Fuel Up For a Workout

I recently spoke with ETB Fit and they asked how I fuel my workouts. That made me sit there and think, “how do I fuel my workouts?” I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to a routine, that I never really thought about it. This inspired me to sit down and reflect on what I do when it comes to my workout routine. After reflecting on it, I thought it would be great to share my fueling tips in hopes of sparking inspiration for other people’s workouts.

Eating Pre-Workout: Protein! The most important thing I do before a workout is eat some kind of protein. It doesn’t have to be a full chicken breast or anything big like that, but there should be some form of protein. Typically I eat a protein bar or a peanut butter sandwich. This varies based on the time of day. When I do my 6:15am classes, I usually stick with the protein bar. I’ve never been able to eat right when I wake up without feeling sick afterwards, so I stick to a smaller item in the morning that will give me the energy I need for the gym, but not too much so that I feel sick. Following the workout, I’ll eat a proper breakfast. However, if I’m working out in the evening, I’ll usually want a bit more food. If I’m working out at night, it’s usually after work and runs in to dinner time. Because I know I’ll be hungrier, I have something like a peanut butter sandwich or some yogurt with granola before hitting the gym.

Snacks or meals before a workout are not the only way to fuel a workout. Although I don’t typically take supplements before a workout, they are a great way to fuel a workout. While talking with ETB Fit, they have a great line of pre-workout supplements if that’s how you want to fuel your workout. Personally, I prefer post-workout supplements or powders, but we’ll get to that later on.

Pump Up the Jams: I’ve played around with listening to music and not listening to music during a workout, and have noticed a couple things, mostly with running. When I run without music, I have a much more consistent pace. I’ve noticed when I have songs playing, I try to keep pace with them. That can help and hurt a run. It took me some time to train myself not to run to the beat of the music. That is, until I need that extra push. Music is fantastic when you need that extra push to finish a run or even a race. I always have some power songs on my playlist. My go-to power song is “Ready to Roll” by Jet Black Stare. Something about that beat just makes me want to run until my legs fall off.

Music is also important in other aspects in working out. As a Zumba instructor, music is the core of that workout. You can’t have a Zumba class without music. And in that case, there needs to be music that makes you want to dance. There are so many times one of my Zumba songs will come on while I’m in the car and I just start dancing in my seat. Music fuels the workout in this case.

Switch Up Your Routine: It’s pretty easy to fall into a routine of the same thing. I experienced that a lot when I trained for my first half marathon. I ran…all the time. My training program told me to run, so I ran. That worked for the first few weeks, but eventually it got boring and I had a harder time find the motivation to run. I needed to do something to other than running. Luckily, around the corner from my apartment was a Pilates studio. I started going there one-two times per week. Just adding another workout in the mix helped me get back on track with running, and kept my muscles healthier with running.

I’ve certainly changed up my workout a lot since then as well. I actually have been to Pilates in a year or so (partly because I haven’t found a good place to go for it in Florida yet) and partly because I wanted to try new things. I belong to LA Fitness, and they have a variety classes. Sometimes when I’m feeling bored with my workout, I’ll try a new class. I did the Yogabeat class for awhile, Cardio Kickboxing and spinning. Anytime I felt like my workout was starting to hit a roadblock, I would try something new to freshen it up. I also go to OrangeTheory Fitness, and while the core concept of the workout is the same from class to class, the actual classes are not and that keeps it exciting.

Eating Post Workout: Similarly to the pre-workout snacks, my selections vary by the time of day. For the morning workouts, I try to eat additional protein after with something like eggs. Protein is always good in the morning. Since I used the pre-workout protein to fuel my workout, I need to add some more protein in to fuel the rest of the day. If I came home and ate a donut, I wouldn’t feel as good the rest of the day. I would have basically ruined my workout and the day by doing that. This tends to change with the evening workouts though. It honestly depends on how hungry I am post workout. Sometimes that peanut butter sandwich will keep me full and I’ll finish off my day with a fruit smoothie. Sometimes I’ll add some protein powder to the smoothie for an added benefit and that’s the perfect way to end my workout. Other times I’ll be starving and go home and cook a full meal – pasta, chicken, soup – whatever I’m in the mood for. I just always try to keep it healthy and proportional. As one of my trainers used to say, exercise will never outweigh a bad diet. The last thing I want to do after a workout is eat something bad for me.

So there you have it; the ways I fuel my workout. I hope you go out and give some of these tips and topics a try in your own workout.

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**Disclaimer: This post was written to reflect on my workouts and how I fuel them based on a discussion with ETB Fit. Because I had discussed this post with ETB Fit I shared some of their pre-workout information as well. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.**

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