Oh how I wished I’d learned this lesson when I was 20!!!
How many times in the past have I said this to my own kids before a sporting event or practice: You have to FUEL your body and eat like you mean it!
I recently had an eye-opening conversation with a guy about his struggles to get through his work outs (Ladies, are you listening?!) This guy was almost a foot taller than me and twice my size so I was struggling to understand how he could be having such a hard time– and then it dawned on me. I asked him what he normally eats before he works out and I was shocked by his answer. While he knew to pair a complex carb with a protein source before he hit the gym, he was totally underestimating how much he needed to be eating!
You can imagine his surprise when I told him what I’d eaten BEFORE and AFTER my last leg work out: 4 egg whites, 2 servings of oats, 2 C. spinach (in my egg whites) and 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter–>then my leg workout –> then 8 ounces greek yogurt (plain), 6 oz. raspberries, 1 brown rice cake with another Tbsp. of peanut butter on top (and there are some leg days that I skip the post work out “snack” and have what most people would consider a “meal”). I’m not a big person, but my point is, you don’t have to be big to eat like you mean it.
I want my body to be able to perform when I put demands on it (and I also want my arms to grow) but neither of those things will happen if I skip breakfast or go under the misguided assumption that skipping meals or eating less will make my body use my fat stores for fuel (it doesn’t quite work that way).
Sometimes people get confused, “Well, I know if I eat more than I should I will get fat”, “I heard that you can gain weight even if you eat too much healthy food, so how do I know what to eat?” “I wish they’d make up their minds! One day they’re telling us to eat this, then they’re telling is not to eat that, it’s so CONFUSING!
*for a better explanation of why I can eat this much food and still not worry about gaining weight, read my post “The Ideal Serving Size…Are you eating more than you should?”
If you fuel your body with healthy foods, your body will use those foods to build muscle, repair cells, maintain optimal health AND provide you with much-needed ENERGY! The key word in that sentence, however, is healthy food. While it is possible to overeat healthy foods, you can eat larger quantities of some healthy foods and still end up consuming less calories.
*check out this post “What is a serving size?”
Remember, healthy food is FUEL for your body.