Healthy Carb Swaps to Get You Geared Up for Challenge Phase 2
Phase 1 was all about establishing a foundation of quality training by establishing healthy lifestyle habits, including meal planning, sufficient sleep, and recovery. This is the time to make the most out of each session and continue to progress towards your goals.
When it comes to maximizing performance, establishing a healthy eating routine is crucial for continued progression. Without high-quality food to fuel and support our workouts, your body goes into overdrive working to recover and adapt to high intensity workouts. Food is crucial in providing our body with quality macro and micronutrients to boost and maintain energy, recover efficiently and to support positive change in body composition, including fat loss and lean muscle development.
In an effort to help keep you on track and hold you accountable to a healthy pre and post workout eating routine, our F45 Nutrition experts have outlined a few tips to help you make the most out of each upcoming Challenge workout. Whether your goal is fat loss, building muscle, or improving your overall health, we encourage you to prioritize nutrition before and after your daily sessions. This will help keep your training intensity high, while avoiding potential energy crashes or plateaus.
Swap processed carbs for whole grains
Small, yet effective, changes to our daily eating routine can have a big impact on performance success. When it comes to selecting food at the grocery store, carbohydrates are one macronutrient to consider, as they play a large role in regulating blood sugar, metabolism, motivation, and overall energy levels. We recommend minimizing or avoiding processed carbohydrates as much as possible and instead choosing high-fiber, whole grain foods including rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, and multigrain bread.
Processed carbohydrates including baked goods, white rice, pasta, and bread have been stripped of their nutrient density (aka fiber) during processing. We need fiber in our diet to slow digestion, balance blood sugar, and maintain feelings of fullness. Fiber is also necessary for gut health and optimal immune function as it promotes the removal of waste and toxins within the body. Unlike processed varieties, whole-grain carbohydrates have their fiber intact to provide substantial nutritional value and quality training fuel. Additionally, complex carbs, including whole grains and veggies, provide sustained energy without inducing rapid changes in blood sugar that commonly occurs following processed carb consumption. Fiber-rich carbs also make an ideal post-workout meal to replenish lost energy stores and aid recovery, both of which are key for training adaptation to occur.
Maximize carbohydrate meal timing
Avoiding processed carbs in the morning is key for maintaining stable blood sugar throughout the day to avoid “sugar crash” and cravings in the afternoon or evening. Carbs in the morning should be low glycemic, mainly consisting of whole grains and veggies in combination with quality protein (eggs, nuts, legumes) which promote satiety and prevent cravings. High glycemic carbs such as dried fruit are the optimal to have post-workout to replenish lost energy stores and enhance recovery. Aside from being mindful of portion sizes and meal timing, regular hydration throughout the day is essential to regulating portion size and reducing hunger cravings. We recommend having a glass of water before or with every meal in addition to during and post-workout to avoid dehydration which can induce sugar cravings.
Protein and Carbs’ Go Hand-in-Hand
The combination of quality complex carbohydrates with protein provides a steady source of energy throughout the day which is crucial to sustain a high level of training.
Combining a quality protein source such as nuts, eggs, tuna, or legumes with whole grain, complex carbs is beneficial to weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness, boosting metabolism, and promoting lean muscle mass development. Try a post-workout snack that includes an apple topped off with nut butter or a larger meal such as chicken salad with beans and veggies!
To kickstart your meal planning, here’s two Challenge pre/ post workout snack ideas that combine a quality source of carbs and protein:
What you’ll need:
150g frozen edamame beans, thawed
120g canned chickpeas, rinsed
2 garlic cloves
1/3 bunch basil leaves
30ml olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp. filtered water
Himalayan salt & pepper
2 medium (122g) carrots, cut into matchsticks
To prepare: Add edamame beans, chickpeas, garlic, basil, olive oil, lemon and water to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with carrot sticks.
What you’ll need:
180g Greek yoghurt
35g frozen blueberries
2.5ml maple syrup (0.5 tsp.)
15g F45 Fuel Protein Powder (flavour of your choice)
3tsp chia seeds
To prepare: Add yoghurt to a medium bowl and mix through the F45 Fuel Protein powder and chia seeds.Top with blueberries, maple syrup and almonds. Enjoy!