Many athletes experience difficulty reaching their personal best and find they aren’t performing to their fullest. It is frustrating to feel the training program isn’t adequate, yet the place to make the most impact might be the fuel before, during, and after performing.
Check out our running and resistance training blogs for more information on starting a training program:
Before Your Run
- Choose foods that provide you with enough fuel and are also easily digested.
- If you are consuming a full meal prior to exercise, aim for 3-4 hours before of high quality carbohydrates and lean protein.
- You also want to work in 17-20 ounces of fluid, preferably water.
- If snacking before exercise, shoot for 30-60 minutes before that is high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, with 5-10 ounces of water.
During Your Run
- Alert! A moderate-to-high intensity run that lasts longer than one hour should include some extra intake during your exercise. The body can break down about 1g of carbohydrate per minute, so try to shoot for 30-60 grams of carbohydrate every hour during endurance training.
- Be cautious of taking in high-fiber carbohydrates and high fat foods prior to and during exercise as these foods affect digestion. Save your heart healthy fats and fiber rich carbohydrates for post exercise recovery.
After Your Run
- Meals or snacks after endurance exercise are important for muscle recovery, particularly when exercising more than 90 minutes and planning for another bout of hard training the next day (such as training for a half marathon or marathon).
- Victory meals after a race are fun to celebrate your achievements, but remember recovery meals should be composed of both carbohydrate and protein.
- Keep victory meals to one meal, and be sure to jump back on track the next day.
- Carbohydrate helps to restore muscle glycogen and protein repairs muscle damage as well as stimulates muscle protein synthesis. Half a gram of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight and 10-25 grams of protein can be a target for a post exercise meal.
- High glycemic carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, cereals, and pretzels will restore muscle glycogen faster than lower glycemic foods such as yogurt or milk.
- Don’t forget your water! Weigh yourself before and after your exercise, appropriate hydration post-exercise should include 16-24 ounces for each pound of fluid lost.
- Remember that exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. The balance between the two can help you achieve your personal best.
HDL Meal/Snack Plan for Exercise (adjust portions based on exercise intensity and body composition):
- Pre-Exercise snack:
- 1 medium banana or
- 1 mini bagel (2oz) with low-fat cheese or
- 8-10oz chocolate milk
- During Exercise:
- 2 oz plain mini bagel
- 2-3 tbsps raisins
- Carbohydrate gels
- Post-Exercise meal/snack:
- 6 oz cottage cheese with ¾ cup mixed berries and ½ granola or
- 3 oz edamame, ¾ cup roasted chickpeas or
- 1 cup homemade trail mix: granola, almonds, dried apricots, raisins, sunflower seeds or
- 3 oz turkey, ½ cup lentils and 1 cup fruit salad or
- ¾ oz pretzels, 2 oz cheese, 1 medium apple
For more information on nutrition for exercise and other lifestyle tips, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., Clinical Health Consultant today!
What is your go-to pre –run snack? Do you enjoy the gels during a run, or would you prefer something else? Leave us a comment below.
- Anna Dean, MS, RD, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
The key to achieving your fitness goals and maintaining a healthy weight is by kick starting your metabolism in the morning with a protein-packed breakfast.
People who skip breakfast are 4.5 times MORE likely to be obese than those who eat a morning meal according to the American Journal of Epidemiology. In 2011, Nutrition Research and Practice found that individuals who go without breakfast consume fewer nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and fiber while eating more fat during the day, which can lead to weight gain.
With all of these statistics in favor for breakfast, here are some ideas to help make a better breakfast.
Protein Powerhouse: 25 grams carbohydrates, 335 calories
- 2 hardboiled eggs
- 1 medium apple (about the size of a baseball)
- 1 TBSP natural peanut or nut butter
Banana Nut Oatmeal: 30 grams carbohydrates, 330 calories
- ½ cup cooked old fashioned oats
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ ripe banana mashed
Yogurt Parfait: 30 grams carbohydrates, 315 calories
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 TSBP dried cranberries or fresh/frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup almond silvers
Looking for high-protein recipes? Check out our Healthy High-Protein Breakfast
blog. Smoothies are another great option to save time in the morning and giving you the nutrients and energy needed to start your day. Choose one ingredient from each of the following lists to create your own well-balanced smoothie:
What are your tips for making sure you are getting a nutritious morning meal? Please share your tips below in the comment box.
-Jessica Roberts, MS, RD, CES, CD, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
Now that we’ve talked about getting to sleep, how can you stay asleep the whole eight hours?
Research has shown that getting less than six to eight hours of sleep per night has been linked to:
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk for diabetes
- Increased risk for obesity
- Impaired cognitive ability
- Impaired physical function
- Increased chance of depression
Optimal sleep benefits range from enhanced memory to lower instances of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes to name a few. But what if you are able to fall asleep, but keep waking up in the middle of the night? Check out our tips below to help keep you sleeping through the night and wake up rested to start the day.
- Try to avoid napping during the day. If you need to take a nap make sure it is for no longer than 45 minutes.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime. Yes, alcohol may make it easier for you to fall asleep, but it is more likely that you will wake up during the night due to a drop in blood-alcohol levels - not to mention bathroom breaks.
EAT THIS! Not That: Bedtime edition
Healthy fats such as nuts or avocados
Sugars (candy, ice cream, cookies, cakes)
Fruits and vegetables
High carbohydrate foods (crackers, breads)
Lean protein such as chicken, fish or low fat cheese
If you do wake during the night try these tips:
- Resist the urge to use your phone or electronics. The blue spectrum light emitted will stop the production of melatonin and start to awaken you even more. Keep electronics off.
- Don’t stay in bed if you have been awake for 20 minutes. Do a quiet, relaxing activity like yoga, stretching, crossword puzzle, or read.
If you continue to have chronic problems staying asleep at night, be sure to talk with your doctor to possibly complete a sleep study and to rule out any health conditions.
For more information on healthy tailgating recipes and other lifestyle tips, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant today.
Let’s Chat! What do you usually have for a bedtime snack? What types of things help you go to sleep and stay asleep? Leave a comment below.
-Jessica Roberts, MS, RD, CES, CD, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
“Dance like no one is watching.” In your kitchen, in your living room with the kids - or in a Zumba class!
Enjoyment is essential for exercise adherence. And group exercise classes are a great way to achieve that enjoyment with a guided exercise routine, sociability, and meeting your goals.
Zumba has been in existence for more than 10 years and has 10 branded classes in more than 140,000 locations. In a typical Zumba class you can find teens, twenty-somethings , active baby boomer adults, and even toddlers. Class formats range from dance to strength, all with high energy music and choreography. Don't worry though - coordination and dance skills are not required to attend. However, having fun is required!
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer among women (and men), so staying active is a necessary tool for prevention. Additionally, eating healthy, maintaining a normal weight, managing your blood sugar and regular exercise can help lower the risk of:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Heart Disease
- Colon & Breast Cancer
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults achieve 20-60 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise at least three days per week, or 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least five days per week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity exercise daily.
Zumba has been shown to be effective for achieving vigorous intensity exercise. However, the class is what you make of it; if you prefer light-to-moderate intensity, you can do that and you are in control.
So go on, “buzz like a bee and move fast” - after all, that is the meaning of the word zumba.
-Ashley Guerieri, MS, ACSM, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
As the holiday season looms, stress is a natural experience for all. Let's chat about it.
Excessive stress causes your body's "fight-or-flight reaction" to be constantly switched on. This reaction prompts your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
- Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies.
- Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream. It also alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.
This reaction also connects with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear. Unfortunately, if you are constantly under stress during your daily activity, the fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on and can disrupt many of the body’s processes - putting you at high risk for heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, obesity and infertility.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Stress & your body
Stress &Your Mood
Stress & Your Behavior
Lack of motivation or focus
Drug or alcohol abuse
Change in sex drive
Sidebar: If you find you often eat while you are stressed, please check out an earlier blog, “Mindful Eating”.
How can I relieve stress?
#1 Exercise-It pumps up your endorphins and improves your mood. After a walk, bike ride, game of tennis, etc., you'll often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations.
#2 Meditation- Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, an object, a visual image, a breath or a movement. Meditation increases awareness of the present moment, reduces stress and promotes relaxation. Try meditating in a corner of the room, by simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breath.
#3 Deep Breathing-Most people use only the upper third of their lungs during the day and this shallow breathing is generally caused by tension or stress. The blood vessels are more plentiful in the lower lobes of the lungs, and deep breathing to this part of your lungs can promote relaxation.
Other activities to try when you are stressed: Read a book, keep a journal, listen to music, dance, laugh, paint/color or take a short 45 minute nap.
For more information on relaxation/de-stressing and other lifestyle tips, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant today!
When you are stressed out, what typically calms you down? Do you enjoy exercise or yoga? Leave the comments below!
-Brittany Chin, RD, LD, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
If you are considering supplements (as half of all Americans do), I highly advise you to learn how to choose your supplements wisely and be sure to always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement - vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; and other substances that add to your everyday diet.
Not all supplements are created equal. In fact, did you know that supplements are not regulated in the same way as our food? Unfortunately, supplements tend to be one of those retail items where you get what you pay for. What this means for you is that the cheapest supplement on the store shelf may not be doing you much good.
Many supplement products can be contaminated with heavy metals, solvents, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs). These ingredients may not be listed on the label causing some people to have a reaction to the supplement. Also, oils in supplements can go rancid if not properly tested and manufactured. Your HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultants believe it is very important to choose supplements from quality companies that do thorough testing of their products.
Examples of hidden ingredients include: “vegetable coating,” which may mean it is a corn protein coating, which could affect those sensitive to corn. Lactose has been used in some vitamin D and vitamin K supplements as well, posing a problem for those who are lactose intolerant.
Other additives in supplements include: magnesium stearate, stearic acid, palmitic acid or dicalcium phosphate. These additives help with the processing of the supplement, but some research shows that it may inhibit absorption. Those with a compromised digestive or absorption system may want to avoid these additives in supplements.
Here are some ways to identify if a product is of better quality:
U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)
USP verified can be found on labels of some supplements and confirms that the product contains the amount of vitamin/mineral the label claims it does; is free of harmful levels of specified contaminants; will disintegrate in the body within a specified amount of time; and is made using the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices. To find companies that use the USP verification process, visit www.usp.org.
National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF)
NSF tests a sample product for:
- The ingredients listed on the label are in the product
- Contaminants and other undeclared ingredients
- Good Manufacturing Processes
To view products certified by the NSF, visit www.nsf.org.
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
TGA is Australia’s regulator of “therapeutic goods.” It is considered a gold standard, which only a few companies here in the U.S. have achieved. The TGA label will most likely not be on the label, so be sure to check the supplement companies’ website to see if they have achieved this accomplishment.
Consumer Labs is a website (www.consumerlab.com) that you, as the consumer, can pay to be a member of. It rates and compares supplements for identity, purity, strength and time it takes to dissolve.
There you have it. Next time you are searching for supplements, do some research and keep an eye out for these symbols to ensure you are purchasing a higher quality supplement. Most importantly, remember that a supplement can never replace a poor diet and should be discussed with your health care provider.
For more information on supplements, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., Clinical Health Consultant today!
Where do you typically purchase your supplements? Have you noticed these labels before? Tell us your comments below!
-Naomi May, RD, LD, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
Fall is in the air. The leaves are turning, the air is getting cooler, and everything has pumpkin in it.
That also means parties and tailgates, making it even harder to stick to your healthy lifestyle. But wait…did we hear you say that you don’t like to exercise in cold weather? That’s not an excuse anymore. Here is a list of fun, easy and time efficient ways to get your sweat on, in the comfort of your own heated home.
Gotta Tabata. It’s Tabata time! I know what you are thinking, and no, I did not just speak gibberish. Tabata is a type of exercise that has very specific timing. All you need for this exercise is the space around you and your own body weight - no equipment required. Tabata is 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest. In those 20 seconds you want to do as many reps as possible without compromising your form. Do this eight times and that equals a four minute exercise. Who can’t fit in a four minute workout? Try it with push-ups, squats, lunges, burpees, anything! It is an extremely effective workout for such a short duration.
Sample 10-minute Tabata type exercise plan:
Minutes 1-3: 20 seconds of pushups, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of pushups, 10 seconds of rest, repeat 2 times
Minutes 4-6: 20 seconds of squats, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of squats, 10 seconds of rest, repeat 2 times
Minutes 6-9: 20 seconds of lunges, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of squats, 10 seconds of rest, repeat 2 times
Minute 10: crunches for 60 seconds
Sit...on a wall. Another great at home exercise is a wall-sit. The only thing you need for this exercise is, well, a wall.
When performing this exercise lean your back up against the wall and pretend like you are going to sit in a chair. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Try and repeat 6-8 times.
Here are some other simple solutions to keep your activity levels up while being cooped up inside:
- At work, use the restroom on a different floor or the one furthest away from you to accumulate more steps
- March in place during commercials while watching TV at home
- Put music on while doing chores. You might find you have some extra boogie in your scrub!
- Add a stretching routine before going to bed and also immediately after waking up
- Have some empty gallon jugs? Fill them with water and use them as weights.
- Run up and down your stairs at home.
- Have fun with re-arranging furniture.
So there you have it! Your no-excuses plan for exercise this fall and winter. Try and get the whole family involved to make it even more fun and interactive!
For more information on exercise and other lifestyle tips, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., Clinical Health Consultant today!
How will you incorporate in-home exercising to your daily routine? What is your ideal temperature for exercise? Leave us a comment below!
-Melissa Collins, MS, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
Kick off Diabetes Awareness Month this weekend with Pierre Garcon, Kirk Cousins, the Washington Redskins, and Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. as we Tackle Diabetes with Diabetes Awareness Day this Sunday at FedExField as the team hosts the San Diego Chargers.
If you're at the game, you may even be one of the lucky ones to receive this free poster of Wide Receiver and HDL, Inc. Health Ambassador Pierre Garcon or QB Kirk Cousins!
Apples are great as healthy after school snacks and perfect for nutrition on the go. Packed with power to increase your blood sugars and fight your LDL or “bad” cholesterol all the while keeping you full.
Ready to go apple picking but don't know where? Check The Orchard Trail, provided by Apple Journal, to see a full list orchards in your area.
When picking your apples, make sure to wear sturdy shoes and something comfortable, yet appropriate for the weather. Don’t forget, it could be muddy! Read below for our Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc., Clinical Health Consultant tips for picking the best apples in your neighborhood.
At the Orchard:
- To pick the apple off the tree, use the “U” trick: Pinch the apple stem and roll your hand upwards, creating the “U” shape. The apple should pull away freely. If it doesn’t, it isn’t quite ripe and needs another week or so.
- Pick from the outside of the tree as those are often riper than the fruit nearest the trunk.
- Be careful not to drop or bruise the apples, as they will release ethylene gas and decrease the shelf life. To do this:
- Avoid shaking the trees. Fruit can fall and become bruised or bruise other apples on the way down.
- Use a bag instead of a box or basket. The softer material may reduce bruising.
- Once you fill up your bag, be careful when setting it down. You can bruise your apples by hitting the ground.
Don’t worry if your neighborhood doesn’t boast a home for Johnny Appleseed, there are tricks for shopping at your local grocery store as well:
At the Grocery:
- Choose a firm colorful fruit that doesn’t have any bruises, or soft spots.
- Avoid choosing apples with splits or cuts in the skin.
- Smell it! It should have a delicious, apple-y aroma.
- If you are worried about pesticides (on the skin primarily), opt for organic.
Always wash your apples with running water and a brush, and then dry with a clean towel. You will want to particularly focus on the top near the stem and the bottom near the blossom. Now eat fresh, cook, can, or bake your apples for a delightful autumn treat!
Fall Apple Snack Ideas
- Apple and natural nut butter or nuts
- Apple with string cheese
- Add apple slices to a spinach salad
For more information on shopping for produce and other lifestyle tips, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant today!
Have you been to an orchard near you? What is your favorite way to enjoy apples? Leave us a comment below.
-Anna Dean, MS, RD, LD, CTTS, HDL, Inc. Clinical Health Consultant
It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for Clinical Health Consultants anyway): Apple Season! Apples are antioxidant rich foods that contain many nutritional wonders.
The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may actually be quite true. Keep reading for some apple nutrition facts, cooking and baking tips you can share with your friends and family.
Apple Nutrition Knowledge:
The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples have many benefits in the body including:
- regulating blood sugars
- protecting from fat oxidation
- slowing carbohydrate digestion
- decreasing your “bad” cholesterol
Quercetin, the primary phytonutrient found in the skin of the apple, is responsible for protection against fat oxidation, slowing down carbohydrate digestion and reducing glucose absorption.
Pectin is the dietary fiber found in apples, which binds to cholesterol to help reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and also slows glucose (sugar) absorption. How amazing is that?
Recent research has found that by eating a whole apple, rather than drinking the juice or eating applesauce, can produce blood fat lowering effects. The interaction between fiber and other phytonutrients makes this fruit one of the top picks for heart health benefits.
Nutrition facts for 1 apple (small):
-94 calories, 25g carbs, 4g fiber, .5g protein, 8mcg Vit C, 194mg Potassium
Shopping for the Perfect Apple:
Aside from the health benefits of apples, these phytonutrient gems are an easy grab and go food to take with you. When picking out apples at the grocery store, look for firm fruits with rich colors. Apples can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 months, and are best in the crisper bins. Be careful not to drop or bruise the apples, as they will release ethylene gas and decrease the shelf life of other apples propped next to them. The skin of the apple is where pesticides are mainly found to avoid eating these pesticides try choosing organic apples. When apples are cut and exposed to oxygen, they tend to oxidize or brown. To prevent this, squeeze lemon or lime juice over sliced apples as well as when baking with apples.
Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc., Clinical Health Consultants have come up with a list for you to help pick the perfect apple for your fall baking.
Granny Smith & McIntosh: The Best Pie
Our grandmothers would agree that the “classic, hands-down” winner for pie baking is a Granny Smith apple. With its sharp, tart flavor and firm flesh holding itself well when cooked, you can’t go wrong. McIntosh may come in a close second, with its soft flesh, sweet, juicy and tangy flavor, this apple holds up well in pies and sauces. For a healthier pie, try cutting the amount of sugar in half and use a pie crust with no hydrogenated oils listed in the ingredients.
Honeycrisp: The Quick Snack
If you’re looking to try something new this year, you may like baking with Honeycrisp. This apple has not only risen to the top of the tasting charts when eaten alone, with its juicy sweetness and hint of tartness, but its crisp texture hold firm in baked and caramelized foods.
Pink Lady: The Muffin Man
Pink Lady apples may be one of the best to use when diced and added to muffins. Their sweet and tart notes will please your taste buds and keep shape while baked.
With so many varieties of apples to choose from, enjoy experimenting with apples in the kitchen this season and maybe you’ll find one you can’t live without!
For more information on apple nutrition and other lifestyle tips, contact Client Services at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., Clinical Health Consultant today!
What are your favorite apples to bake with? To take with you to work or practice? Do you have an apple baking tradition in your family? We’d love to hear more. Share with us in the comments below.
-Heather Frost RD, LDN, HDL, Inc., Clinical Health Consultant