Disclosure: I was provided with samples of ENERGYbits for this post. I was not compensated for my time. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own! For more details please see my policies.
When I started my new business, I created a list of personal goals to along with a list of work-related goals. On that list are things I’ve been thinking about for ages, but never had the time for. Honestly, I have no clue what I was thinking. Since starting the new business I’ve been busier than ever between writing, classes, client work and trying not to get distracted by dirty dishes during work hours. Somehow though, with my renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm, I’ve actually made some significant progress.
But the one goal I’ve struggled with the most is to get on a consistent workout routine. For me, it’s always been easier to eat healthy than exercise, probably because I enjoy cooking so much. I like to work out once I get started, but, as cliche as it sounds, it’s hard for me to find the motivation and time to just get started.
So, rather than repeating the same steps over and over again (i.e. telling myself I’m going to workout in the morning, sleeping in, telling myself I’ll workout after work, not doing it), I decided to approach it in a different way. After reading this article by James Clear about how to change your beliefs in order to stick to your goals for good, I’ve been trying to start thinking of myself as the type of person who wouldn’t miss a workout.
On the days I work from home, I wear workout clothes instead of PJ’s (one of the perks of people only seeing you from the neck up). I’ve been drinking water out of a polar bottle instead of a glass. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve been trying to eat like an athlete.
That said, eating like an athlete isn’t that different than eating like a normal, healthy person. The biggest difference is a change in mindset, starting to think of food as your fuel. And of course, you want the premium stuff. Exercise uses many of the nutrients from food, plus additional minerals are lost in sweat, making it critical to chose foods that will give you a nutritional bang for your buck. Protein, unprocessed carbohydrate, potassium, iron and sodium are especially important nutrients.
My favorite foods for athletes are ones that do double duty, replacing more than one critical nutrient at a time. Here are my top 5 favorite foods for active men and women.
As one of the more sugar dense fruits, bananas are one of my favorite foods to fuel activity. Sugar is the bodies preferred source of fuel, which is why sports drinks, bars and gels are so heavily sweetened. While these foods may provide the fuel you need, they’re not exactly good for you. Natural sugars on the other hand, like bananas, also contain fiber, which slows down sugar metabolism and provides a longer lasting source of fuel. Also, as most people know, bananas are a rich source of potassium, a mineral lost in sweat. Try them in my strawberry & banana green smoothie bowl or baked oatmeal with bananas and berries.
After a workout, your body needs carbohydrate to replace glycogen stores and protein to help build muscle. Quinoa, the wonder food that it is, contains both. It’s also a rich source of copper, which helps generate energy from carbohydrate. Try it in my quinoa tahini bars or Inca porridge.
Eggs, Organic and Pastured
Spirulina is a type of algae usually sold in a green powder that can be mixed into smoothies. It doesn’t taste bad…but I wouldn’t say it tastes great either. So why eat it? Spirulina is basically nature’s multivitamin, but in whole food rather than supplement form. Spirulina is a rich source of nutrition, notably vitamin A, vitamin E and B vitamins. It’s also a rich source of easily absorbed iron, making spirulina an especially great choice for active women, who run a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia. According to the ORAC scale, a scale that measures antioxidant content of foods, spirulina is one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world. Spirulina also has the highest concentration of protein of any other food at 64%. This is why I use a scoop of my spirulina-rich green smoothie booster in almost every smoothie I make!