6 Power Foods For Physical Fitness
Whether you’re training for marathons, mud runs, long bike rides, triathlons, or maybe you’re just a weekend warrior that wants to be in optimum shape to go for the gusto every chance you get, eating to fuel your efforts is as (if not more) important than the physical training alone.
When it comes to training, the foods you choose should fuel, replenish and repair.
Here are 6 healthy foods for training as well as tips from expert trainer Rommel Ryan Acda, owner of Element 5 Fitness in Kirkland, WA on how to time and combine your nutrients for your training. Plus, a delicious recipe!
- FUEL with lean protein such as egg whites, lean chicken, fish or whey isolate protein.
- FUEL/REPLENISH/REPAIR with low-glycemic vegetables and fruits such as greens, mushrooms and berries.
- REPLENISH with coconut milk.
- REPLENISH with blackstrap molasses.
- FUEL/REPLENISH/REPAIR after your workout with healthy whole-grain carbohydrates or starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
- REPLENISH with more vegetables.
Rommel says “I’ve found success with having clients eat a low glycemic carb/protein rich meal about two hours prior to an endurance training event. I prefer low glycemic because too much of an insulin spike prior to your workout prevents the release of fat, this in turn makes your body rely heavily on carb burning, which then results in your body using up those carbs at a much faster rate.
A low glycemic/protein rich meal will help blunt an unnecessary insulin spike and help prevent you from ‘hitting the wall’. It must be noted that this meal should contain fats, but very minimal amounts.”
Here’s a sample meal if your workout is after breakfast: These foods will fuel you to perform your best!
Omelet made with sautéed greens, bell pepper, mushrooms and 1 or 2 eggs plus 1 to 2 egg whites. Cook in a cast-iron or nonstick pan with just a bit of healthy oil wiped onto the bottom of the pan with a paper towel to prevent sticking. Serve with about a handful of berries.
During the Workout
When you’re working this hard, you need to replenish…but not with the sugar or artificially sweetened and colored sports drinks that do damage to the body.
Rommel says, “For an event lasting longer than 90 minutes to 3 hours, a simple recipe I discovered from Mark Sisson, creator of Primal Blueprint, that works well is coconut water mixed with sea salt, honey, and blackstrap molasses. The coconut water is a natural rehydrator, the sea salt contains the electrolyte sodium plus natural trace minerals, the honey is simply for sweetener, but the molasses contains twice the potassium than a banana, more calcium in a cup of spinach, and close to 100mg of magnesium which is extremely important in preventing cramps.
You’ll need to dissolve the sea salt, honey, and blackstrap molasses appropriately enough to drink or else it’s an extremely viscous gel so it’s a matter of preference. I prefer it all completely dissolved and drink it as a sports drink to replace your typical sugary sports electrolyte drinks.”
What if you’re training or event lasts 60 minutes or less? Here is Rommel’s advice. “I prefer a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein workout shake, something along the lines of 30 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein. A simple shake is 12-16 oz of almond milk, and one scoop of whey isolate protein. This type of shake will help restore glycogen levels and aid in important amino acids getting into your muscle cells appropriately.
For post workout Rommel also recommends a 2:1 ratio (in grams) of carbs to protein, but preferably in a whole food form, and with good fats. He says “this has been a proven ratio in replenishing carb stores and aiding in recovery. This is usually the simplest meal as the carbs do not have to be restricted to low glycemic choices but do choose healthy options such as sweet potatoes, oats, fruits, brown rice, whole grains, or quinoa, with a good heaping of non-starchy vegetables.”
Check out this delicious, easy recipe to help you replenish after all of your hard work!
- 8 oz whole grain/brown rice/quinoa pasta
- 2 cups kale leaves, cut into thin strips
- 2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into ½” cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Add any other vegetables you wish such as finely chopped zucchini, sliced mushrooms, etc.
- 1-2 pinches Kosher/sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water. When the pasta has 3 minutes remaining to cook, add the kale ribbons to the pasta water.
- Meanwhile you can make the chicken and sauce by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat, when hot add oil (preferably coconut or avocado or other high-heat safe oil) and swirl to coat.
- Add the chicken, vegetables and seasonings. Stir often and cook until the chicken and vegetables are golden brown and the chicken is almost cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
- Lower the heat to low and stir in the crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to blend.
- Serve the chicken, vegetables and sauce over a bed of the pasta and kale ribbons, garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!
Use organic/locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Chef Kirsten Helle is a personal chef, nutrition consultant and lifestyle and weight management specialist. She is the CEO of Mesa de Vida…Table of Life. Mesa de Vida was voted the top 5 food blogs in Seattle this past year on the Evening Magazine Best of polls. Kirsten shares hundreds of recipes, and more about her 100 lb weight loss and information to help you create a healthy family legacy as well!
Special thanks to Rommel Ryan Acda, owner of the premier fitness transformation center, Element 5 Fitness, Kirkland, WA. You can find more information at www.Element5Fitness.com