myself to the gym so late, after delicious ice cream, but I made it and did a kettle bell strength workout. This time, I performed three different circuits, choosing four exercises and doing three sets of twelve before moving on to the next circuit. After, I did a quick abs workout before another Tabata cycling session.

I may have gone reluctantly, but my body will be happy tomorrow when I run and don’t have to worry about getting a strength workout in with weights! No matter how I feel beforehand, I always become invigorated, energized, and focused after a quality workout.

The key is taking that first step!
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