11 Ways to Improve Endurance

 

So you wanna be a superhero? Me too. Let’s start with endurance.  I’ve got the research, now all you have to do is put in the effort. Here’s my 11 tips:

1. Train

Think you have to keel over to improve your endurance? Think again. According to the ACE Personal Trainer Manual 5th edition, studies have shown that endurance improvement favored those who had performed more zone 1 training.

80% of training should be done at intensities where speech is comfortable (zone 1) and only about 10% of training should be performed at intensities above VT2 (zone 3, where blood lactate increases significantly).

It would make sense that this 80% zone 1 training should, for the most part, be performed relatively high in zone 1.  So, if you are just getting into endurance activities like running, just getting started will improve your endurance.  However, to really get your speed up and improve, get a little uncomfortable with the “talk test.” Can you sing comfortably while you are running? If you can, then you can definitely try to go a little faster. Get on those hills, and laugh fearlessly at your struggles!

2. Hydrate

Did you know that muscles are 70-75% water? That’s right! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, muscle is only 15-20% protein, 5-7% fat, glycogen, and minerals.

Why is hydration important?

  • Temperature regulation
  • Blood volume + blood pressure
  • Keep organs, kidneys, cells, working optimally
  • Prevent dehydration

Things to consider:

  • Weather
  • Clothing
  • Your personal sweaty-ness

According to the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE):

  • ~4 hours before the event, drink 3-4 cups of water + weigh yourself
  • > during the event: definitely varies, but drink about ½ cup water every 20 minute
  • after event drink about 2 cups of water for every pound that you lost during the event

IMPORTANT: Prevent depletion in electrolytes like sodium and potassium as those are necessary for muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation which, if low can cause cramping, twitching and even heart issues. These electrolytes may be excreted with sweat

In general, water alone should be fine to rehydrate, but if it is extra humid or you lose 3% or more body weight during the event I recommend a natural electrolyte beverage like coconut water and / or datorade.

Dateorade:

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ lime or lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 dates
  • maybe a pinch of Himalayan salt or dulse flakes

Blend for about 1 minute. This provides natural sources of electrolytes, antioxidants and nutrients without the added colors, flavors, or refined sugars and is a great go-to beverage before, during, and after an event.

3. Carb Load Correctly

FACT: Activity that lasts longer than several hours depletes glycogen stores. Carbohydrates consumed during exercise helps endurance athletes maintain a fast pace; fat is used more efficiently for fuel as exercise continues. Protein is a very minor fuel source during endurance exercise.

PROTEIN: it is important for repairing tissues, making enzymes + hormones, transporting nutrients, making muscles contract, regulating water balance. However, if you don’t consume enough carbs for your high energy demands, the body will use protein for energy instead which is EXTREMELY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO YOUR PHYSICAL GOALS! Although protein may supply energy, extra amounts are not your best fuel. While carbs are stored in the muscle and liver as glycogen to be used for quick energy, excess protein is stored as fat, and not used for energy if you already consume enough calories. In general, protein should supply 10-35% of overall calorie intake which is met easily without powders or supplements in a balanced whole foods plant based diet. Since athletes usually eat more with a good appetite, they easily get the protein and nutrients they need. Protein requires more fluid in order to be metabolized because we need to excrete the toxic nitrogenous waste as urea so can lead to kidney issues, dehydration, cramping, and fatigue.

Energy need for endurance sports depends on body size, duration of activity, and overall effort. An elite athlete may need 4000-6000 calories daily, chosen from a high carbohydrate diet. Don’t worry about calculating your protein because if you are eating a balanced diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, and are eating enough calories, the protein in these foods will add up to be enough protein.

7 days before the event:

  • Days 1-3 Moderate-CHO diet of around 55% of calories, in general, recommendations are 45-65% of calories should come from carbohydrates
  • Days 4-6 Increase to high carbohydrate diet of about 80% of calories
  • Dinner before the event: >80% calories from carbohydrates

4. Four Hours Out:

Simple balanced meal should be fine. Try to keep it around 500 calories and under to prevent fatigue and slow gastric emptying. If you are nervous it is ok to eat less and eat more simple carbs like fruit or fruit juice 1-2 hours before the event

5. Pre Workout

While what you eat pre-workout is very important, it is essential that the previous workout was properly recovered from and that we eat a healthy balanced diet with adequate calories and nutrients on a daily basis.

Day of the event: If in the morning, I recommend staying light with datorade or fruit juice beverage. Within 1-2 hours of event, The food eaten should be around 200-300 calories, high in carbohydrate to maximize blood glucose availability, and low in fat and fiber to minimize GI distress and facilitate gastric emptying, it should be moderate to low in protein, and known to be well tolerated by you. A go to for before, during, and after workouts.

6. During Event

During extended training sessions, lasting longer than 1 hour, and especially in extreme heat, cold or high altitude, exercisers should consume 30-60g CHO / hr of training to maintain blood glucose levels.

30-60 grams of carbs looks like:

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 5-6 dates.

7. Post Workout

Eat in abundance! It is counterproductive for endurance athletes to restrict. The best meals post workout include an abundance of carbohydrates accompanied by some protein. ACE recommends about 2.2 grams of carbs for each pound of body weight to be eaten within the first 30 minutes after exercise and then every 2 hours for 4-6 hours. A diet of whole plant foods consisting of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit that is sufficient in calories should provide adequate post-workout carbohydrates and protein.

8. Prevent Pain

Prevent oxidative stress and reduce cell damage and muscle pain with: Antioxidants

  • Antioxidant power aka the power to protect our cells from damage was significantly increased with banana beverage versus plain carbohydrate beverage
  • Cherry juice was shown to decrease perceived pain significantly in runners versus placebo cherry flavored drink
  • There are lots of studies out there on various plant foods, when choosing fuel to prevent pain, recover quickly I recommend whole plant foods

9. Improve Oxygen Utilization

Yes, Nitrates are components in plant foods like beets, spinach, celery, and arugula that can cause athletes to perform intensely with less oxygen needed. Crazy!

In a study with cyclists, beet juice compared to current juice improved oxygen utilization by a whopping 20% which is quite significant. Drinking beet juice is so powerful that it can bring someones high blood pressure down within 3 hours. Also, pharmaceutical companies use this concept for patients with chest pain to help with blood flow. These drugs are called nitroglycerines. You know another nitrate drug? It’s called Viagra and it certainly improves blood flow but you might as well just eat your vegetables.

How do nitrates work? Bacteria in our saliva convert it to nitric oxide. HOWEVER be sure to not use antibacterial mouth wash because this has been shown to deplete healthy mouth bacteria and therefore inhibit the conversion of nitrate to nitric oxide to allow us to oxygenate our blood.

10. Build Blood

Think you don’t need to eat your greens? Ever been to a smoothie joint that sold wheatgrass shots? One thing that wheatgrass juice is dense in is that dark green pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has been shown to increase hemoglobin in anemic rabbits. Hemoglobin is the component of blood that carries oxygen and as you can see is very similar to chlorophyll in dark leafy green vegetables. I recommend eating about 5 cups of leafy greens daily.

11. Adequate REST

Symptoms can be both physiological and emotional and are highly individualized.

Signs/ symptoms of overtraining:

  • decline in performance with continued training
  • sleep disturbances
  • weight loss
  • multiple colds / frequent sickness
  • irritability, restlessness, anxiousness
  • loss of motivation / vigor
  • lack of mental concentration / focus
  • lack of appreciation for things that are normally enjoyable

Best way to prevent overtraining is with periodization: alternate easy, moderate, and hard periods of training. Generally, one or two days of intense training should be followed by an equal number of easy training days. A week or two of hard training should be followed by a week or two of easier effort.

Today you learned

about hydration, the talk test, carbohydrate loading, what to eat pre, during, and post workout, how to prevent muscle soreness, how to increase oxygen utilization and how to build blood and prevent overtraining. Get out there and awaken your inner athlete! Give this video a thumbs up, leave your comments below, and remember. Deep down, you truly are a morning person. Wake up and live, Reines and shine!

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Doping with Beet Juice” : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/doping-with-beet-juice/

Dr. Michael Greger’s “Enhanced Athletic Recovery Without Undermining Adaptation” : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/enhanced-athletic-recovery-without-undermining-adaptation/

Cherry Juice Study: G. Howatson, M. P. McHugh, J. A. Hill, J. Brouner, A. P. Jewell, K. A. van Someren, R. E. Shave, S. A. Howatson. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 20(6):843 – 852.

Beet Juice Study: Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology. August 6, 2009. 107: 1144-1155.

Antibacterial Mouthwash and Nitric Oxide: Goconi M, Janasson E, Weitzberg E, et al. The increase in plasma nitrite after a dietary nitrate load is markedly attenuated by an antibacterial mouthwash. Elsevier. 2008. 2: 171-177.

Anemic Rabbits Study: Hughes JH, Latner AL. Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration after Hemorrhage. Journal of Physiology. 1936. 612 (119) :338-395

Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin: Hughes JH, Latner AL. Chlorophyll and Hemoglobin Regeneration after Hemorrhage. Journal of Physiology. 1936. 612 (119) :338-395

RL Duyff. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

American Council on Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/

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Peanut Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites | 5 Ingredients – Gluten-Free – Vegan

Peanut Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bites

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Need a pick-me-up?  These are the perfect little ball of energy.  And, honestly, something about unsalted dry roasted peanuts and raisins makes my heart sing.  If I had cocoa powder or maybe vegan chocolate chips, those would throw these balls out of this world! So, take what I made, and make it even better! xx

Makes 8 balls, about 90 calories each

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Optional additions to try:

  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut

Steps:

  1. Blend ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor S blade until well combined
  2. Using 1 Tablespoon to measure, roll into balls, and store in the fridge.  Or, freeze for later!
  3. Spread the love! ❤

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5 Ingredient Banana Oat Stack

When it looks like all you’ve got for breakfast is unripe bananas…

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… you can still create something warm, moist, ooey sweet chewiness, satisfying, and healthy.  The story behind these beautiful banana bakedness is, well I’ve been doing a lot of fitness lately and I was pretty hungry this morning.. all I had around was unripe bananas and 3 dates.  I was like, man, if I’m gonna eat these nanas, I gotta cook em!  We don’t have a baking pan ( I was thinking maybe banana bread ) so I made banana cookie pancake things!  

DEEEELISHH!!!

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Here’s how:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 large bowls
  • a large spoon
  • a large fork
  • a stovetop
  • a nonstick frying pan

Ingredients:

  1. 5 bananas (obviously I recommend ripe…)
  2. 3 dates
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/2 cup oatmeal (quick oats)
  5. 1/2 cup ground flax

Steps:

  1. Wet ingredients: mash the bananas and ooey gooey dates in a bowl together until mostly smooth and well combined. I recommend adding a dash of vanilla extract if you’ve got it!  
  2. Dry ingredients: mix oatmeal, ground flax, and baking soda until well distributed.  I also added about a tablespoon of cinnamon, but up to you!  Also, 1/4 cup of carob chips, chopped nuts, and/or fresh fruit like blueberries would have been divine additions!!
  3. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Add water or non-dairy milk to get the consistency you want.  (For thinner pancakes, use more water or non-dairy milk, for really thick pancakes, only add a little or none at all) Mix well.
  4. In-between heat settings 3 and 4 ( low – medium heat ) heat up frying pan.  Use about 1/3 of a cup of batter for each pancake.  Flip when pancake has risen and slides on pan.  
  5. Serve with a dollop of your favorite preserves (or maple syrup if you’ve got it 🙂 

Strawberry Cookie Dough Pudding, Inspiration, and High On Life Salad

I’ve learned a LOT about nutrition and fitness, everyday becoming more and more confident in this amazing raw vegan lifestyle.  These past few days I have eaten 100% raw, very low fat, and I have MORE ENERGY THAN I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH!!

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As if springing out of bed before your alarm goes off, or running a mile just because theres a jumping bean inside you that needs to be released weren’t enough.. the clear glowing eyes, silky smooth skin, and superhero S shaped shits are definitely worth learning more about this lifestyle.  I recommend high carb FO SHO!! BUT: I would like to point out that I work out a pretty decent amount, and we can’t all survive 40 days on eating nothing but bananas and dates like Freelee.  Going from scrawny to strong takes a little increase in protein intake- maintenance of muscle mass does not require any increase in protein.  I have been craving the dark leafy greens and goji berries, especially after my workout-pro, stud friend Davis got me to up the weight on the squat rack!  This bowl of beauty hit the spoooooot!  The holistic health counselor that I seasonally assist, Christine Lucas, explained at one of her classes that sprouts are the most nutrient dense foods on land- SO many available amino acids!  In high school, I used to sprout oat groats, and various other grains instead of cooked oatmeal.  These sprouted little wheat berries are so divine blended with fruit like this!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

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  • over a cup of sprouted soft wheat berries
  • about 7 whole strawberries (with greens on! yaay extra greens! 😀 )
  • less than a teaspoon of chia seeds ( with the mass amount of fruit in my smoothies I ran into a little candida issues putting tablespoons of hemp and chia in there as well- be wary mixing fats with fruit and high sugar foods- it keeps the insulin from clearing from the blood causing issues! )
  • about 2 tablespoons of goji berries

Blend everything except goji berries until smooth! Swirl in the goji! Super easy! Enjoy!

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I have been experimenting with raw veganism for about over 3 years now, and have had quite a rough time, mostly because of social settings, general stigmas, and contrasting beliefs.  I have been lucky enough to have had a senior in dietetics, Tressa Massaro reawaken the confidence in me.  Tressa knows the facts.  The credible information behind it all to be 100% sure!  When I first met her she told me how amazing it was to discover in lab how much protein there was in kale!  I am so glad she re-inspired me!  FULLY RAW FO LIFE!!  This lifestyle can not only prevent but REVERSE sooo mannyy diseases.  It’s unreal.  BUT IT IS REAL.  BELIEVE IT.

She gave a RAWESOME food demo at the pole fitness place she goes to in Merrillville, IN.  My fantastically spontaneous and adventurous friend Davis went with me to it and we ended up having such a wonderful evening!  Tressa’s family owns a beautiful store, “Produce Depot”.  We got a ton of fresh organic ❤ produce and made dinner at her house!  We also had fresh juices and immune shooters (ginger shots) from the depot!  This is what we made:

High On Life Salad:

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  • 4 bunches of dinosaur kale (chiffinade)
  • about 5 carrots (potato peeled)
  • 1 zucchini (potato peeled)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (sliced thin/ chopped)
  • chunks of pineapple
  • raisins
  • goji berries

Drizzled with all this blended until smooth in a high speed blender:

  • 3 oranges
  • about 10 pitted dates
  • juice of one lemon
  • a couple of handfulls of fresh mint leaves (to taste)
  • about 2 tablespoons of chopped ginger (to taste)
  • 1 champagne mango
  • 2 tomatoes

Even Tressa’s family and Davis enjoyed this!  SO MUCH LIFE FORCE ENERGY! We were high on life after all this amazing food.  I even got a text from Davis that night after he dropped me off at home, “I feel awesome right now”.  There is no question about it- eating healthy makes a huge difference!  Let’s see you give it a go! xoxo !!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Kale Quinoa Marinara

Staying in the elegant Purdue Pride home of the McKinney’s, I had the honor to make my kappa sistah Caroline a delicious dinner, dietetics student approved!

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Kale Quinoa Marinara
Serves 2-3.
Takes 15 minutes
Here’s what you’re going to need:

8oz quinoa (I used an 8oz bag of Simply Balanced rainbow quinoa)
1 bunch curly kale
1 avocado
4 tomatoes
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (I used a 3.5 oz bag of Bella Sun Luci Halves)
4-5 garlic cloves (depending on size and preference)
2-3 tbs Italian seasoning (we didn’t have Italian so I used dried basil, thyme, rosemary, dill, and cilantro)
2/3 of a medium-large onion
9 pitted dates

Steps
1. Rinse quinoa.  Boil 1 3/4 – 2 cups of water to make quinoa. Once water is brought to a boil, pour in rinsed quinoa and turn down heat to medium. Let quinoa soak in all the water as it cooks. Takes about 10 minutes.
2. While that’s cooking, soak your sun dried tomatoes and dates by saturating them in warm water for about 5-10 minutes.
3. Put 3 of the 4 tomatoes in a high speed blender, chop the 4th tomato to add to the top of the dish later.  Add garlic, seasoning, onion, and by this time dates and sun dried tomatoes should be softened and ready to add to blender (do not add soaking water). Blend until smooth, unless you like it chunky!
4. Rinse, de-stem, and chop kale well.  Place chopped kale in a large bowl. By now, quinoa should be done cooking.  Put warm quinoa into bowl with kale. Pour fresh tomato marinara into bowl and mix well with chopped tomato and diced avocado.
5. Reap the benefits!!

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Kale is soo high in calcium, iron, protein, folic acid, vitamin K and even more vitamins and minerals! Quinoa is also very high in iron and is one of the two (soy is the other) plant sources of a complete protein amino acid ratio. Meaning, not only does quinoa have all of the essential amino acids, it has them in the ratio that the body needs and uses.  The vitamin C in the tomatoes helps the iron get absorbed quickly and easily, and the healthy plant based cholesterol free vitamin E rich avocado’s monounsaturated fat, helps the body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamin K. A fat free diet can lead to deficiencies in vitamins A, D, E, and K, because they are fat-soluble. Unlike B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium that are water soluble. A little bit of fat and vitamin C with your salad can help to absorb fat soluble vitamins and iron!

This was the perfect post work out quick, satisfying, mouth watering meal! Eat clean, wake up lean! L&L ! 😉
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Motivation: WATCH THESE VIDEOS

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In my HK 422 “Basic Concepts in Exercise Program Design” class, we are learning about the importance of motivation in exercise prescription.  The first thing you are supposed to do with a client is ask them why they are seeing you.  If there answer is “I want to lose weight” that isn’t good enough.  We, the fitness professionals, have to get down and deep.  “Why do you want to lose weight?” If they say, “To get healthy”, “Why?”.  The client has to change themselves, and they won’t be able to change without a little challenge.  Motivation gives us drive, desire, and resolve to complete the steps required to reach the goal.

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My professor had us send him a motivational video we liked.  He chose different ones for the class to observe and rank why they liked them and why they were effective.  Here they are in the order I put them in:

  1. We Are Free
  2. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules
  3. Nike “Rise and Shine” Advertisement
  4. Success = Breathing
  5. Laser Focus
  6. Famous Failures
  7. Kid President
  8. Eric Thomas

I honestly loved them all, it was hard to decide.  All college students must watch Laser Focus and Success=Breathing.  Those pushed my “party girl” and “no sleep” buttons!  The Kid President is great!  I just put him lower because I’ve seen him before- a little overplayed maybe.  I also really liked Famous Failures.  And I would love to show Eric Thomas to a friend who I think would relate to him, but I just didn’t feel it.

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They are all good!  Everybody ranked them differently.  The classes top 3 were:

  1. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules
  2. Success = Breathing
  3. Nike “Rise and Shine”

It is clear that everybody has a different trigger- what motivated me didn’t necessarily motivate the girl next to me.  People need to be stimulated deeper.  We, the fitness professionals, need to find that trigger!

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I like the We Are Free video best because it really connected with the way I feel trapped sometimes.  I get so busy that I forget that I am free.  Watching that video made me a happier person because I realized everything I am busy doing I am choosing to do, and I am on a beautiful journey every day to create the best version of myself ❤ A goal that I am already accomplishing!

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Yoga Flow With Me!

Yoga stretches the body, mind, and spirit

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Guess who’s teaching Yoga Flow at the CoRec on Saturday Mornings!!

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Me! Saturday mornings from 10-10:50am I’ll be teaching a series of 22 yoga flow level one classes! This series is usually $77.00 but I’ll be teaching it for only $38.50 for all 22 classes!! This is an amazing deal!

■■ Registration Opens January 13 ■■ Registration Closes February 3 ■■ How to Register You can register online at http://www.purdue.edu/recsports, by calling 765.494.3110, or by visiting the Purdue Rec Sports Member Services Desk in the CoRec.

In the meantime, I just did this yoga flow to this Michael Franti playlist  :)! Give it a try!  My class will be similar, with more inspiration and quotes and mindfulness ❤ and by the end of the 22 classes, you’ll be able to do all kinds of poses! Gradually building your strength and flexibility!  I also am teaching Dance Mania at 8:30pm on Wednesday nights and Zumba Gold at 8:30am on Wednesday mornings!  Hope to see you there!

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For yoga:

■■ Wait List: Classes fill up fast and class capacities cannot be exceeded. Once a class is full, you will be placed on a waitlist. We will contact individuals on the waitlist, in the order they signed up. Once contacted, individuals will have 24 hours to pay the class registration fee before the next individual on the waitlist is contacted.CLASS DATES

■■ Classes Begin January 27 ■■ Classes End April 20 ■■ No Classes Spring Break, March 15–23 ■■ Make-Up Week April 21–27 ■■ Make-Up Class Week

Top 5 Finals Fitness Tips

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Don’t even think about gaining the finals 5 pounds!  These 5 finals fitness tips will keep you moving and stress free for the challenges ahead.  You will stay focused, fit, and fresh for whatever college course tries to crush your cool.

  1. Every Hour Power: With every hour of studying, set an alarm to take a break.  This alarm should be set hourly, and heed to its call!  Every hour, get up, go outside, and briskly walk around the building you’re in.  Or, walk up a few flights of stairs.  Knowing that you have these breaks will not only keep you more focused in between breaks, but it will also help to increase your physical activity during long days of sedentary studying.
  2. Nature Calls Challenge: Staying hydrated is very important!  With staying hydrated, comes frequent bathroom breaks.  With frequent bathroom breaks, comes an opportunity for fitness!  After every flush of the toilet, try to do 25 squats.  Chest up, core engaged, legs a little further than shoulder width apart, weight in the heels, try to get low enough to get under a 90 degree angle in the knees.  Squats are a great allover workout, working the largest muscle groups of the legs and glutes as well as the core for balance.  When you get sick of squats, try push-ups instead!
  3. The Cardio Cram:  Bring your notes to the gym and set them in front of you as you cycle or walk on the treadmill.  This is a fantastic way to focus.  Increasing heart rate and blood flow will help engage your thoughts for effective remember and recall.  Reading over notes can be really boring and tedious.  Multi-tasking will increase your physical activity and teach you a thing or two for your finals.
  4. Fruit For The Win: The brain and nervous system run exclusively on glucose.  Study hard, carb up!!  Snacking on fruit is a great way to keep you satisfied so you can focus, giving your brain the sugars it needs, and the fiber and high water content to make you feel full naturally while cleansing the body and keeping you hydrated!  Always have an apple or a banana in your backpack!
  5. Flexibility Focus:  Try reading your books while doing static stretches on the floor.  Sit in a split and stretch while you read.  Relaxing into your muscles with long, deep breaths.  Stretching while studying helps to calm you down, warm up your muscles, and increase your flexibility.

The stress of finals can mix up our priorities.  It is important to remember, without good health, how can we focus on finals/ LIVE!?  Don’t let finals take control of your health and happiness.

6 Tight Tummy Tips

Think doing a hundred more crunches will do the trick? Think again. These tips should help get your tummy trim in no time.

1. Food combining
Eat fast digesting foods before the slow digesting ones! Meat and dairy can stay in your system for 48 hours, taking quite a while to digest and eliminate. However, fruits can take 15 minutes to two hours to digest! Melons are the quickest with their high water content. So imagine this: Miss Melon, in a SUV convertible, speeding down a one-lane highway, going 85 mph. Mr. Protein is two miles ahead in a John Deere tractor going 15 mph. This one-lane highway is exactly like your digestive tract. Once Miss Melon catches up with Mr. Protein, it is going to cause fermentation of the fruit, which leads to carbon dioxide production, gas, bloating and a big bloated belly. So, enjoy those fast digesting foods like fruits and vegetables, and try and eat the slow digesters like fats and proteins later or for dinner.
2. Cut the Salt
Recommendations are to reduce sodium intake, anyway, so you really should probably kick it. Salt retains water.  This water weight can look really floppy on the body. When you cut the salt you might lose weight. Sweat it out! Also, salt distorts the taste buds. The more you eat the more you’re going to think you need to add it to everything. People who rarely use salt are very sensitive to taste. Try it out.
3. Ditch Useless Abdominal Exercises

People bust @$$ trying to get a six-pack when they have this thick layer of fat hanging out on top. What will get your abs to show is actually aerobic exercise. If you want to get a flat tummy, go for cardio like jogging, biking, dancing or playing sports. Aerobic exercises will help to lose the weight gradually so that you become leaner all around to get all of your muscles to show more, including those abs! Spot reduction is a myth. Doing 100 squats a day won’t trim thunder thighs, they actually increase the muscle mass on the legs which adds weight. Same goes for the midsection. Move your body, get your heart rate up and you’re bound to see results.
4. Posture
If you’re walking around with your shoulders down, gut hanging out – then your gut is going to be hanging out!  Chin up. Shoulders down and back.Tuck that belly button into your spine. Sitting at your desk? Same deal!
5. Shift Your Focus to Health
Quit staring at your belly and start striving for a healthy lifestyle. If you make overall health and fitness your goal, a tight, flat tummy is bound to follow. How are you feeling? Instead of staring in the mirror and wishing for one small part of you to change, think of the big picture.
6. Take Care of Yourself
If you’re not eating enough healthy fruits and vegetables and sleeping enough then you won’t have enough energy to be active and live a life you love! You are already magnificent and beautiful in every way. Treat your body the way it deserves to be treated!
Excited!? Me, too. See you out running. Your beautiful healthy self and your trim tight tummy awaits!

What To Eat Pre/Post Workout?!

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What’s the dead-on diet to get it done with ‘em dumbbells? Food is FUEL.  Learn what to put in your body to perform at your best!  And learn how not to be sitting on the couch with the rest of your brothers or sisters waiting an hour to digest!

Pre-Workout:

According to what I learned in nutrition lecture,

  • 4 hours out, balanced meal of familiar tried and true foods
  • Less than 4 hours out, less protein, fat, and fiber
  • Less than 1 hour out, mainly carbs, liquid or semi-solid for nervous stomach

So: 4 hours before you workout, there is enough time to digest a balanced meal.  Within 4 hours of working out, it is recommended to not eat protein, fat or fiber because those take a long time to digest and may cause gas and discomfort during a workout.  Within an hour of working out, eating something high carb like fruit is best.  Easily digestible, sweet sugary goodness with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and deliciously hydrating, fruit is the best!

Post-Workout:

It depends on the workout!  But no matter what, replenishing those glycogen stores is key.  American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends dried fruit post workout.  For intense muscle conditioning, one recommendation is the 4 : 1 carbohydrate to protein ratio.

Chocolate Milk??  According to Purdue’s Campus Registered Dietitian, Michelle Singleton, a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4 : 1 is a good goal to eat post workout, and chocolate milk has close to this ratio, (3.25 : 1) so it is a quick and easy go-to, but there are lots of other better options out there!  According to the USDA’s “SuperTracker”, chocolate milk contains 64 empty calories from solid fats and added sugars.  Recommendations are to decrease your intake of empty calories and to take in your nutrients from nutrient dense food like fruits and vegetables, not supplements.

Like carbs yet? 

According to my Health and Kinesiology 368 class’s lecture notes, a high carbohydrate diet consisting of 70% carbs increases muscle glycogen stores and increases aerobic exercise time to exhaustion.  You know why?  Glucose, the sugar that carbohydrates get broken down into, is what every cell uses for energy.  Carbohydrate is stored as glycogen in muscles to fuel muscular work.  Yes sir.  It is glycogen and glucose from carbohydrates that is making those muscles contract, NOT protein.  My notes also state:

  • “Aerobic athletes are in a constant need of carbohydrates, so they should always be consuming a diet high in carbohydrates.
  • Strength athletes also require adequate levels of carbohydrate to fuel the expensive process of muscular work and muscle building.
  • Thus, eating a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat is good for athletes in all sports as well as to promote better health.”

Don’t I Need More Protein?

I quote directly from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ www.eatright.org:

“Protein is an important part of a balanced diet, but eating more protein will not magically make you stronger. The only way to grow muscles is to put them to work. “Carbohydrates are the best fuel for working muscles,” says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Heather Mangieri, MS, RDN, CSSD.

Carbohydrates are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles to power your workout.”

People think they need hundreds of grams of protein every day.  It is actually very easy to meet this ratio and all protein needs when eating fruits and vegetables! According to the USDA’s “SuperTracker”, turns out, raw broccoli has a 3 : 1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein, 1 cup of it has only 30 calories, with 41 mg calcium, 278 mg potassium, 29 mg sodium, and 78mg of vitamin C (105% of vitamin C target!).  That’s just one of the many amazing vegetables out there, and it has a higher protein to carb ratio than chocolate milk! Who knew!  And for every 4 grams of carbohydrates, there are 3 grams of protein in raw spinach! Oh yeah, get it Popeye! Ow, ow, and that gorilla’s got big muscles, turns out 10 bananas has 13 grams of protein! When fruits and vegetables are eaten in abundance as fresh, whole, raw, ripe, and organic as you can get them, they will have more than enough protein to go around!

As a dietetics student, fitness instructor, and foods demonstrator, this is one of the most common questions I get.  Purdue’s RD Michelle Singleton says, “In reality, protein contributes to less than 10% of fuel used during exercise.”  So, if I eat a big smoothie for breakfast, a giant plate of fruit for lunch, and an immensely delicious salad for dinner, I can easily, deliciously, vibrantly, without even thinking about it, meet my needs, AND stuff my face :D! Spreading the love from my classroom to your kitchen. Dream big, and CARB UP!

“How to Fuel Your Workout.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eat Right, Apr. 2013. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442471759&gt;.