Pegg: Finding Energy For Your Workout

By KENT PEGG
Los Alamos
 
Having trouble getting through your workout? You’re not alone. From time to time we all experience a lackluster or sub par training session. But there are some things you can do to keep your energy level and motivation up.
 
One of the most important factors in your energy level is proper nutrition. If you’re going to make it through both your day and your workout, you can’t be skipping meals.
 
In fact, it may not be enough to get in just three meals. Five or six smaller meals may be even better. Smaller, more frequent meals consisting of clean, low-fat proteins and complex carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Keeping your blood sugar stable means your pancreas won’t be periodically producing large amounts of insulin that leads to rising and falling energy levels. Good complex carbohydrates for you to consume include whole grains, beans,
and vegetables.
 
How well you’ve eaten throughout the day is not the only important nutritional factor. Just as important is your pre-workout food intake. A combination of carbohydrates and protein will work best. Try to take in a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein about 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.
 
The carbohydrates will help provide energy and decrease the cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that can increase during your exercise sessions. Too much cortisol can lead to increased fat storage and muscle catabolism.
 
The protein provides amino acids to the muscles which help the muscles both grow and repair. Pre-workout foods like turkey, chicken, egg whites, tuna, and peanut butter can help power your training session.
 
Perhaps the best pre-workout protein is whey protein powder. Whey protein is a by-product of cheese manufacturing and is quickly absorbed by the body. It also contains a large amount of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs have been shown to help decrease body fat, especially in the abdominal region, and help prevent muscle catabolism during your workout.
 
Nutrition isn’t the only important element in keeping your energy level high. Many other factors, both internal and external, can affect your workout. If you want to get the most out of your workout, you’ve got to let your body recover between workouts. Getting plenty of sleep is the first step. Unless you’ve rested your body, don’t expect it to perform well at your next workout session.
 
Also, mentally prepare yourself for your workout. Remember that your gym time is your chance to let go of your troubles from the day and focus on yourself. Concentrate on digging down deep within yourself and getting the most out of your training session.
 
But, you need to recognize that not every workout is going to be your best workout. Some days will be better than others so take what you can get out of the gym that day and be satisfied. I guarantee you this, however your workout goes, it’s better than no workout at all.
 
Finally, try listening to your favorite high-energy music during your workout. Sometimes this alone can be enough to motivate you to keep your workout going when you would normally stop.
 
Finding what works for you may take some experimenting and trial and error. But, with a little work, you can keep your workouts strong and your body healthy.
 
Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. If you have any questions about the information in this article you can call him at 662.5232.
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