Welcome to Workout Wednesday

I’m in training mode again! After my half marathon this past April I knew I wanted to feel that runner’s high, push my body to the (comfortable, injury-free) limit, and get  in-tune with my running body’s nutritional needs more often, so here I go again! This September I’m running the Bronx 10 Mile and with August now in full swing I thought it was about time to hop back on the training wagon.

This summer was filled with fun weekend trips to NJ visiting my sister, the weddings of two of my best friends from college, and the birth of my amazing niece. Suffice it to say I was not in the city most weekends and the opportunity (or motivation) for long, sweaty runs was not on the top of my to-do list. Now that summer is slowing down I can’t wait to lace up and put up some miles on the Hudson River bike path and the Central Park loop. I’ll be sure to post some training updates and new recipes for fueling foods in the next few weeks, but today I wanted to turn to another fitness project I’ve been working on.

Back home in Northern Kentucky, my parents own a CrossFit box, and while the WOD (workout of the day) and who can crush a 500 meter row the fastest are the main topics of conversation among their athletes (I could be totally wrong, I don’t crossfit…) nutrition comes in as a close second.

If you are aware of the CrossFit community or maybe you partake yourself, you know that the Paleo diet is promoted as #1 and a Crossfitter is usually spotted with some kind of protein drink blender bottle in hand, but are these food and nutrition principles recommended for everyone, and furthermore are they sustianable habits for your lifelong health goals in and out of the box or gym?

Nutrition is touted as the base of your performace, and so many athletes at CrossFit SOTO have been requesting that some of their curious questions about how food fits into their training and lives finally receive an answer. That’s where my expertise as a Registered Dietitian comes in! While I’m not a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), my foundation in nutrition science, medical nutrition therapy, and personal ventures into exercise and fitness, make me a qualified resource for providing nutrition recommendations for Crossfiters looking to improve their performance, as well as for recreational athletes at the gym interested in weight loss or tips for better meal planning.

Many of you readers out there may be athletes yourself and whether you do crossfit, run, bike, yoga, or kung-fu, this information could apply to you! I’ve decided to dedicate one day per week to address all things fitness, highlighting a CrossFit Query submitted by a member of CrossFit SOTO and perhaps some of my own person training updates and fueling foods when a question hasn’t been asked.

If anyone out there has their own questions about fueling for fitness, feel free to leave them in the comments or send a private message.

Without further ado, here’s your first Workout Wednesday post!

Crossfit Query: I’m trying to tone up/shed some unnecessary weight for my wedding [read: any event you want to look your best for]. I understand diet is mostly fitness and weight loss, but for some reason I’m experiencing extreme hunger everyday now; I haven’t really felt this hungry this consistently before, even boxing or playing football.

If you’ve intentionally been hitting the box harder and/or more frequently these days as part of your weight loss efforts, it is natural for your hunger to feel more pronounced. You’re working harder, and so you are truly needing more calories to replenish your muscle glycogen (sugar) stores after a workout. If you find the hunger to be constant throughout the day, I recommend first taking a look at how you’re re-fueling after your workout. The 1-2 hours post-WOD are critical for replenishment. Ideally, consume a snack or small meal consisting of protein and carbohydrates- for example, a protein shake with banana, turkey+cheese+apple roll-ups, Greek yogurt with berries, or microwave egg breakfast sandwich. Both of these macronutrient groups will simultaneously help replenish your muscles and carry glucose to the brain, which sends the signal that your hunger as been satisfied…for now.

Feeling hungry later in the day, hours after your workout, is also not unnatural. At that time assess your hunger level, and if you’re body is really asking for energy, and you’re not eating out of boredom/anger/sadness, then have a snack! Again, a high protein, fiber filled snack will do a better job at satisfying your hunger. Some examples of hunger satisfying, but not calorie-bomb snacks are- rice cake with avocado+lemon juice+chili flake, carrots or whole wheat crackers with hummus, apple with peanut butter, a bar if you’re in a pinch (Rx Bar, KIND, Health Warrior Chia or Pumpkin Seed bars), yogurt with pumpkin seeds, or tuna fish on Wasa crisps.

Another tip is to stay hydrated with water! Hunger is often dehydration in disguise.

With a follow up question of: However,  I’m always concerned about going over my calorie “budget” for the day.

It is understandable to feel the need to stay within a calorie “budget” when trying to lose weight. The logic is, reduce your food intake (less calories in) + increased exercise (more calories out)= weight loss, which is true, but nutrition and weight loss is different for everyone. In order to more accurately determine your calorie needs, I recommend meeting with a registered dietitian to determine your baseline calorie needs first, and then, taking into consideration your activity level and weight loss goals, figuring out an appropriate amount of calories to “budget”. And remember, one day going over your calorie “budget” isn’t going to ruin your weight loss efforts, just like one day of eating salads won’t make you lose all the weight you need/want to. If you’re choosing nutrient dense foods (fruits, vegetable, whole grains, lean proteins) to satisfy your hunger you can loosen the reigns on the calorie counting.


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