The last 14 months have been difficult for everybody.
With the gyms closing and indoor social gatherings being restricted, it has been so easy for health and fitness slip away from our daily routines.
In this post, our good friends at UNIT 13 Fitness shares a simple roadmap to returning to a level of health and fitness similar to what you had before.
- How to enjoy a night “out” without the guilt
- How to redevelop strength & fitness that you previously lost
- How to manage your nutrition / cravings.
- What to do when on a staycation.
How to Enjoy” A “night out” / few drinks
Firstly, its so important to acknowledge that we have been starved of social interaction. Therefore its more important than ever to understand that social interaction is needed.
Doing this over a few drinks can be something that we have ALL looked forward to for quite sometime.
Here are some tips on enjoying that evening with friends:
- Plan your drinking ahead of time – if you know you can have a good time on 3 drinks, drink 3 drinks, not 10 (easier said than done mind you!). Then plan what you will and won’t be drinking (see calorie table).
- Avoid situations that are conducive to eating poor food. The main ones are – takeaway after the nightclub (The outdoor bar these days…) , pub food , and hangover eating the next day. The best advice I can give you here is try head home before the nightclub ends and stay at your own place where possible.
- Plan the next day. Have food prepared ahead of time for the next day. Pick your favorite breakfast from the meal plan (one that you may be able to look forward to – poached eggs, avocado etc). If you can commit yourself to doing something you know you can’t be too hung-over for agreeing to take the girlfriend (or boyfriend) to Kildare village or Dundrum, or agreeing to take the kids somewhere, or going on a hike with a friend on the health buzz. All are disgustingly unbearable when hungover and may limit your intake and hangover if you 100% can’t back out of them.
- Offset drinking by…. Click Here to read more.
How to re-develop your strength and fitness:
Lack of energy… Stiff… Pains in places that you didn’t know existed. For some people they feel all 3. For others they simply feel a lack of spring in their step.
Simply because we have all been doing less. We have been going through a pandemic which for many means they haven’t moved their body much. That then causes our body to become weaker, especially if we haven’t been doing strength training or any “moderate manual labour”.
What to do?
We see a HUGE amount of our client experiencing this issue. Especially those who stopped training for the last lockdown and then it ended up being 5 months with no real movement… The big issue her is focus. We suggest to focus on 1 goal and work on that.
Start with a plan.
Ask yourself: What do you need?
- Strength training
- Breathing work.
From the above 3 its important to highlight your most important. At UNIT 13 we find that 2.7 hours per week of strength and conditioning style training (when programmed by PROFESSIONALS in a structured way) yields the best results.
A high quality professional coach will work with you on what YOU need in order to get you moving and feeling better ASAP. Therefore a strength and conditioning coach is your best bet.
Here are some helpful tips from coach Rob on how to schedule your weeks training:
Bonus video ‘Feel good in 10 minutes’
Pre and Post Workout Nutrition 🍎🥗
The Ultimate Guide To Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
Investing your time in the gym without adhering to a proper nutritional plan MIGHT result in wasted time and effort…
Quality nutrition is arguably the most important element of your training.
In this article:
- The areas you need to focus on when it comes to pre and post workout nutrition
- The purpose of focusing on pre and post workout nutrition
- Macro Nutrients
- Meal timings and what to eat before training.
- Snacking before training 30-60 minutes before.
- Food during exercise.
- Carbs and food after training
Eating before a workout gives the perfect opportunity to feed your muscles strategically as quality nutrition fuels our bodies for maximum performance. During exercise your muscles will fill with blood and become very sensitive to the nutrients you consumed. So why not take advantage of this process by giving your muscles exactly what they need to thrive?
You probably already know that if you eat too few calories you’ll loose strength and if you eat too many you’ll gain body fat.
But did you also know that ‘when’ and ‘what’ you eat is a major factor in your training? You’ve probably read about it’s importance online or maybe came across someone who tried to sell you an overpriced meal plan that made the ‘what’ and ‘when’ seem like overcomplicated biological science.
Fortunately, the science of knowing what and when to eat isn’t as complicated as sales people will try to make you believe. But it is very important.
Ultimately, it all boils down to calories in and calories out. But how and when you use those calories can make a massive difference.
The areas you need to focus on when it comes to pre and post workout nutrition are:
- Food Quality:
- Unprocessed high quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and vegetables
- Portion Control:
- Eat until your stomach is ¾ full and avoid stuffing yourself.
- Mindful Eating:
- Enjoy your food stress free, without distraction. Really concentrate on the flavours as you eat to enhance the digestion process. Eat slowly!
The purpose of focusing on pre and post workout nutrition is so you can ensure you get the following benefits:
- Sustained energy
- Boost performance
- Remain hydrated
- Preserve muscle mass
- Improve recovery
The nutrients you ingest will only stay in your bloodstream for a few hours so plan your pre workout meal 0-3 hours before your workout to get the maximum benefit.
Counting macros has become a bit of a trend in the fitness industry, but it is for good reason. Each macro has a specific role in your body and when eaten correctly at the right time, you can maximise your training sessions.
Protein helps to fight off hunger and food cravings. It is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle.
Carbohydrates affect your blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates give you a quick burst of energy while complex carbohydrates offer lasting energy.
Fats provide slow burning fuel for longer sessions.
3 Hours Pre Training
Consume a mixed meal with a low calorie beverage – preferably water.
The meal should consist of a fat, carb, protein and a mixture of vegetables.
The portion size will depend on various factors such as individual goals, metabolism, weight, or the duration and intensity of exercise. But the general rule to follow is:
2 Thumbs of fat
2 Cupped handfuls of carbs
2 Palms protein dense food
2 Fists of mixed vegetables
1 Thumb of fat
1 Cupped handful of carbs
1 Palm protein dense food
1 Fist of mixed vegetables
30 – 60 Minutes Pre Training
Eating a smaller meal before a workout is optional and depends on how you’re feeling on the day/ what you have already eaten that day. If you don’t feel hungry, you don’t need to eat.
If you are looking for an extra bit of sustenance, it is recommended you consume something in liquid form, such as a protein shake or smoothie.
The closer you get to a workout, the less time your body has to digest. You want to ensure that all your energy is being put towards the training instead of being split between training and digesting.
An example of a post workout smoothie is:
- 1 Scoop of protein powder
- 1 Fist full of vegetables (leafy greens work best)
- 1 Cupped handful of carbs (sweet potato, banana, berries)
- 1 Thumb of fat (avocado, flax seeds, coconut oil, nut butter)
- Low calorie liquid (water, unsweetened nut milk)
Choose foods that won’t bother your stomach, for obvious reasons.
The goal here is to maintain hydration. Generally, water should be the only thing you need throughout your workout. However, this is dependent on the type of workout, the intensity and duration, and your goals.
Resistance Training (Strength work):
Similar to the pre workout rule, if you’re going to have protein it will need to be in liquid form. Protein will help prevent muscle breakdown and can therefore lead to quicker recovery. You will only need a small amount, to control the breakdown (15g per hour).
I would only recommend this if you’re either looking to make serious gains, you train on an empty stomach (3+ hours since your last meal), or if you’re doing long intense training sessions/have multiple sessions throughout the day.
BCAA’s are a popular low calorie option to use during a training session for everyone as they provide essential amino acids and don’t require any digesting.
Carbs are good for providing an immediate fuel source, boosting performance and improving recovery. Again, liquid form is best. Consume a mixture of glucose, fructose and maltodextrin as these use different transport mechanisms.
I would only recommend this for long intense sessions, marathons, anyone on a high calorie diet looking to gain serious muscle mass or highly active individuals who struggle to get enough calories.
Fats are difficult to digest as they delay gastric emptying. They should therefore be avoided during exercise.
Getting the right nutrition after your workout is essential. If you fail to refuel your body with appropriate nutrition, your performance in your next session will suffer, your gains won’t be as good and you could even lose muscle mass.
Always choose real foods that have a blend of macros, micros and phytonutrients.
The goal is to help you:
- Boost Recovery
- Build Muscle
- Decrease inflammation
- Replenish Energy
- Improve Future Performance
If you trained on an empty stomach or only had something small pre workout, you should eat straight after your workout, or at the very latest one hour after your session. Simple carbs are best straight after a workout, as they are easy to digest and elicit an insulin response to build muscle and prevent soreness.
You might not feel hungry after your workout. If this is the case have a smoothie or any kind of liquid nutrition.
The best post workout shakes contains a 2:1 ratio of carbs-to-protein when gaining weight or 1:1 when reducing fat, e.g. protein powder of choice with a banana and nut milk/water. The fat in milk can delay the digestion process, which isn’t ideal post workout. You want the protein and carbs to be digested very quickly so they can go to where they are needed. This also means no flaxseed, nut butter, chia seed etc.
Your post workout meal follows the same rules and portion sizes of your pre workout meal. The most important macro to consume post workout is protein, in order to prevent protein breakdown and stimulate protein synthesis.
Carbs are good to maintain and restore liver glycogen, which will help protein synthesis. Choose a minimally processed, wholefood option with a small amount of fruit.
It is recommended to eat within two hours post training to avoid slowing recovery. How much you need to eat will depend on what you ate throughout the day. Always be mindful of your daily intake.
At the end of the day, the people who benefit most from meal timing are athletes. So if you’re only really looking to loose a few pounds, your main focus will be on energy balance (calories in and out).
However, these tips will help you to improve your performance in the gym and who doesn’t want to be able to last a bit longer or lift a bit more?
Everyone is interested in training their core!
Increasing core strength can lead to:
- Reduction in lower back discomfort
- Better posture
- Less trips to the physiotherapist.
This is a full 20 minute workshop explaining EVERYTHING you need to know about your core.
You cannot develop “ABS” by just doing core. That stems from a lot of good quality nutrition, lifestyle and other factors.
To get proper advice consult a professional coaching team (like ourselves) or a Nutritionist!
See Below for Slide Notes
Originally posted on UNIT13Fitness.ie. Shared with permission.