What to Eat After Exercise

What to Eat After Exercise

post workout nutrition

Have you ever finished an absolutely rocking workout and then a few hours later either fallen asleep or felt so hungry you could eat a horse? If you knew what to eat after exercise, you could avoid both of these situations!

Let’s think first about what happens inside your body while you’re exercising.

Your body needs energy to fuel your workouts. The energy your body uses to fuel your workouts comes mostly in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is metabolized and stored carbohydrates. Some glycogen is stored in your muscles. This is the main source of fuel when you’re exercising.

Exercise requires your muscles to work harder than normal, resulting in microscopic breakdown of proteins in your muscle fibers. This is a good thing! It is in repairing these muscle fibers that you gain strength.

After your workout finishes, your body has two main jobs: replace glycogen stores and repair muscle.

These two main jobs require two different nutrients– carbohydrates to replace glycogen (and keep up your energy levels) and protein to repair muscle.

Keep in mind you’ll want to eat a ratio of about 3 grams carbs to 1 gram protein for the optimal post-workout nutrition balance. This ratio changes slightly based on the type of exercise you do. An endurance cardio workout like running, swimming, or biking uses more carbs than a strength training session.

Now we can better understand what to eat after exercise.

Need some food for thought? Here are 5 great post-workout snacks.

  1. Peanut Butter (or other Nut Butter) on a Banana
  2. Scrambled egg and whole wheat toast
  3. Tuna and multigrain crackers (BONUS: topped with avocado)
  4. Cottage Cheese with fruit
  5. 8-12 ounces Chocolate milk

Each of those post-workout snack options gives you a balance of carbs and protein. By eating them within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, you’re setting your body up for a speedy recovery. (If you ate a meal before your workout, you can go as long as an hour afterwards without eating. Your body will still reap the benefits of the glycogen and protein synthesis.) Don’t forget to hydrate, too!

By knowing what to eat after exercise– and eating it!– you’ll stave off the post-workout energy slump and reduce the likelihood of a binge eating session later in the day. Talk about keeping your body well-balanced!

MamaCare Summit 2017: Self-Care for Moms

MamaCare Summit 2017: Self-Care for Moms

When I was pregnant with my first child 15 years ago, I could never have imagined the power of the internet as it is today. The MamaCare Summit, happening November 11 & 12, 2017, brings together leading experts in perinatal health and wellness. That means moms-to-be and new moms have a single access point for quality information.

But this isn’t a talky, talk medical conference. MamaCare Summit was created because so many new moms get so caught up in your baby’s arrival that you forget to take care of yourselves.

And you know that I believe self-care is one of the potential pitfalls of early parenthood. If you can learn to prioritize your well-being from the beginning, you’ll be a better balanced mama.

Even with a nourishing self-care practice, having questions and feeling anxious can be part and parcel of pregnancy.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that your complaints are normal? Wouldn’t it be even better to know this without spending 10 hours reading a book or surfing the internet’s questionable authorities?

The experts of MamaCare Summit have come to the rescue! And they’re addressing some of the most common questions women have during pregnancy.

Prenatal Nutrition

There is a lot of conflicting (and confusing) information about what to eat while pregnant. Is peanut butter safe? How do I eat enough fiber without, ummmm, getting all backed up? Am I going to ruin my baby’s life if I eat too much ice cream while pregnant?

I’m sure each woman has her own versions of these food-and-pregnancy questions. Hearing from an expert about nutritional guidelines may help allay some of your fears.

Pelvic Floor Care

No one wants to talk about it. But more often than not, new moms experience trauma to the pelvic floor. As someone who has worked with postnatal women for years, I know the lasting effects of pregnancy on the pelvic floor. I’m thrilled that Christina McGee was interviewed for MamaCare, because she’s been at my go-to pelvic PT practice for all of my Balance clients. Come hear from one of the best about what’s normal down there and when to seek treatment from a qualified professional.

Having a Doula

Not sure what a doula is? Partner not sure why you’d want to splash out the cash to have a stranger in the birthing room? Get up to speed about what a doula is (and isn’t) and how doulas support positive outcomes for both mom and baby.

There are other fantastic sessions, too. I’m keen to hear the ones about massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. I took advantage of all of these modalities at different points in my pregnancies, so I know they’re beneficial. I want to learn more about the specifics of how they work to support the mama-to-be.

I’m also partial to the session about prenatal exercise for selfish reasons. I love sharing my experience of working as a perinatal fitness specialist for the last 9+ years. In addition to a “do’s and don’ts” conversation, there’s a handy printable about prenatal fitness available ONLY to MamaCare attendees.

pregnancy exercise expert

Click HERE to register for MamaCare Summit 2017 today!

PLEASE pass this on to a pregnant friend or new mom that you know. We women are at our best when we lift each other up.

3 Pitfalls of Early Parenting

3 Pitfalls of Early Parenting

Being a parent is hard. While we hear a lot about babies and cuddles, there are big challenges in the early months and years of parenting. Even though my babies are all in school now, I work with clients who are still in the trenches of early parenting. It’s hard work, y’all.

There are three pitfalls of early parenting that I experienced myself and I see my clients struggle with all the time.

Lack of sleep

Y’all, my three babies have so many gifts. They are all very healthy, intellectually capable, and display relatively age-appropriate understanding of caring for others. But, oh my goodness, they are terrible sleepers. All of them.

My oldest just flat out doesn’t require much sleep. I had a baby with a serious case of FOMO. He was an information junkie. It was as if his brain could not shut down; he wanted to collect every bit of data out there and store it away for future reference. This meant sleeping was not really on his radar.

But enough about him. Let’s talk about ME. While my baby was perfectly happy on his not-sleeping-much schedule, I was a WRECK. It was also emotionally exhausting worrying about how much my baby wasn’t sleeping.

I read sleep books. Tons of them. But my kid didn’t seem to care what the experts said. Gah! I was trying everything, and still he never slept. (And neither did I.)

In the end, despite my exhaustion, I decided to follow the advice: parent the child you have.

(Guess what? At 14, my baby is still this way. He is an information collecting machine. Even after two nights of being up past midnight for marching band events, he “slept in” all the way till 8am.)

All that to say, new moms with your so-tired-you-shouldn’t-be-allowed-to-drive-a-car fatigue, I FEEL YOU….

But, really, that old advice to sleep when the baby sleeps? It’s truly the golden nugget of surviving early parenting.

Isolation

Social isolation that accompanies the early months (and sometimes years) of motherhood often strikes unexpectedly. While we have visions of people clamoring to come adore our new baby, the reality is that people are busy. And while having a new baby has absolutely rocked your world, life moves on around you for everyone else.

Being aware that this tendency to social isolation exists can help moms-to-be brainstorm ideas before the baby as to how they’re going to cope when baby arrives.

I hit the jackpot with my first baby. Although I was living a continent away from my friends and family, I was fortunate to fall into a friends-group of women also becoming mothers for the first time. We met in our childbirth class. That was nearly 14 years ago, and I count several of them as good friends to this day.

At our final childbirth class, our instructor passed out a calendar with weekly hostess duties on it for the next six months. We were to meet weekly as an ongoing support group as we transitioned into motherhood.

Most of our outings included sitting in local parks and drinking tea and eating cakes. We admired each other’s babies. We listened to each other kvetch. We supported each other through the challenges of breastfeeding.

Of course, living in London where my friends could take a full year of maternity leave was a key part of keeping our community strong. When I returned to the US and my second child was born, I had a much harder time seeking out a similar community. (I never found it.) It made me realize just how special my girlfriend buoys were in my transition to motherhood.

I urge you to seek out a new moms group. Yes, it can be awkward to go at first. But I guarantee you every other woman there is also nervous about going. Be support for each other.

We women are at our best when we lift each other up.

Guilt for self-care time

Shifting priorities once women become mothers often means less time (FAAARRRR less time!) for self-care. Furthermore, many women feel guilty when they do commit to self-care, thinking that their main priority at all times should be their child.

And maybe it should, but self-care is an integral part of being the best parent you can be. Like the old saying goes: you can’t pour from an empty cup.

So whether your self-care involves a regular exercise habit, taking time to read a juicy novel, or just enjoying your morning cup of coffee in peace, know that honoring your own needs is vital.

Have a conversation with your partner about the support you need in order to keep self-care on your schedule. The more communication you have about this, the more likely you’ll be to keep it up. If both of you understand that things may (read: WILL) change, you will in a good place to have a realistic approach to self-care in the early days of parenthood.

Guilt-free!

Support for new moms is essential to finding contentment in early parenting.

MamaCare Summit is an online summit designed to support moms-to-be and new moms with the physical and emotional demands of motherhood. We know your time and sanity are limited right now. MamaCare wants this to be as easy as possible for you to know you are supported.

MamaCare is a collection of interviews with 13 perinatal care experts on managing the changes in your body, relationships, and community on your journey to motherhood in this virtual summit. Each of the sessions can help you avoid the pitfalls of early parenting by making your needs a priority.

I’m proud to share my experience of nearly a decade’s work with perinatal women in a session about perinatal exercise.

This FREE event happens this weekend, November 11 & 12.

You can find all the details and register (for FREE) at the MamaCare Summit HQ. Hope you’ll be a part of it!

(If you’re beyond the early parenting stage, would you please be so kind as to send the info about MamaCare to a friend who could use it? I thank you on her behalf!)

Self Care For New Mothers
Creativity as Self-Care: A Prescription for Fun

Creativity as Self-Care: A Prescription for Fun

Does your day-to-day life make you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Do you have the desire to try something different but don’t want to change your whole life? Maybe a creativity infusion is what you need!

Think of creativity as self-care.

It has benefits that are good for brain health, body health, and it’s just plain fun! And who doesn’t need more stress-busting, brain-boosting activity?

Increasing the amount of creative activity in your life often involves some creative thinking. Real factors like time and money are often what keep people from exercising their creative muscles.

But with a little self-assessment and a bit of planning, you can get your creative on like crazy!

Getting started with creativity as self-care

How much time do you have? How much money can you invest in your creative endeavors? What roadblocks are in your way?

Understanding what your limitations are from the start is important. It lets you know that you’ll be able to keep up with whatever creative endeavor you undertake. And it will keep it from being disappointed, too.

As for WHAT creative endeavor to try, start with thinking about things you liked to do as a child. Maybe you could always be found with a pile of colored pencils around, drawing your world as you saw it. Or perhaps you were known as a fantastic storyteller, weaving tales to entertain friends and family. Or maybe you were the girl who loved pretend play.

(I was the latter. My whole childhood was made up of me being the teacher and my friends, brother, or stuffed animals being my students. Sometimes creativity and reality are tightly intertwined!)

You can also explore creative outlets that you wanted to do as a child but never could. Perhaps you dreamed of learning a musical instrument or taking dance lessons, but your family couldn’t afford it. Of maybe you grew up in a home that didn’t tolerate mess making. If you’re idea of getting creative involves lots of materials and a messy process, enjoy being in charge of your fate now!

How creativity bolsters brain power

Especially for women in perimenopause and beyond, engaging in creative activities fires up the brain centers to keep memory fog at bay. For most people, undertaking creative action– whether its writing or knitting or dancing– uses parts of the brain you don’t use in the rest of your daily life.By learning new things and asking your brain to work in unusual-to-you ways, you’re exercising your brain. Laying down new neural pathways is excellent preventative healthcare for your brain.

Creativity also reduces your stress levels. Lower stress has a cascade of positive benefits. For the brain, lower stress means less risk of dementia. For the body, lower stress means less risk of high blood pressure, weight gain, and heart disease.

Creativity as self-care is a can’t-lose experience!

Five Fabulous Fatigue Fighters

Five Fabulous Fatigue Fighters

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of women in perimenopause. For women who are used to getting things done and having plenty of energy all day, being hit with fatigue is rough. You don’t lose the desire to get things done. You just plain don’t have the energy to do them.

There are a number of reasons perimenopausal women experience fatigue. At the risk of gross generalization, almost all of them boil down to a hormone imbalance. Elevated levels of cortisol put the body into a state of chronic stress, and the easiest way for the body to survive is to carefully guard energy reserves. In your reality, this translates to fatigue.

And while you may be in the habit of reaching for a caffeinated drink or a sugary pick-me-up, stop! Those will only magnify your tiredness later. Even worse, they’re wreaking havoc on your hormone levels.

If you’re tired of feeling tired all the time, try these five fabulous fatigue fighters!

Drink some water

Hydration is key for staving off fatigue. If your body is dehydrated, blood volume drops. When blood volume drops, your heart works harder to pump blood throughout your body. The energy for that extra work has to come from somewhere! It’s being taken from your energy stores.

Try some deep breathing 

Most of us breathe shallowly all the time. When we fill (and empty) our lungs completely, we are flooding our body with oxygen. That oxygen wakes up the brain and the muscles. If you can work on conscious deep breathing for 3-5 minutes, you’ll feel revitalized.

Try this: Sit up tall. Inhale while counting to 4. Hold for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Keeping the breath deep, steady, and even is your goal.

There’s even better news for perimenopausal women about deep breathing. Breath work can help reduce hot flashes, too!

Move it!

Movement asks the heart to push all of that well-oxygenated blood around the body. Whether it’s getting up and going for three minute walk around the office or just standing up at your desk and doing some gentle stretches, the shift from being sedentary to moving enlivens your body.

Bonus points: Get outside and move around in the sunshine. Sunlight interacts with your circadian rhythms to remind your body that it’s time to be awake and active right now.

Grab a Snack

Eating a nutrient-dense snack can perk you up, provided you don’t eat too much. (That will send blood to your digestive tract, robbing you of the energy you’re seeking.) Nuts are a great option for a fatigue fighting snack. Their protein and fat will stimulate your energy without setting you up for a crash later on.

Protect your Sleep

Of course, the best possible way to fight fatigue is to ensure you’re getting the right amount of sleep for your body. Without proper sleep, your body suffers in a multitude of ways. Your brain is less sharp, your appetite signaling hormones aren’t as well regulated, and your fat receptor cells are all fired up. This trifecta of negative effects should be avoided at all costs!

Work to be as protective of your sleep as you are of, say, your wallet. Recognize that investing in good sleep pays great dividends.

While it may be hard to do things like give up vegging on the couch in front of the TV while you doze off, allowing your body to drop into sleep in a more supportive environment really does matter.

Wait…..were you expecting a fatigue fighting magic pill?

There isn’t one. But when you nail the basics of good health and wellness habits, fatigue falls away. Your energy levels rise, your mental engagement perks up, and you’re ready to handle whatever life throws at you.

So stop trying to overcomplicate things. If you’re ready to learn more and take action creating your wellness lifestyle, check out my ecourse Build Healthy Habits: Six Weeks to Wellness. Because when you feel better, you feel better!

Carry on, fatigue fighter!