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What do I eat after I work out?

by Angie Miller

You just finished your five-mile run. Your muscles are depleted and you’re in need of nutrition, but how soon after you sweat should you be refueling and what should you eat to make the most of all your hard work? Here are few commonly asked questions and my tips for how to tackle your post-exercise nutrition plan.

 The best post-workout diet tips

Before we take a bite out of post-exercise meals, let's talk post-workout hydration. Is water the best choice or should we be reaching for sports drinks?

Proper fluid balance is essential for athletes as well as recreational exercisers. Dehydration can negatively impact performance and when you don't get enough fluids it can interfere with your body's ability to maintain normal temperature. During most activities, water is adequate in order to prevent dehydration. However, during endurance events or activities greater than 60 minutes, a sports drink may be beneficial to enhance performance. The drink should contain carbohydrates to properly fuel the nervous and muscular systems. Specifically, for post-workout hydration, research suggests that for every pound of weight lost, drink approximately 16 to 20 ounces of fluid and then drink an additional 16 ounces of liquid with your post-workout meal.

How soon after a workout should we be eating a post-workout meal?

There is a window of opportunity or "metabolic window," that lasts approximately 60 to 90 minutes immediately following exercise, especially intense training. During this time, the body is most receptive to nutrient uptake and you have the best chance of reducing muscle damage. This window also allows you to maximize the strength and muscle gains achieved during your workout.

Should the post-exercise meal be solid foods or a liquid meal replacement?

The moment you cease exercise this window opens, and from that time on the benefits begin to decrease. Because it generally takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to digest solid food, consuming solid food may not be the best option during this time. Although nutrition bars with the proper carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios can be effectively used before and after exercise, liquid is generally recommended because of how quickly it is absorbed and nutrients are delivered to the muscles.

How soon after a hard and/or long workout can we eat solid foods?  This is important for athletes and competitive exercisers who have rigorous training schedules. When it comes to consuming a post-event or post-exercise meal, one that consists of solid foods, most research supports that you should wait 1.5 to 2 hours after major activity depending on your post-training snack.

What are the specific benefits of post-exercise snacks?

For most recreational exercisers, post-workout feedings and snacks are not critical, but it can increase the potential benefits you receive from your workout, as well as help you to prevent injury, fight fatigue, and avoid the stress of over-training.

What is the bottom line answer when it comes to post-exercise meals?  While post recovery snacks and meals are important, they are not as significant to recreational exercisers as they are to endurance athletes. I always encourage my clients to remember that there's research, and there's the "ideal," then there's real life. If you don't fuel according the latest research, that's not to say you won't reap rewards and experience positive results. It is suggesting that you get even better results when you fuel properly, as well as improve your performance. My advice is to do the best you can, and try to make health-conscious choices when it comes to diet and exercise, not just post-recovery, but all the time.

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

Six Ways to Sit Less and Move More

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Exercise is like a bad word. Everyone has a different reaction when you say it, but they all have some sort of emotional response. Some are immediately filled with dread, some have a list of excuses that go from plain ridiculous to pretty clever, and some (like me) actually love it and can’t imagine their life without it.

The thing about exercise is that it’s really just a naughty name for movement. Naughty because we demonize it in our society by making it all about looks, aka six pack abs, and intense programming that is well beyond what most of us need to get healthy. Movement on the other hand is exercise, but it doesn’t come with the same negative connotation. Movement is a lifestyle. We move to get from point A to point B, and we move because we want or need something. When it comes to movement there are endless options, but all of them are sure to accomplish one thing- the more we move the less we sit, and that’s where the magic lies. Sitting less won’t replace vigorous exercise in terms of calorie burn and heart pumping activity, but it will help us to focus on being less sedentary and more mindful of keeping our body and brain active.

Six Ways to Sit Less and Move More- at Home and Work:

  1. Standing Desk- You don’t need to invest in an expensive desk that promotes all the benefits of standing vs. sitting while you work, because the truth is that standing for too long comes with its own set of risks. Instead, set a timer or use your fitness tracker to remind you, and every hour make it a point to stand up while you work. Stand for five or ten minutes, or as long as you’re comfortable. You’ll wake up your brain and body and you’ll feel better being in full extension vs. slouched in a chair.
  2. Make an Excuse- If you’re in an office, rather than email your co-worker who is in the same building why not walk to where they are and deliver the message in person? If you work from home you can make your next phone call while you move around your house, straighten your cupboards, or even stand up and fold a load of laundry. If you’re vegging in front of the TV, get up every thirty minutes or so and grab a glass of water or stretch your body so your mind doesn’t turn to mush. They key is that you avoid sitting or lying down for extended periods of time by making an excuse to get up and move.
  3. Stability Ball- If you’re going to sit while you’re at work, while you watch TV, or while you’re in front of your computer, who says you have to sit in a chair? Wouldn’t it more beneficial to sit on a stability ball where you engage your core and actually improve your balance and posture while you work? You can also swap out your dining room chair for a stability ball. Think better breathing and better body awareness.
  4. Walk While You Work- Maybe you have a meeting with a co-worker or a brain storming session with your client. Whatever the reasons, a walk might be just what you need to connect with people in your business on a different level. Walking gives everyone a breath of fresh air and it gets positive energy flowing. If you work at home, take a ten a minute walk once or twice a day to clear your mind and help you connect with the world outside of work.
  5. Take the Stairs- If you work in office building take the stairs. If you’re going to the store, to the doctor, or wherever you’re going, take the stairs. Stairs step up your heart rate, give you a little energy boost, and help you avoid the claustrophobic feeling of elevators. Not to mention, you don’t have to stop on every floor or stand elbow to elbow with perfect strangers.
  6. Meet for a Movement Date- The next time you meet a friend for coffee, how about if you grab it in a to go cup and window shop while you walk? Or maybe you grab lunch at a quick café and rather than linger at the table, you head out the door and finish catching up as you stroll through the streets. A movement date can be a tennis game, a golf game, or sharing a fitness class together. Traditional lunch and coffee dates are fun, but movement dates are much more memorable. They connect you and your friend on a different level and allow you share experiences that engage your mind and body.

Make it a goal this week to sit less and move more for better health.

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

Fit Tips For Your Week

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Monday Motivation:

Rise and Shine: Did you know that the most successful people are often early risers? It's the difference between staying up late and struggling to “finish” something, vs. getting up early to “start” something fresh. I'm by nature a late-night person who has had to work hard to turn this around, often reminding myself that there's nothing so important that it won't wait until morning when my body and brain have had rest. I'd rather be an early morning person who wakes up and says, “Let’s do this!” than a late-night person who says, “I can’t do this.” Discipline, leadership, and success require a good night's sleep and a fresh mind. Tonight, sleep well and start your week off right! #MondayMotivation

Tuesday Transformation:

The Best of all Three- (These are the top three questions I get asked, and my top three answers):

  1. What's the best time of day to work out? The time that's best for you.
    2. What's the best type of workout? The workout that you enjoy, that will motivate you to do again and again and again.
    3. What workout the burns the most calories? The workout that you do consistently- (as opposed to the one you do once and hate every minute of because it’s not any fun.)

Truth- it doesn’t benefit us to focus on these things. There is no best workout, best time, or best calorie burn. Anything you do will burn more calories than if you don't exercise at all. #TuesdayTransformation

Wednesday Workout:

Is Exercise Dangerous? One of my favorite sayings is, "Exercise isn't dangerous, people are." It's not the kettlebell, step, dumbbell, barbell, or any other piece of equipment that are dangerous. It’s people, and potentially poor application of a piece of equipment that when used improperly can cause injury. The key here is, "when used improperly." When bad posture and muscle imbalances meet a piece of equipment, dangerous things can (and often do) happen. Bottom line, alignment and execution are pivotal in order to get the best results and to remain injury free. Start by building a strong foundation with no equipment at all. Just your body against gravity. Focus on alignment, weight distribution, and core strength among other things, then add resistance. I love kettlebells, they have transformed my body; but before you use any piece equipment make sure your posture and alignment is top notch and seek proper instruction. #WednesdayWorkout

 

Thursday Thought:

Thought for the day: I've shared this one before, and it still rings true. Exercise for self-care, self-preservation, and self-control. You know when you're flying on an airplane and they're going through emergency landing procedures- they tell you to put on your mask first before your child's, right? Because they know that you can't save your child (or anyone else) if you don't save yourself first. That's how I look at exercise. How can we care for others if we aren't caring for ourselves? Put on your mask first- exercise, eat well, sleep, and take time out once in a while for self-care and self-preservation. Only when we’re feeling out best can we give our best to others. #ThursdayThought

Friday Fit Tip:

Mindset Matters: Do you work out because you feel guilty if you don't, or because you feel great if you do? If you want to make exercise more enjoyable take out the “shoulds” and bring on the coulds. There’s a big difference in how we feel about exercise when we say, “I should work out today because __________________ “ (you fill in the blank), vs. “If I could ____________________(run one mile today, finish the entire workout DVD I just purchased, lift weights for twenty minutes, etc.) imagine how good I could feel. Shoulds make us feel obligated and resentful about exercise. Coulds open our mind to possibility. Replace shoulds with coulds to take away the guilt and change the way you feel about exercise! #FridayFitTip

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

Learning to Love Yourself~ An Ode to Valentine's Day

by Angie Miller

 A reflection on love:

  • In Eastern philosophy, self-love is thought to be the cornerstone of inner peace. A journey toward self-discovery is believed to be essential, as introspection promotes understanding and harmony with oneself, which lends itself to harmony and peace with the world.

Love is the foundation of human compassion toward others, but first and foremost toward oneself. It would be difficult to embrace the differences among us, and to feel empathy toward those with whom we share little in common, if we don’t embrace personal trust and honor. Peace within, promotes universal peace and acceptance.

Learning to love unconditionally and to fully embrace our unique qualities, from our greatest strengths to our most unbecoming weaknesses, is a more daunting task than we sometimes realize. Just as important, and even more challenging is being able to look in the mirror and love the image staring back at us. While there are endless ways to build and secure self-love, I believe that two of the most important are to Maintain Perspective and to Make Peace.

Securing Self-Love

1. Maintain Perspective~ Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself from five or ten years ago and yearned to look like that again? What’s more disappointing is to reflect that it was lost on you then, that your mind was shrouded in self-doubt and judgment. Looking back, whether it was your beautiful body shape, or your radiant, wrinkle free smile, it's difficult to imagine that you didn’t see it then, especially now that some of it has faded with age. With that in mind, why waste another day, another moment of self-doubt, judgment, or scrutiny? Isn’t now the time to celebrate your body, your face, your curves, your greatest assets, and yes even your wonderful flaws?

We know that time doesn’t stop. We were just reminded of that when we looked at an old photograph. Any more time spent wishing, takes away from time spent living and enjoying life to the fullest. I’ve said before that if we could have a 40-year old mindset with a 20-year old body we’d have killer self-esteem. Don't wait for time to pass to give you perspective on how good you look and how healthy you are. Embrace your body, your mind, and your spirit as it is, the youngest it will ever be.

2. Make Peace~ Now that you have embraced perspective, it’s time to authentically make peace with your body. I think it helps to start with a reflection so that we might remember what our body has done for us over the years. Reflecting: How our feet have kept us moving even when we were tempted to sit down and surrender. How our legs kept us standing even when the obstacles we faced made us feel too weary. How our hips, thighs, and abdominals have blessed us with our unique shape. Though they may be the bane of our existence, in another person’s eyes they signify the beauty and grace that makes us women. How our arms have embraced our children and the people we love. How they’ve lifted everything from the heavy load of life’s burdens to the powerful kettlebell we swing at the gym. How our hands have written love notes, held on to those who need our support, and given us the power to do daily tasks and achieve professional accomplishments.

How our neck and face may show our age, but thanks to good health and proper care we’ve made it to an age where those fine lines are a badge of honor and a sign of wisdom. How our lips have kissed our children and our lovers, how they’ve formed words we regret and those we’re proud of, but all of which have taught us lessons. How our ears have listened to our children breathe as we watch them sleep peacefully, how they have listened to words from others that wound us, lift us up, educate us, and fill us with information that helps us grow. In the end, we are a culmination of our experiences and our body is an amazing structure that allows us to embrace life and exist on this earth. Far be it for us to do anything less than be appreciative that we are unique, first and foremost, and though we are flawed and fragile, we are blessed nonetheless.

Maintaining Perspective and Making Peace lends itself to personal acceptance, and that’s where it all begins. Personal acceptance translates to self-love, to honoring oneself, and to recognizing that love begins on the inside. The more foster it and allow it to grow, the more we have to share with others.

“The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

- Angie

Angie MillerAngie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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