Last Fall, I joined a high intensity aerobic class at the gym. I went to Body Fit twice a week to help kick my fitness routine into high gear. I definitely felt the benefits of a new program. (I had sore muscles in places that I didn't even know I HAD muscles.) It was a great way for me to change up my workout schedule and keep me motivated to workout.
The workouts were exhausting and I was a sweaty mess by the end of every class. Most of the time, by the time I got home, I would be absolutely STARVING. I always preach the benefits of eating and drinking within 30 minutes of a hard workout so I followed my own advice. I would eat granola bars or bananas or trail mix.
The only problem is that almost as soon as I started the class, my jeans started to get tighter. Coincidence? At first, I chalked my shrinking pant situation up to increased muscle mass but I knew that there was something else going on. Why was I working out harder than ever and GAINING weight instead of losing it?
I started to keep an exercise journal and it made me realize that I was drastically overestimating the amount of calories that I was burning. I was using Body Fit as my "free ticket" to eat whatever I wanted during the day with the thought that I would burn all off the calories off in class.
Body Fit was an evening class so I had this idea in my head that I needed to consume plenty of fuel throughout the day so I wouldn't lose energy during my workout. I was eating all day and not really giving much thought to the kinds of foods that would be beneficial to my workout.
Once I started to make and effort to replenish my muscles with smaller amounts of healthy food after a workout, my jeans started to fit better again. I found that an apple or a yogurt smoothie is a great way to curve my hunger after a hard workout instead of eating everything in sight.
The math is simple really - I was consuming more calories than I was burning - yes, it took me a good month to figure that out. (Or admit it.) So now I'm eating healthier both before and after my workouts. Salmon is one of my favorite pre-workout meals and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare it. I found this recipe on juliasalbum.com.
Asian SalmonPrep time: 40 minutes
Makes 4 servings.
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
a pinch of ginger (powdered)
1 and 1/4 pounds salmon
Combine all ingredients (except salmon) in a glass baking dish.
Add salmon. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Pour marinade out of dish and turn fish over so skin side is down.
Bake 15 minutes at 350.
Serve with broccoli, rice and bread.
A hard workout requires a lot of energy so I fuel my body with a light dinner of carbohydrates, lean protein and a little fat. No excuses now - I'm off to workout.