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Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thursday! How’s your week going? If you missed last week’s post, I’m still looking for a couple guest-posters, so send me an email at info(at)jessicacordingnutrition(dot)com if you’re interested in writing something!

Now that the housekeeping part of this weekly randomness update is done, let’s do this Thursday thing, shall we?

*A topic that’s been on my mind a lot this summer is career and how to navigate the professional world as a female of the species. If any other ladies out there have major anxiety around salary negotiation (one day I will tell you an awful story from earlier this year that crystalized for me how important it is for women to advocate for themselves in this realm), then you need to check out Ask For It, an organization that helps teach women to negotiate.

*Speaking of food, I’ve been loving kefir lately. Though I don’t always eat something before a morning workout or yoga class, I’ve found that when I do need something, a half-cup with some cinnamon is the perfect little energy boost. kefir with cinnamon

*One of my not-s0-guilty pleasures is going out to dinner alone. Apparently Google can now tell me the best time to do so.

*I know it’s not the weekend until tomorrow, but I just had to share this picture I saw floating around Facebook:Evol fish

What’s on your mind (or plate) today? 

This post has been part of another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

What to eat before and after your workout

at home am workoutGood morning! Hope your week is off to a great start. One thing I look forward to at the start of every week is mapping out what types of physical activity I plan to do, mixing it up depending on what else is on the schedule (and what times I need to wake up!). Aside from preventing injury or boredom, this helps give some structure to my week and builds in much-needed “me” time. I thought today I’d talk a little about what to eat before and after workouts.

I know I don’t talk about exercise much on this blog, but I definitely feel that having a safe form of physical activity in your life that you enjoy is key to overall wellness. Balancing a nourishing diet with a type/amount of exercise that suits our personal needs can help us feel (and yes, look) like the best version of ourselves.

In a perfect world, we’d be able to exercise at the time of day we prefer, but sometimes you have to fit your workout into a busy day. For people whose schedule leaves them with few choices besides grabbing something quick at a fast food spot, there are actually some decent options out there.  I’m quoted in Muscle & Fitness magazine this month in an article called “The Ultimate Fast-Food Survival Guide,” sharing a few suggestions.

Whether you’re eating at home or on the go, there are a few basics to keep in mind to help you choose smart snacks and meals to fuel and recover from your workouts.

banana sliced in mugPre-Workout

If you have a few hours before your workout, enjoy a balanced meal that includes high-quality carbohydrate and lean protein. If you’re planning to start moving within an hour or two, just be mindful to avoid high-fiber and fatty foods, as these digest slowly and may make you feel sluggish while exercising.

So what should you eat? Short answer: whatever works for you. For example: Even though it’s high in protein, I like a plain yogurt (Siggi’s, if you must know) with a little cinnamon and maple syrup before the 7:30 yoga class I go to sometimes. It keeps me just satisfied enough to get through until I’m able to eat a real breakfast around 9:30, after a shower. If I’m jumping right out of bed and hitting the cardio or weight machines, I might keep it simple with a handful of berries or a few pieces of dried fruit, maybe a slug of coconut water if I have some handy.  I’ll be totally honest, though—if I’m working out at 5, I’m really not ready to eat anything, so I’ll usually hold out until afterwards to put something in my mouth—except water, of course. My point is that it’s really all about what feels good for you.

Here are a few suggestions of what to eat before exercising:

  • A slice of  toast with hummus and/or a scrambled egg white
  • A piece of fruit and a tablespoon of nut butter
  • A fruit-and-nut bar
  • Half a baked sweet potato with a a teaspoon of nut butter or coconut oil
  • Half a turkey sandwich
  • Oatmeal with fruit and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
  • A simple smoothie: Try 1/2 a banana, 6 oz milk of choice, cinnamon, and ice. If using almond or coconut milk, add a little protein powder
  • 1/4 cup of trail mix

If you’ve got less than an hour before hitting the gym, keep it light with something that will give you a serving of carbs to give you energy to power through. For example:

  • Half a banana
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • A small granola bar
  • Half a protein bar
  • A slice of toast with a teaspoon of jam/fruit preserves or honey

Post-Workout


starbucks spinach wrap Ideally, a recovery meal should be consumed within 2 hours post-workout, but don’t make yourself crazy over timing—what’s most important is that you eat something before you hit that point of no-return “OMG I’m so hungry and exhausted and just want to curl up here on the sidewalk and cry.” I’ve seen clients feeling like they need to be chugging souped-up smoothies or eating fancy protein bars after a workout, not thinking that they may be going above and beyond their basic nutrition needs and undermining their efforts to, say, reach or maintain a healthy weight.

Again, I’m a big supporter of going with whatever feels like the right choice for your body, but generally speaking, a good meal to eat after your average gym session or class would include fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats. Research suggests that a 3:1 ratio of grams of carbs to protein can help maximize protein uptake and glycogen repletion. In everyday math, that means that the 30ish grams of carbs and 10ish grams of protein in a peanut butter sandwich in this classic example a cliche for a reason.

A few post-workout meal ideas:

  • Oatmeal with ground flax, fruit, and 2 tbsp nuts or 1 tbsp nut butter
  • A veggie omelet and whole wheat toast
  • A small whole wheat wrap with egg or egg whites and veggies
  • Greek yogurt with fruit and honey and almond slivers
  • A smoothie with fruit, milk (maybe protein powder if using a low-protein milk) and high-fiber add-ins like kale or spinach, chia seeds, or nuts
  • 1/2 cup brown rice or quinoa with veggies and a serving of meat, fish, or an egg, plus 1/4 of an avocado or a teaspoon of tahini
  • A sandwich made with whole wheat bread and lean protein such as turkey, ham, or chicken

If a snack is more realistic, here are a few suggestions:

  • A bowl of cereal with milk
  • A protein bar
  • A piece of fruit and a hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup grapes and 1 ounce cheese

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout meals and snacks? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! How’s your weekend going?

I’m just going to keep things short and sweet today. Here are a few things on my little gratitude list this week:

* Thursday morning before we all dove into our workdays, I met up with my mom and sister for breakfast. I ordered an egg white omelet with wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, and bacon. Yep, bacon in my egg white omelet—priorities. After almost a week of feeling dragged down and depleted (hormonal factors secondary to stress and being female), I felt my body come back to life almost instantly. Good company and good food (plus good coffee) have a magical way of doing that.

bacon egg white omelet

* Getting a dog was one of the best things I’ve ever done, even with all the plot twists in the story considered. I don’t know how I ever lived without this little nut-job in the picture. Now this is a rainy morning done right: Eli rainy morning

* I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I was in Miami for my lady-friend’s wedding. While I was there, I didn’t do much shopping, but I did manage to pick up these little jars of solid perfume. They’re the perfect olfactory pick-me-up. The coconut makes me feel like I’m on the vacation, and the rose is nice to put on when I need to feel like a girl who’s still capable of cleaning up nice. Pacifica Perfume

*We should probably not talk about how long I will sometimes stay in my sweaty gym clothes on days I work from home, but what better chance to give a shout-out to Athleta for having awesome sales and to Old Navy for having the best damn compression tights under $30?

What are you grateful for lately?  

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Fur Children

The Fur Children

For my readers in the US—Happy Thanksgiving! I was supposed to run in a 5K race (hah!) with my mom and sister today, but, um, I am a weather wuss and opted instead for some non-competitive inside time on the elliptical machine.

I’m spending the holiday with my family and the fur-children. The other day I took a weird trip down memory lane and read my Thanksgiving posts from years past. It’s crazy how much changes in 5 years, but basically, the main takeaway for me is that puppies > boyfriends.

If you’re celebrating, how are you spending your Thanksgiving? Any favorite—or memorably awful—Thanksgivings past? 

Mid-Year Resolutions Check-In

Seeing as we’re halfway through 2014, this seems like a good time check back in with my resolutions for the year:

resolutions

This is basically the  nerdiest list ever. And yes, back in December, I felt I had to schedule in time with friends. Sad but true. What can I say—my friends are brilliant, busy people : )

I’ve actually done really well with all of these except the last two. It hasn’t made as much sense to work much in a coffee shop as it did in December/January, but I still do it a few times a month. As for “throw the drink,” well, it’s possible I will never learn that one, even when throwing a drink in someone’s face is totally warranted. I’m not going to write a whole blog post about the astounding prevalence of douchebaggery behavior amongst the male of the species, but I could.

The other resolution that could use a little work is the yoga one. When I first got into the Jillian Michaels workouts, I found myself doing that instead quite often, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Still, I definitely have missed the mindfulness aspect of more frequent yoga practice. With that in consideration, my mid-year resolution is to make more time for yoga, even if that means going to an evening class on days I work at the hospital. I went a couple times this past week and really felt the difference on a physical, mental, and emotional level.

I think I’m going to add a new one to the list, which is to focus more on the positive. I’ve got a post coming up on that one soon…

What were your 2014 resolutions? Throwing any new ones on the pile? 

 

10 Ways to Love Yourself this February

follow your dreams Because Valentines Day falls right in the middle of February, love is a big theme of the month. As I mentioned a few days ago, it’s important to remember other kinds of love besides romantic love. This post is all about self-love. It’s not even just about dating yourself—though that’s a good one too. I mean in the most basic sense. I always like to go back to the fact that on airplanes, you’re instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. In a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on workaholism a strong work ethic and selflessness, it can be hard to remember that we really do need to help ourselves before we can help others.

1.) Cook yourself something nice. It could be something simple as a fancier-than normal breakfast instead of cold cereal or a beautiful fresh piece of fish at dinner. What would you make for company but not think to fuss over for yourself? Give yourself permission to tune out distractions like the computer, chop the hell out of some veggies, and enjoy. Wine (or mimosa, if it’s brunch) totally optional.

2.) Prioritize sleep. No apologizing, no excuses. You deserve a good night’s rest. If you have a hard time settling down, write your thoughts in a journal or make a to-do list for the next day to clear your head before it hits the pillow.

3.) Be physically active. Whether you hit the gym, the slopes, or simply walk around your neighborhood, enjoy the endorphin boost and the just-flew-in-from-somewhere-awesome glow.

4.) Treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or some other pampering that makes you feel relaxed. 

5.) Buy yourself flowers. Even the $2.99 arrangements from the grocery store count.

6.) Write yourself a thank-you note for all the good work. If you have to, pretend you’re writing to your best friend or a beloved family member. Set it aside to open at a later date when you’re in need of some encouragement.

7.) Give yourself permission to let something go.  Be it a toxic friend or lover, an old idea that doesn’t serve you well anymore, or even a to-do list item that really doesn’t need to be done—say goodbye and don’t look back.

8.) Hydrate! It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when it’s freezing cold out, your body needs enough H2O to do its job. Bring your own bottle and keep it by your desk or somewhere else you’ll see it throughout the say as a reminder to drink up.

9.) Try a probiotic. Invite the good bacteria to the party to help ward off illness and GI upset. You can also make a conscious effort to consume more yogurt, kimchee or try kombucha, a fermented tea drink. My favorite flavor is ginger.

10.) Choose your own adventure. Whatever it is you’re thinking of, go do it!

How do you show yourself love? 

What I Ate Wednesday #137

And somehow, it’s already time for another What I Ate Wednesday. Hope you’re having a good week. This is my first full five-day week at my clinical job, thanks to some use-it-or-lose it vacation days and working this past Saturday, so I haven’t felt quite as crazed. Since it’s basically been routine desk meals around here, I thought I’d share another round of Sunday meals. Thank you as always to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party. Take a visit to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

This past Sunday had an unintentional theme of “First Time for Everything.” It started with my accidentally going to a barre classIt totally wasn’t the yoga class I’d been expecting, but it was fun to try something new, even if my thighs are still feeling the burn a bit. Later in the day, I test-drove a new knife making roasted golden beets for the first time, and I also gave an electric can-opener a shot as part of my Zyliss product review. I also finally got around to trying fermented black garlic in a stir-fry. Recipe to come for that tomorrow…

  • Breakfast: Pumpkin cranberry oatmeal again—it’s my current favorite
  • Lunch: A turkey burger and warm kale salad
  • Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with cereal and cranberry sauce (yes, again)
  • Dinner: Quinoa stir-fried in sesame oil with shredded brussels sprouts, black garlic, and tossed with roasted golden beets.
  • Snack: Sliced banana with nonfat ricotta

What was your last “first”? What was the best thing you ate this weekend? 

Awesome Corrected Fitspiration

Good morning and happy Friday! So…I saw these “corrected” fitspiration posters floating around Facebook yesterday and thought they were so great, I had to share.

This one cracked me up the most: 

But this one made me happy in that teary-grateful kinda way: 

Is post-menstrual syndrome a thing? I think I have that. Either that or it’s just been one of those weeks. Good news, though! I’m off to visit a friend in Toronto for the weekend and am super-excited to experience a new-to-me city.

What are you up to this weekend? 

Starting the weekend off right

Good morning and happy Saturday! Hope your weekend is off to a good start. After working last Saturday, it feels like such a treat to have two full days off! Small pleasures.

Turkey burger & salad=perfect post-Zumba dinner!

Turkey burger & salad=perfect post-Zumba dinner!

Last night I got my weekend started off on a great foot with a Zumba class taught by the lovely Diane of Piece of Cake Nutrition. Thanks for an awesome class, Diane!

Afterwards, I hauled my white, uncoordinated ass home to make dinner and pack for a beach excursion. Somehow, I’ve lived in NYC over 5 years and have as yet to cross a day-trip to a local beach off my bucket list. I’m definitely looking forward to remedying that situation.

Have a great one!

What are you looking forward to this weekend? 

 

 

How to Recharge for Friday Night

IMG_2215

Why use a glass when you can drink your wine from a jar?

Good morning and happy Friday! Anything good on the agenda? I have a yoga date with a friend later and plans to catch up with some other favorite people over the weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep work-time to a minimum.

Coming across this Self blog post about 5 Energizing yoga poses to do before you go out at night made me think of some of my early clinical rotations where the only thing I had energy for on Friday night was laundry. I even stopped lying after a while. I’d just say, “I’m tired and I kind of just want to stay home and write/catch up Mad Men things/faceplant.” To be fair, I was pretty new to the clinical grind, but I eventually found ways to combat the end-of-week exhaustion.

Do you ever find that by the time you get to the end of the week, you’re too wiped out to even think of doing anything festive? While there are definitely times you should stay home and rest (and you probably know better than your social calendar), but sometimes getting out and catching up with friends is the best medicine for that dragging feeling. A few things I’ve found that work for me:

*Exercise—it can be anything from a 15-minute walk around the block, to a quick yoga flow in my apartment, to a Zumba class or cardio session. Endorphins are like a magic drug for tired. 

*A nap. Everyone’s different when it comes to naps, but I’ve found that a 20-30 minute cat nap perks me right up. Any longer and I usually wind up more tired, but that doesn’t always stop me from taking the extra 10 or 15 minutes because I can.

*Eat something—Even if I have dinner plans later, I’ll eat a well-balanced snack to keep my blood sugar levels stable so I don’t show up in crash-mode. Yes, I belong to the “never show up to a dinner party starving” club. I make sure I have something with both protein and carbohydrate to keep me going. A few of favorites:

  • Plain Greek yogurt with fruit and/or whole grain cereal
  • Non-fat or part-skim ricotta with fruit and a drizzle of honey
  • Dry-roasted edamame
  • Green smoothie
  • Scrambled or hard-boiled egg on whole wheat toast (scrambeld egg whites is great too)
  • Sliced veggies dipped in hummus
  • A mini Babybel cheese and an apple
  • A small baked sweet potato with goat cheese

*Hydrate—Never underestimate the difference a tall glass of water can make—when our cells are thirsty, it’s harder for them to do their thing, which makes us feel sluggish. Also important if you’re planning to drink alcohol later…

I have a feeling I’ll be relying on some of these tricks quite a bit in the summer months. It’s been nice to have a couple months without a regular schedule, but I’m looking forward to the change. I’m one of those nerdy people who thrives off routine, and I find that I enjoy my off-the-clock time more when I’m more aware of how precious it is. Haha that sounds kind of sappy. Oh well. There are worse things.

Any good weekend plans? How do you re-energize to go out on a Friday? 

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