It’s 6 a.m. and you’re at the gym with nothing in your belly but a cup of coffee.
Best to start with a zero balance to burn more, right?
Honey, going to the gym without eating is like competing on “Dancing With the Stars” without a spray tan. Like applying for a job without a resume. Like going on a third date with hairy legs and granny panties. It’s just plain negligent.
In order to maximize your workout, you must be properly fueled. We’re not saying you need to hit the breakfast buffet hard before a round on the treadmill, but something in your belly is better than nothing. Nourish your bod and you’ll get more out of your fitness regimen – including a boost in your metabolism and energy. Bottom line, girl-who-thinks-espresso-is-protein, eating the right foods will get you faster results. For reals? For real.
Here are a few tips to get your wheels turning and your body burning before you start to sweat:
Pass on the protein bars. Protein bars are often intended as full meal replacements but most of us see them as a snack. Here’s a big, fat FYI – these bars are usually packed with calories, preservatives and refined sugars. So if you are really in a pinch, read the labels carefully and choose a bar with organic ingredients. Soy Joy, 18 Rabbits and Larabar offer great choices.
Remember your A,B and C’s. Almond Butter and Celery. This is how we do our ABCs. This combo is one of the best pre-gym power snacks. It packs a punch of protein, fiber, healthy fat and nutrients (including vitamin A and calcium). This low-calorie snack will fill you up without weighing you down. The fat and protein give a “slow-release” energy which will sustain you throughout your sesh.
Go bananas. We can’t think of a more portable food for the gym, can you? Smear some organic peanut butter on that with a handful of almonds for added protein. Bananas provide natural sugars for energy and are packed with nutrients like vitamin A, iron and potassium – all of which can help promote bone health (muy importante for those pushing 30 and over).
Berry the hunger. Berries are the sexiest superfood. There, we said it. High in fiber and low in sugar, berries are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, making them an ideal pre-workout treat when paired with protein. Go nuts with this one.
Grab some granola. Not pressed for time? Reach for some energy-rich granola, but think a small handful. Toss it into a bowl with a little soy, almond or hemp milk. Opt for an organic, low-fat variety. Granola is a natural complex carbohydrate great for providing energy, a healthy fat and protein. Wanna get crazy? Add some berries, you sexy thang.
Elie Gulan is a celebrity trainer and television personality who has charmed the pants off the fitness industry with her challenging and motivating ‘mind and body’ techniques. Elise contributes to a myriad of publications including Shape, Self, Women’s Health, Glamour and Elle, along with a series of top-selling fitness DVDs. Ms. Gulan’s diverse hosting and fitness talents have been featured on various networks including ABC, E!, Lifetime Television and MTV. Visit her Web site at www.elisegulan.com.