Fueling Your New Fitness Routine
The New Year is as great a time as any to start a new fitness routine – and it’s prime time for finding motivational workout buddies or taking the plunge on a new gym membership. To bring your best and make your hard sweat count for as much as possible, nutrition is a performance key. Eating well for exercise will help make your habits more sustainable and create a positive feedback loop: healthy food = more energy = increased readiness to exercise. Here are some ideas for foods to keep your body fueled and energized, along with tips for staying on track for the long-term.
Before your workout
When it comes to preparing for a workout, carbohydrates are the champion. They provide our body with quick energy, and power our muscles and brain while we workout (and beyond!). Carbohydrates are easily broken down by our body into glucose, which is the primary fuel for exercise. It also keeps your hunger in check while exercising. If exercising for a short period of time, a simple serving of fruit may do the trick - while longer-duration exercise can benefit from a larger meal a few hours before a workout.
Pre-workout snacks to try:
- Whole or dried fruit
- Fruit + yogurt smoothie
- Whole grain cereal or bar
- Whole grain toast
During your workout
Be sure to have a water bottle handy before, during, and after your workout! Lightheadedness and fatigue can be signs of dehydration, so if you tend to experience this, turn to some good ‘ol H2O! If doing longer-endurance exercise, consider refueling with a potassium-rich banana or orange to reduce muscle cramps and provide quick energy!
After your workout
Now is the time for protein. Protein provides the amino acids necessary for your body to rebuild the muscles you just used. After working so hard, make the most of this effort and feed your muscles! Strong muscles help improve balance and stamina, can relieve some body pains, and even create more of those positive feedback loops in the body such as managing insulin better and helping to burn more calories at rest.
Post-workout snacks to try:
- Protein shake/drink
- Hard-boiled egg
- String cheese
- Nuts/trail mix
- Greek yogurt
- Tuna pouch
Tips to Stay Motivated
Think about long term goals: As we start off in 2022, what are the things we’d like to have accomplished throughout the year? How does that new and healthier you look and feel? What habits would you like to become part of your routine? Spend some time writing down ideas and even visualizing - to be able to imagine it brings it closer within your reach! Put your list of ideas or inspiring quotes somewhere where you can see it on a regular basis.
Break it down into smaller habits: Nobody ever finished a marathon by showing up fresh at the starting line without having gone through some training first. It takes a carefully prepared plan based on smaller undertakings for us to accomplish those larger feats, and even for exercise to become a natural part of a long-lasting routine. Examples of planning in action can be signing up for a program such as a Couch to 5K, or a similarly structured program where you incrementally increase your activity. Though it can be tempting to wish for instant results, slow and steady really is what it takes to complete the race and achieve your goal.
Think outside the box: Fitness doesn’t only have to happen at the gym. Remember that you can get fit by joining a dance class, or participating in outdoor activities like going for a walk, bike ride, or even roller skating! And don’t let the weather be your excuse! Bundle up and find a new way to get moving today.
Your Firefly care team is here to help
If you’re looking for support with staying accountable and motivated while on your health journey, your care team at Firefly is here for you! Book a visit with your care team today, or speak with your Health Guide for personalized tips.
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