Your two most Important Meals of the Day


As it turns out, your mother was right all along: breakfast is in fact the most important meal of the day!

However, not just any breakfast will do. The choices you make for breakfast can influence your job performance, your energy levels, and more!

Breakfast

One of my favorite websites, RealAge.com had a nice article recently on not just making breakfast an integral part of your day, but food choices that make it the right breakfast.  Indeed,the food choices you make for breakfast can go a long way in how sharp you think throughout the day, how well your immune system fights off infection, and how the right choices can trigger your body to burn more fat.

There  really isn’t much magic in it at all: whole grains; wholesome fruits; and low fat dairy are the key ingredients; but do check out their helpful article for specific menus to improve the value of your most important meal of the day!

Close behind, the second most important meal of the day is Your Post Exercise Nutrition, otherwise known as a recovery meal.

After exercise, your body is, at a minimum, in a state of depletion.

You might even be fatigued if your workout was an intense workout. Energy stores have been reduced, lactic acid has accumulated in muscle tissues, and you have an empty stomach. Blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism, while somewhat reduced though a proper cool down, remain elevated for an hour or more.

In short, your body is starving for nutrients, and how you respond effects how well you recover for your next workout!

Recognize that there is a critical 30 – 60 minute window of opportunity following exercise within which the adsorption of nutrients is more efficient than at any other time. Your body is literally a sponge, so feed it well and help your body recover!

Exactly what you eat actually depends on the type of exercise you’ve just completed. You’ll recover differently from a long, slowcardio event than you would from a resistance training event. And different recoveries beg for different recovery meals.

Recovery Guidelines for Cardiovascular Exercise

A meal high in carbohydrate content is appropriate for extended or high intensity cardio activities where larger amounts of carbohydrates are spent. A well well recognized formula for cardiovascular recovery is a meal rich in carbohydrates, but with some protein. Many experts recommend 200 to 400 calories, depending on your body weight, in a ratio of 4 parts carbohydrate to 1 part protein (4:1). A good, wholesome food that fits this almost perfectly is chocolate milk, and fruit based yogurts.

Recovery Guidelines for Resistance Exercise

For most resistance training, however, including a typical Fitness Together session, a balanced meal a bit higher in protein is best. Muscle tissues have been broken down with resistance training, and the pace of our sessions makes them somewhat aerobic. If your training session is prior to 3:00PM, we would recommend a 400-500 calorie meal of 35% protein, 60%carbs, and 5%. If you’re on the run and won’t have a chance to eat a proper meal for an hour or more, a quality protein supplement may suffice.  Otherwise, a small chicken breast sandwich with a small salad and yogurt is one way.

If you train later in the day, say after 6:00 pm, you’ll want to reduce your starchy carbohydrate intake, replacing them with simple carbohydrates (primarily fruits & vegetables). A large vinaigrette & olive oil salad with nuts, a piece (or 2) of fish/chicken breast, and some fruit is perfect : 45% protein, 45% (non starchy) carbohydrates, and 10% fat.

And if this all sounds too confusing, ask me about our new Nutrition Together program!

Or, tune in next week for a primer on protein and protein supplements!
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