Food is life, food is fuel, food is a huge factor on your weight loss (or maintenance, or gain) and your results. Nutrition is really 80% of your results, exercise making up the other 20%. As I’ve said in my previous post, I totally learned my lesson on that one. Throughout all these months of experimenting with food and how my body reacts to it, and also reading many books, I’ve learned a LOT. It’s a subject I just love learning about! What works for me may not work for you, but I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’ve discovered, and ways you might be able to find out things for yourself.
The single most important thing that I have learned about nutrition is this: EAT EVERY 2-3 HOURS. Do not go longer than this without food. I know it sounds like a lot, and the beginning I constantly had to be reminding myself to eat. The benefit of this is: increased metabolism, fewer cravings, balanced diet, regulates blood sugar levels… endless, really. It is so important to keep your body properly nourished and fueled throughout the day. You know that mid-afternoon crash attack that happens when you’ve had a sugary breakfast followed by a few cups of coffee? We’ve all been there. By the time we realize we’re hungry, we’re already grabbing the takeout menu, or some white starchy carbs. Eating every 2-3 hours will ensure this doesn’t happen! TRUST me. If you’re looking to live a healthy, balanced life, you need to start eating every 2-3 hours. And the more you remind yourself to do it, the more you actually do it, and then eventually it will honestly be second nature.
EAT BREAKFAST. You have been told this countless time as a child, that a balanced breakfast is the foundation. And it really is. This doesn’t stop being true once you become an adult. If you want to be overweight, skip breakfast. If you want to be grouchy and grumpy and tired, skip breakfast. But if you want to be fit, healthy, strong, energized and happy, EAT BREAKFAST! This is a great way to avoid the mid-afternoon crash. Eating breakfast keeps your metabolism running smoothly, which in turn makes you less hungry throughout the day. Skipping it will do so much harm, and has NO benefits.
PRE WORKOUT FUEL. I always start my day with a workout. As soon as I wake up, I put on my workout gear, grab my water bottle and get moving! These days I’m doing a hybrid of Beachbody’s programs ChaLean Extreme (weight lifting) & TurboFire (intense kickboxing cardio). Before a cardio workout, I don’t usually eat anything unless I’m feeling really hungry. If that’s the case, I’ll have half a banana. Before I lift weights though, I always have half a banana. Bananas are the perfect pre-workout snack. They are filling enough to quiet my hunger, and they give me great energy without being too heavy in my stomach. I’ve recently read that dates are really great for pre-workout fuel as well, because they provide your body with glycogen, which gives your body easily digestible and burnable fuel. Not everyone needs to eat before a workout. Again, it’s all about learning what works for you. The best advice I can give is to try these suggestions, and see how you feel.
DRINK WATER. You have also been told this countless times, but it is extremely vital to a healthy body. Being adequately hydrated throughout the day boots your metabolism and your immune system. It keeps all your organs functioning properly, flushes out toxins, keeps your blood pumping. It helps you digest, and also keeps you fuller longer. Drinking water right when you wake up is great too. Keeping hydrated before and during a workout is really important as well. Some people find it hard to drink while they exercise, so do what you feel is best for your body. Take little sips. But always drink water before, and directly after to replenish fluids you lost during your kick-ass workout!
POST WORKOUT REPAIR & REPLENISH. Right after my workout, I always have my protein shake. I’ve been having the Vega Performance Protein for the past few months, and I really love what it does to my body. I mix it with a cup of almond milk, half a banana, some chia & hemp seeds and some ice cubes. A shake high in protein is vital to your body after a tough workout. Micro-tears form in your muscles, which is GOOD, this is what needs to happen to build your muscles up stronger. But without the proper protein to rebuild these tears, which in turn builds stronger and bigger lean muscle, your recovery time between workouts will be much longer, and you won’t recovery properly. Your workouts won’t be as effective. You will need more rest days because your body hasn’t recovered yet, which means less workouts. So take your protein! Don’t think this step isn’t important, IT IS! I highly recommend Vega Performance Protein. It’s filled with all the nutrients and antioxidants and building blocks your body needs.
THE HEALTHIEST MEAL OF THE DAY. To be honest, I used to not believe in the hype of Shakeology. I was like, how can this ONE SHAKE help me lose weight, reduce my cravings, increase energy and stamina, promote healthy digestion and regularity & lower cholesterol? All the fitness people that I follow on Instagram, including my inspiration and coach Jenelle Summers LOVE it, so I decided I might as well try it. Right after the second day of drinking it, I noticed a HUGE improvement in the way my body felt. I take my shake at night, when I usually would crave something sweet and not at all clean. I look forward to it ALL DAY! BOOM, goodbye cravings. Right after I drink it, I feel so good, healthy and full. The next morning, I see all the benefits it promotes. My digestion has really improved a LOT (no more tummy aches and bloating!), and I have crazy energy during my morning workouts! Shakeology has totally become a vital part in my nutrition, and it should be in yours too. There are TONS of antioxidants, fiber, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, protein and amino acids to help build stronger muscles. Check it out here: http://www.myshakeology.com/lauraverbich for some more info!
– Nutrition 80%, exercise 20%. So even if you kill your workouts every day, if your diet doesn’t change, YOU won’t change.
– Don’t GO ON A DIET, HAVE A HEALTHY DIET!
– Balance and moderation is KEY!
– Eat as close to nature as you can. This means reducing (and possibly eventually eliminating) processed food.
– Take BABY STEPS! You won’t achieve a perfectly clean diet in a day! Take your time. Make a few changes, such as swapping your morning bagel for some whole grain toast and a banana, or taking your coffee black. Make it DOABLE, so you will stick to it!
– Eat every 2-3 hours! Seriously! Set your alarm if you have to.
– EAT BREAKFAST. Period.
– DRINK WATER. 8 cups a day is the recommended amount, but if you work out, you’ll need more. Just listen to your body. But drink more.
– Try eating a little before your workout. Maybe it’s exactly what you’re missing to give yourself the extra push for your workouts!
– Invest in a good quality organic protein shake for POST WORKOUT REPAIR.
– DRINK SHAKEOLOGY!
– Ask me if you’ve got any other q’s!
Thanks for reading, have a happy Monday! Be healthy and stay gorgeous!
(photo taken by my sister, Erica, in Rome this summer)