5 Things Trainers Think About When Preparing Food

This morning I completed a tough workout with a friend. The workout included cardio, strength and abs. We did a variety of lunges and squats, mountain climbers paired with push-ups, side plank crunches and stability challenges. On a scale of 1 to 10 my level of effort during that workout ranged between a 7 – 9. I was spent. Here’s the report from my Polar heart rate monitor.

Workout heart rate report

Workout heart rate report

As you can see by the report, I burned 447 calories and kept a relatively high intensity for the entire workout.

When I got home I was ready to refuel. After entering my food into MyFitnessPal I got to thinking about a ‘snack’ I had yesterday, as well as a couple meals that I have eaten recently that are about the equivalent of what I burned in that workout.

Let’s take a closer look at my snack and meals. I know the ‘details’ of calories can be boring and overwhelming. I hope that by sharing what I learned by the details from each, you will be encouraged to take a closer look at your choices as well.

The snack, while healthy, was high in calories, carbs and sugar. However, because I was using it as fuel for an upcoming workout, it was timed perfectly. Looking back, I could definitely have dropped the banana and reduced the amount of milk.

Let’s dig into the ‘details’ on each of these…

Cereal

Here’s the breakdown of this snack:

  • 2 servings Special K Protein 240 calories
  • 1 cup FairLife 2% milk 120 calories
  • 1/2 cup blueberries 42 calories
  • 1 banana 100 calories
  • TOTALS: 501 calories, 62% carbs, 12% fat, 26% protein
  • TOTALS: 35 grams of protein, 82 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber, 41 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fat

Remember, this snack was ‘beefed up’ because I was using it to fuel me for teaching an hour long cardio class and then instructing another hour long BootCamp class. Snacks should generally be around 100 calories.

Now let’s look at a couple meals I have consumed lately.

The first meal has a decent amount of protein but is a little high in fat. One easy improvement I can make to this meal is to use a better quality fat such as Greek yogurt or avocado to assemble the egg salad. While I always have hard boiled eggs in my fridge as an easy protein, I failed to plan for the healthy fats this week.

One of my go to meals when I don't have much time.

One of my go to meals when I don’t have much time.

  • 1 slice Ezekiel bread 80 calories
  • 2 hard boiled eggs 140 calories
  • 1 tbsp Miracle Whip 40 calories
  • 1 tsp Mustard 5 calories
  • 1 cup FairLife 2% milk 120 calories
  • TOTALS: 385 calories, 25% carbs, 44% fat, 31% protein
  • TOTALS: 29 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 18 grams of fat

I can’t emphasize enough how important planning is to a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s your food choices or getting in your workout, you have to plan to make it work.

Finally, here’s a post-workout meal I ate the other night. I had just finished teaching PiYo and INSANITY, followed by an hour of upper body strength training. This meal had the greatest amount of protein which I needed to refuel and repair after 3 hours of intensive exercise.

Tuna

To be honest, I actually couldn’t even finish this meal. My dog got to enjoy some of the remaining tuna and I saved the broccoli for later this week.

  • 1 slice Ezekiel bread 80 calories
  • 2 pkg Low Sodium Albacore White Tuna 140 calories
  • 1 tbsp Miracle Whip 40 calories
  • 1 tsp Mustard 0 calories
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli 40
  • 1 cup FairLife 2% milk 120 calories
  • TOTALS: 440 calories, 28% carbs, 22% fat, 50% protein
  • TOTALS: 55 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 10 grams of fat

Protein is so important to the recovery process after exercise and in general most people don’t consume enough quality protein. I find that tuna is another great go-to protein source for me with 17 grams in just one single serving package.


So what does this all really mean? The numbers are boring, right? I think they are too. But they are a key component to weight loss, building lean muscle and workout recovery.

My advice to you:

  1. KNOW your portion sizes! I intentionally had 2 servings of the cereal because 3/4 of a cup for a pre-workout snack just isn’t enough. However, all to often we are doubling and even tripling portions without being aware.
  2. PLAN and PREPARE! I was without healthy fat ‘fillers’ this week for both my hard boiled eggs and tuna. Take the time to plan your meals, have easy snacks on hand and you will be far more successful in sticking to healthy choices.
  3. PROTEIN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN! I know many people struggle with finding quality sources of protein. Boil eggs and have them on hand, cook extra chicken at dinner time that is easy to use for lunches, prepare quinoa and have it in the fridge to add to salads or use as a side, find a powder that you like and make a shake…the thing is there are plenty of ways to consume protein – find what works for you.
  4. WATCH your sugar intake! My snack was very high in sugar because of the fruits I added to the cereal. The cereal and milk combined were 20 grams of the 41 grams of sugar. So the fruit was just over half of that. Here is an excellent resource to see which fruits have the least and most amount of sugar.
  5. CHOOSE quality calories! The snack and two meals I shared here were filling. Had I chose a soda and chips it might have been the same calories but I wouldn’t have had the same energy and likely would have been hungry shortly afterwards. Eating junk leaves me feeling like garbage, but eating quality foods makes me feel strong.
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