The Great Debate: Pre-Workout Fuel

16 10 2009

TGIF! TGIF!

Good morning FitFeat friends!  Are you so excited that the weekend is upon us once more?  I am ESPECIALLY excited because this weekend they are forecasting some 70+ degree weather and sunshine!  More chances for me to get some Vitamin D action!  😉

What a week it has been.  Have you noticed what’s been missing this week?  WOGGING!  My poor dogs.  They haven’t been out on a walk since Monday evening.  I’m a bad puppy-mommy this week!  I’ve had daily “social-cizing” plans and the rest of the time I’ve been glued to my PC in preparation for the upcoming blog move. 

Maybe yet today I’ll be able to get them out.   

Check out my new breakfast creation:

img 278

Now I know what you’re thinking:  “OMG what IS that?  It looks disgusting!”  But let me tell you this was one delicious little pre-workout fuel!  It is toasted Ezekial smeared with coconut oil (in lieu of vegan butter) and then smeared again with a MEDJOOL DATE!  Mmmm coconutty-datey sweetness!  Brendan Brazier (professional Ironman triathlete) says that coconut oil and dates are great exercise fuel:  the coconut oil has MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) that are more easily converted to energy by the body, not to mention easily-digested simple carbs in the form of the date. 

I often will eat half of a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar for pre-running fuel thanks to Brendan’s info.  That particular Larabar contains dates, coconut and coconut oil. 

I met up with my friend (and fellow personal trainer) at The Bluffs yesterday morning for a hilly run.  Wendy is a serious running pro, let me tell you.  She’s a multi-time marathoner (including the BOSTON which one must qualify to enter).  The only reason I’m able to run with her currently is because she is nursing a foot injury.  Notice I’m not saying “keep up with her currently” — because she still could have TOTALLY left me in the dust yesterday, I know it.  🙂 

We got in 3.62 miles of hills and dales.  It was a BEAUTY of a morning!  And I felt fantastic afterward.  Wendy, thanks for a great time – I’m looking forward to going again soon!

After that I hit up Starbucks to catch up with another friend and her adorable son, where I had a grande SOY STEAMER.  (Essentially that means I have Starbucks heat me up a nice cup of soy milk, with no coffee or flavoring, and then pay them probably 3 times what a whole container of soy milk would cost!)  Ahhh gotta love th SBUX.  (Thank you Magen for treating — that was very sweet of you!)

Riley never gets any photo love since Rascal is the ham of the family, so I had to get her in the shot.  See what she’s saying with her eyes?  It’s “why haven’t you walked me today, ya big jerk!”  🙂

img 282

Lunchtime meant it was time for me to get my major veggie fix.  I still don’t think photos do this salad bowl justice.  It is HUGE.  I measured yesterday and it is 11″ in diameter.  🙂  This one was chock full of spinach, heirloom tomatoes, yellow pepper, dulse, avocado, zucchini ribbons, kalamata olives, nutritional yeast, and pepper.  Dressed with extra virgin olive oil.  I ate every last bite and had a few baked potato chips on the side. 

img 284

A little Pecan Pie snack in the afternoon: 

img 285

And leftover “Lazy Girl Dinner” from the other night whenI had Amy’s Organic Southwestern Vegetable soup.  I had it in a mug with a  little raw goat cheddar and Mary’s Gone Crackers on the side.  Right back to the PC I went…  MSP had his last softball game of the season, so I was right back to the PC to get some more blog work done.

img 287

I did need an evening snack since my soup didn’t keep me full very long, so I made a bag of homemade microwave popcorn (1/4 cup of plain popcorn kernels in a brown lunch bag, fold up the top, microwave for up to two-and-a-half minutes or until the popping sounds are far apart).  No fake butter flavor, no crazy chemicals, no fumes that allegedly cause lung cancer.  Sprinkle with some sea salt and/or nutritional yeast, and munch away!  

img 290

I fell asleep while watching “The Office”.  Lame.  All the social activity of the day combined with a whole lot of sitting at the computer made Shari very sleepy…

***

So for today’s discussion, I’d love to hear how you fuel your workouts
Are you an “empty stomach exerciser” or a “fully fueled exerciser“? 

I definitely vary, depending on the situation.  For running, ideally I get it done first thing in the morning after just a cup of coffee (and maybe a bite or two of Larabar at the most).  I feel lighter on my feet and don’t experience ‘side stitches’ when I don’t have food in the system. 

But sometimes when I meet up with running buddies, it’s usually a little later in the day and I don’t like to go that long without food.  So I’ll try to eat something about 90 minutes prior to the outing (usually anything sooner and I get severe side cramps during the run).  Yesterday’s toast with the coconut oil and date worked perfectly.  I had some simple carbs, some complex carbs and the coconut oil.  The date gave me some quick energy and the sprouted grain toast gave me some sustained energy.  It was plenty for my run and held me over for about 3 hours until it was time for SBUX. 

Other forms of exercise (like my weight training and hiking) don’t cause me to have to overthink the food situation as much.  Weight training is usually first thing on an empty stomach.  For hiking I eat about 90 minutes for hitting the trail, then bring a Larabar in case I need it on the trail.

There are a lot of schools of thought as to whether you should work out on an empty stomach vs. being ‘properly’ fueled.  Some say that if you exercise on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, you’ll burn more fat (still burning the same number of calories, but because your glycogen stores will be lower first thing in the a.m. you potentially dig into fat stores sooner.)  On the other hand, there are those that say if you exercise without properly fueling for it, you will be causing a bit of catabolism of the precious muscle tissue we all work so hard to keep.

My opinion is this is highly individualized from one person to the next.   Feeling crampy or nauseous during a workout from a belly full of food isn’t something that will keep you coming back for more.  But feeling lightheaded or dizzy from not eating enough and hence lacking energy isn’t good either.   Base it off of how long or how intense the workout will be.  Common sense applies here.  Listen to your body and take note of how you feel so that next time you can make the right ‘tweaks’ to feel FANTASTIC during your workouts. 

Isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway?  🙂  I’d rather feel great during my workouts (which means I’ll be more inclined to do it again tomorrow, and the day after that, etc.) than be too focused on what percentage of the calories burned are from fat.  (Been there, done that…!)   Overall if you are moving your body regularly and eating nutritious foods, you’ll get where you want to go.

Let us know which side of the fence you’re on — drop a comment!

Alrighty friends, I’ve got a LOT on the plate today so I’m gonna get cracking!  Have a FAB FRIDAY! 

If all goes as planned today I may be back later on with the last notice before the blog moves.  If not, you’ll know I hit an speed bump… 😉  

See ya next time! 

— Shari B. =)

Advertisements




To Sprout or Not To Sprout?

14 10 2009

Good morning blogosphere! 

Thank you so much to those who shared their own sprouting experiences – I appreciate hearing from all of you! 

Upon reading some of the comments as well as websites discussing the toxins and bacteria potentially in sprouts, I will confess I’m torn. On one hand I hear experts touting sprouts as being the king of nutrients and digestability.  Then at the other end of the spectrum you have experts telling you to pretty much avoid them (especially alfalfa).  And I’ve been eating alfalfa sprouts EVERY day for months now, in smoothies, sandwiches, wraps. 

I feel at this point I’ll continue to eat sprouts in moderation.  I think, at least for me personally, the benefits outweigh the risks.  That may change as I continue to read up on the topic.

Therefore, my sprouting (ad)venture has commenced… but I think this first attempt isn’t going to go all that well.  We’ll see.  Not that I’m trying to send negative vibes out into the universe or anything 😉 I am starting with millet because that is what I happened to have on hand.  Reading into the instructions of sprouting millet, I learned that tray-style works better for this particular grain using 100% cotton cloth above and below it, as I’ve done here.

img 245

The issue I think I will run into is the rinsing and draining.  Once you get little shoots they say to be very careful because they can break easily.  Not sure how I’m going to manage rinsing and draining from this pie plate without moving the little buggers around!  I also read that some of the millet might ferment rather than sprout.  Plus I’m not even sure if what I have is hulled or unhulled millet.  And I’m quickly realizing in this dry climate that my cloth dries out CRAZY-FAST so I think I need something thicker like a washcloth. (Overthink things much, Shari??)  🙂

Time will tell!

What I DO know is that the sprouts I PURCHASE cost me about $1.99… so if I spend too much time on this experiment, I’ll be sticking with store-bought!  🙂

On the subject of millet, I did cook up a big batch of it to keep in the fridge.  So for breakfast yesterday I had a bowl of warm millet with almond milk, some raw honey and raisins.  It was a nice change from oatmeal.

img 244

It made for a perfect post-run meal after a chilly and VERY dark outdoor run.  MSP and I went out for three miles at about 6:20 and it was still pitch black out when we left.  I can be wide awake when I leave the house and then get out into that darkness and it’s like my body floods my system with melatonin because I get really sleepy again until the sun comes up.  Thank goodness for electricity or I’d be sleeping 16 hours a day during winters!

Midmorning I had half of a Cashew Cookie Larabar.  

img 246

I’ve had a small box of Sunshine Falafel ‘burgers’ in my freezer waiting for me to try.  Since I bought a huge tub of roasted red pepper hummus, I decided I’d break out the falafel burger for lunch before the hummus is gone!  (It doesn’t last long in this house!)  I used half of a sandwich thin as the base, with a schmear of hummus topped by a slice of heirloom tomato.   The Sunshine burger acted as the bun lid.  For some reason this picture makes it look like an Egg McMuffin, doesn’t it? 

img 249

It was definitely tasty.  A little drier than I imagined but that worked perfectly for a TOPLESS sandwich!  🙂

And of course, my large salad to go with my meal!

img 250

I spent most of Tuesday glued to the computer, working on and reading about taking my blog self-hosted this weekend.  I needed a snack that would allow me to still type, so just a quick handful of Mary’s Gone Crackers and the rest of the morning’s Larabar.

img 251

I made a hamburger potato casserole for MSP’s dinner which did require a little kitchen time, so when it came time to decide what to make for moi, I wasn’t feeling in the mood to cook anything.  Lazy Girl Dinner would have to suffice.  A can of Amy’s Organic soup.  Folks, let me tell you that these soups are pretty much the reason I have yet to actively seek out recipes for soup.  Amy make’s a kick-a$$ soup!!  Look at how chunky this soup is!  This one was Southwest Vegetable.  Even the little pieces of corn had grill markings on them.  🙂 I will definitely be stocking up on cans of this particular ‘flavor’.  I almost ate both servings, but decided to save some for another meal.  On the side was a piece of toasted Ezekial, with Earth Balance vegan butter and a sprinkle of garlic salt.

img 252

Sometimes cooking is just overrated when you can heat up an insanely quick dinner like this.  🙂

And last, my evening dessert:  in concept I thought this would be such a cute photo.  It SO did not turn out that way.  In my mind I was thinking “banana sushi rolls” with almond butter as my ‘wasabi’.  It didn’t plate up that well though and I got quite a laugh out of it.  For any South Park fans out there, I’ll just say that this picture brought to mind Mr. Hanky and leave it at that!

img 255

It did TASTE great though, with cinnamon, raw honey drizzle and the almond butter.  😉

If you are in the mood for a giveaway, hop on over to The Fitnessista’s blog where you can enter to win free VEGA Sport items.  She will announce the winner on Thursday morning so you have all day today to get your entries in.  You know I love my Vega products, so I’ve used up all of my three ways to enter that contest! 

OK, blog buds I have plenty more to say today but feel like I’ve borrowed enough of your time as it is so I’ll save it for another post!  I’m heading out to get my HIKE ON. 

****

Just another reminder for those who may not get to read daily:  FitFeat will be going self-hosted over this coming weekend (provided all goes well when it comes time to ‘flip the switch’!)  If everything goes as planned you should be able to find me at the same address I can be found at now which is www.fitfeat.com.  Currently that redirects you to this wordpress dot com blog location.  Over the weekend it should redirect you to the new location.  If you have any trouble finding the blog or notice something that doesn’t seem right, please email me at shari@fitfeat.com.

— Shari B. =)





Why I Pulled the Plug on Soda

10 09 2009

Mornin’ blog buds!

The countdown is on!  A week from today I’ll be on a plane heading back home to see my family.  Woot woot!! 🙂 I can’t wait! 

The FitFeature for today is about ol’ soda pop!  During my earlier dieting days, I would use a daily diet soda (or two or three) as a way to thwart cravings for sweets (or so I thought) while I was trying to keep my calories down.  As I began down the path toward more holistic and healing nutrition along with acid/alkaline balance in the body, I started to pay closer attention to the ill effects of pop (both diet and regular).  I’d read the bad things before, but sometimes we make changes when we’re ready to make them and not a second sooner.

I had drastically reduced my soda intake after the initial meeting with my acupuncturist.  But I later read “The Ultimate pH Solution” by Michelle Schoffro Cook and one statement in her book stopped my soda habit in its tracks:

“…you need to drink 32 cups of water (and expend tremendous amounts of energy that would be better used elsewhere in your body) just to neutralize the acidity of one glass of soda.”

32 cups of water?  Yikes! 

So that did it for me.  I may drink the very rare occasional mixed cocktail that will contain some soda in it.  But I certainly don’t want all this care and effort I’m putting into alkalinizing my body to be ruined by ONE CAN of pop!

You’d think that hearing how the phosphoric acid can lead to weakened bones would have convinced me first.  Or how the aspartame allegedly converts to formaldehyde in the body.  There is enough weight on the cons of soda to really consider switching it out for something better for us. 

Will you accept the challenge today to replace at least one soda with water or herbal tea.?  Give it a try.  Then maybe tomorrow, you might want to do it again!  🙂

One day maybe I’ll also give up my single daily cup of coffee as well, but I’m desperately holding on to the hope that there are still a few good reasons to drink it (like the antioxidants, reduced effect of lactic acid buildup during exercise.)  😉

Now on to yesterday’s feats & eats!

Weight Training (Legs / Shoulders)

  • TM warmup for 5 minutes followed by 3 sets of 20 rep ball squats for a muscle specific warmup. 
  • Straight-Leg Deadlifts 4 sets of 15, 15, 12, 12
  • Deep DB Squats 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Explosive Lunges 4 sets of 20
  • Overhead Shoulder Press  4 sets of 15, 11, 11, 8
  • DB Rear Delt Flyes 3 sets of 15, 11, 12
  • Ball Crunches with KB 3 sets of 15 reps

Today my hamstrings and traps are telling me they apparently had a good workout!

My morning started with my antioxidant-rich cuppa JOE  😉  hahaha

Pic3 074

Post-workout BLENDED GREEN GOODNESS (banana, 2 clementines, spinach, sprouts, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 cucumber, scoop of rice protein powder, 8 oz water):

Pic3 075

I had a friend over for lunch so we had soup and salad under the umbrella on the back patio.  It was gorgeous out!  We had a very relaxing time catching up.  The salad had spinach, arugula, romaine, zucchini ribbons, sundried tomatoes, red pepper and cucumber.  I topped mine off with Greek vinaigrette. 

Pic3 080

Pic3 083

My afternoon snack had a lemon theme going on!  Larabar “Lemon Bar” flavor (OMG a new fave Larabar, it was AWESOME!!!!  I thought I was eating lemon loaf!) and a Ginger Lemongrass herbal tea to go:

Pic3 084

I had a handful of raisins around 5:00 to hold me over till dinner because we took the dogs for their quick 2 mile WOG in the evening.  We had some errands to run for our living room project so we picked up some falafel on our way to Home Depot.  Mmm, hummus!  Tabbouleh!  Falafel!  Something pickled (not sure what it is but it tastes really good!)

Pic3 085

Pic3 088

I don’t think they gave me enough falafel!  (6!)  I ate 2.5 of them.  MSP took one, and the rest came home.  Not sure how they’ll reheat, guess I’ll find out today!  

OK friends, off to get this Thursday started!  Have a fantastic day and I’ll see you next time!

–Shari B.  =)