This week we worked on getting comfortable with the group, which no one seemed to have a problem with, considering they all band together hurling insults at me, their diabolical trainer. I got lucky with this group, I have seven totally different personalities. The common ground lies within everyone’s work ethic and sense of humor. I swear, we burn an extra 150 calories each class just from laughing.
The only time they’re not laughing: doing 25 burpees and 25 jumping jacks as their warm-up, which will only increase as the weeks progress. We will add 5 reps each week, which means they will be doing 55 by week six. Adding five a week is a great way to increase your ability without noticing a drastic change.
Week one is all about the basics. Body-weight exercises, simple circuits, and pre/post workout nutrition. We set goals for the following week, each person focusing on a small tweak to their diets and fitness regimen. Here are a few nutrition goals we set, focusing on one small tweak each week can help you improve your overall diet without feeling overwhelmed:
*eating less sodium *working on portion control *maintaining regular eating habits *regularly consuming post-workout protein shakes after workouts *limiting alcohol consumption
We did the same with fitness goals, each person had a different “tweak” to focus on. Many were similar:
*add a workout on your own outside of class *walk 3x per week *perform push-ups and sit-ups every day, etc.
During Friday’s class, we will always spend half our time focusing on nutrition. We talked about why it’s not just calories in/calories out, and the importance of pre/post workout nutrition, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
You want to eat 1-2 hours before a workout, consuming something low on the glycemic index (complex carbohydrates) and protein. Stay hydrated with water, and consume caffeine 30 minutes before your workout for an extra jolt of energy and higher fat burning ability.
Slow digesting carbohydrates prevent you from a drop in your glucose (blood sugar), which will keep you from hitting that wall of exhaustion during your workout. If you don’t consume carbs, you’re putting yourself at risk for burning your muscle instead of fat.
Muscle not only takes up less space, but it also burns more fat per hour than fat itself does. Protein supplies your muscles with amino acids , which are building blocks of your muscles. Try a packet of oatmeal with flax seed and almonds, a cup of brown rice and lean white meat (like turkey, tuna, or chicken), a pre-workout shake, or a protein bar.
For both pre and post workout snacks, you want to keep your calorie count between 200-300 calories if you’re a woman, and 300-400 if you’re a man. You also want to avoid a high fat content. While fat IS a necessary element in any diet as it aids digestion, it actually blocks some of your body’s ability to absorb protein and carbohydrates, which is crucial for fueling your workouts and re-building after them.
Post workout nutrition is perhaps one of the most important elements in any fitness regimen, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. When you perform a workout, your muscle fibers tear and slightly open for a short period of time to allow them to grow. This is why its imperative that you consume fast digesting proteins and carbohydrates within 30-45 minutes of your workout.
Fast digesting carbohydrates are simple carbs (or sugar, which simple carbs break down to) that are high on the glycemic index, and after your workout you need them to replenish the glycogen you’ve used while working out. Glycogen is essential to the body and it works with insulin to break down and regulate your food intake.
Fast digesting proteins are whey protein isolates, which are quickly absorbed by the body. Slow digesting proteins, or casein proteins, take far longer to digest and break down, and keep you fuller longer.
The easiest and most effective versions of whey protein are found in post-workout protein powders (shakes). They generally carry the perfect amount of fast digesting carbohydrates and protein with a low fat content, ideal for helping re-build your muscles to raise your metabolism. If you don’t have access to them, or have certain dietary restrictions, try low-fat chocolate milk or soy protein.
Next week we will be focusing on building beginner’s circuits, learning about “active recovery”, label reading, and portion control. Check back next Saturday for more “Boot Camp Diaries” and you’re always welcome to stop by and check out a class!