I was recently approached by Petro with ETB Fit about writing a blog that covers a few of my fitness habits, such as what I count on to fuel my workouts and help me recover from them. While I’ve written myriad nutrition articles on the latest health and fitness news, as well as interviewed individuals to seek their wisdom and advice, I haven’t shared much about my personal go-to’s and favorite products.
Now, before I go any further, I want to highlight the word I just wrote above: personal. Every one of us is different. Just as we are attracted to different cars, colors, and clothing styles, we naturally gravitate to unique, idiosyncratic, sometimes eccentric ways of doing things, from how we cook our eggs to how we fold our clothes. And no matter what the latest best-selling book or celebrity trainers tell us and try to sell us, most of us will stick to products and habits that we enjoy and find sustainable – not what a company, authority figure, or humble blogger like myself tries to convince you is best. So, while I hope you find this post helpful, I am by no means recommending that you must do as I do, eat as I eat, train as I train, etc. I simply want to give you my perspective, and if something herein is insightful in some small way, then that’s awesome! But always stay attuned to your body and respect the way God created it. Let Him be the ultimate Trainer, Nutritionist, and Physician in your life. I promise He’ll never steer you wrong!
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
-Psalm 23:1-2, NLT
What I eat and drink before a workout depends on the time of day I train. For instance, if I plan to work out two hours after waking, I’ll eat a balanced breakfast that features plenty of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, as well as simple carbs, like fruit. If I’m working out within thirty minutes or an hour of eating, then I’ll nix the protein and fat because those macronutrients take longer to digest and draw oxygen and energy-delivering blood into your stomach and away from your exercising muscles. They also carry a greater risk of giving you a stomachache during your exercise!
An example breakfast:
- 1 serving organic oatmeal topped with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and diced apple or berries (might sound like an odd combo, but I’m being honest!)
- 1 whole egg scrambled with ¾ cup liquid egg whites and handful of spinach (sometimes I add ketchup to this :))
- 1 cup green tea
An example of an afternoon, between-meals pre-workout snack:
- 1 slice cinnamon-raisin Ezekiel bread with half a banana on top, drizzled with honey
As far as pre-workout supplements ago, I’m a huge fan of Cordydapt N.O. from a company called My Natural Force. It’s full of organic super roots and antioxidants that increase athletic performance on a cellular level. It aids in increasing blood flow and muscular endurance through increased N.O. (nitric oxide), and battles fatigue, thanks to free radical elimination. It’s also completely free of stimulants, unnecessary fillers, and artificial ingredients, the latter of which I detest!
When I train in the morning, I very rarely have any caffeine, save for my cup of green tea, which doesn’t contain much. Occasionally when I work out in the afternoon, I’ll feel the need for a pick-me-up and reach for another product from My Natural Force called Raw Tea. (Warning: I don’t advise drinking this after 4 p.m. as it will leave you tossing and turning in bed until 1 a.m. when your energy stores, at last, are depleted! I actually just take 2/3 of a scoop, and it’s still potent!) Like Cordydapt, Raw Tea is blended with natural herbs, roots, fruit extracts, and superfoods like bee pollen, royal jelly, beet root, and elderberry. The I-might-be-turning-into-the-Tasmanian Devil feeling is produced by the guarana seed extract.
Immediately after I finish my workout, I reach into my gym back and pull out my jug of naturally-sweetened BCAAs (branched chain amino acids that your body does not produce naturally) from a company called MRM. BCAAs are important after exercise because they help reduce muscle fatigue, speed up recovery, decrease the loss of other amino acids from your muscle during exercise, and help the body absorb protein.
Since your body can not manufacture BCAA’s, they must be supplied through your diet. These amino acids are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue during physical stress and intense exercise.
Thirty minutes to an hour after my training session, I always have a meal. Sometimes this is a protein shake blended with fruit and egg white protein (I’m sensitive to most whey varieties of protein) if my session was in between full meal times, but more often than not, I go ahead and eat “real food,” such as chicken or lean beef for my protein source and a high-glycemic carb source, such as rice, potatoes, or fruit. I say “high glycemic” because after a workout, these foods will increase the production of insulin, an anabolic hormone that enhances amino acid and glucose absorption. This, in turn, aids in muscle recovery.
On workout days, our bodies are exposed to more stress and higher calorie burn. So, to ensure my blood sugar remains level and my energy stores are not depleted overnight, I have a high quality, easily digestible protein snack, like non-fat Greek Yogurt sweetened with stevia and drizzled with a little raw honey. Honey has actually been shown to be a sleep aid!
Most of the time I’m at our gym, CrossFit 925, there’s a class going on, or I’m coaching or participating in a class, so I listen to whatever is playing and try not to complain too much ;-). If I’m in the gym by myself, I listen to whatever I’m in the mood for, be it Praise and Worship, Classic Rock such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Steely Dan, and most recently, Electronica (I’m a huge Linsey Stirling fan. You’ll be able to see why by playing the video below!)
Accountability is HUGE for me when it comes to continuing to make progress, which is what keeps fitness fun, at least to me. I’m blessed to be able to work with one of the finest trainers in Texas. He introduced me to strength training when I was a junior in high school, and even though we live at opposite ends of the state, he still programs strength routines for me! He designs workouts that, at first glance, intimidate me and make me raise an eyebrow as I think, “He thinks I’m capable of that?! He’s crazy!” But I trust him one-hundred percent and know that, like so many people, I often sell myself short and am actually capable of doing much more than I think I am. Having a trainer or someone to encourage you, believe in you, and answer to makes a world of difference when it comes to reaching your goals, be it a fitness goal, a relationship or career goal, what have you.
I’m also blessed to be a part of one incredible community. CrossFit 925 is filled with individuals who genuinely care for their fellow athletes and root for them every workout. We have each other’s backs. We bother each other when we miss class for consecutive days. We pull each other up when we’re resting too long in between rounds or sets. We high five and fist bump each other when we finish a workout. It’s tough to become un-motivated within an atmosphere as supportive and enthusiastic as this one. I hope those of you reading can find something similar in your neck of the woods!
I hope this post has been helpful to you in some way! Thank you to Petro for asking me to write it! I think it’s healthy every now and then to take the time to reflect on your health habits! I encourage you to do the same, and if something needs tweaking, don’t hesitate to make a change! 😀
Also, I encourage you to check out the EBT Fit website not only for their products, but for their healthy yet delicious-looking recipes as well! I have to be honest and say I have not yet tried their products, but from what I’ve read and heard, they are a topnotch company that prides itself on the quality and integrity of their pre-workout fuel and other supplements.
 https://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-top-6-ways-to-improve-your-sleep-using-food/ (accessed August 6, 2015)