Refuel, Replenish & Rehydrate

You have just finished an awesome, sweaty, pumping workout. Now you must decide what to eat and refuel your muscles.  There is no set rule for how I eat meals I tend to mix and match what is in the fridge and what suits my needs at that time. My plate can look like a pick ‘n’ mix bag. Load your plate up with veggies, make it look like a kaleidoscope of colours. This post contains three post workout recipes to help you stay on track to achieving your health and fitness goals.

Here is an piece wrote  about Nutrition “15 Myths You Want to Know”. Jeremy Loenneke (PhD student in Exercise Physiology at the University of Oklahoma) dispels the myth about nutrition after working out. Read more nutrition myths here: 15 Myths You Want to Know

The biggest nutrition myth in my mind is the idea that a person must consume protein within 30 minutes of exercise to see muscular adaptation from that exercise bout. 

Although this is known as “fact” in many circles, the scientific basis for such a claim has little data to support it.  In fact, the idea that all muscular gains are lost 30 minutes after completing an exercise bout unless food is eaten doesn’t seem to make sense from any biological perspective. 

Esmarck et al. 2001 is the most commonly used citation to support this “window of opportunity”.  That study took older untrained men (74 years) and had them resistance train for 12 weeks.  One group had 10g of protein immediately post and the other group had 10g of protein 2 hours later.  The group that had protein immediately post exercise saw increases in muscle size, however, the other group saw no change in muscle mass.  The fact that one group exercises for 12 weeks and saw no increase in muscle mass whatsoever should be a red flag because resistance exercise has been shown to increase muscle mass in numerous studies (elderly included) not giving protein immediately post exercise. 

Recently, a well-controlled study by Erskine et al. 2012 presented data in untrained healthy men (23 years) who worked out for 12 weeks.  One group consumed 20g of whey protein immediately post exercise and the other group consumed a placebo.  In addition, participants were instructed to consume only water in the 2 hours before and 1.5 hours after each training session.  What they found was that the muscle size and strength gains following exercise were identical between groups.  This means that consuming protein immediately post exercise did not offer any additional benefit.

The point I am trying to make is that there is nothing magical about placing all of one’s focus onto one meal during the day. There is nothing wrong with consuming protein immediately post workout, however, it is important to understand that it will not hurt ones muscle gains if they wait until they get home or even later to eat a meal. The focus should not be on one meal, it should be on all meals.  A person should focus on consuming adequate protein, carbohydrate, and fat at each one of their meals.  Specifically, one should focus on maximizing their muscle protein synthetic response about every 4 hours and recent data suggests that distributing protein evenly throughout those meals is beneficial.  I would then place their training between anyone of those meals.

For example, if a person’s eating schedule was

Meal 1: 8am

Meal 2: 12pm

Meal 3: 4pm

Meal 4: 8pm

I would recommend that they work out anytime between Meal 1 and Meal 4.  This strategy focuses on hitting sufficient macronutrients at all meals not just one meal.

In conclusion, there doesn’t appear to be anything magical about consuming protein immediately post exercise for improving muscle size and strength. However, although the data doesn’t support this “window of opportunity” it will undoubtedly stick around as “fact” by those who wish to believe it to be true in the face of evidence directly to the contrary.  Remember that all meals are important, not just the post-workout.

References:

Esmarck et al. “Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans.”  Journal of Physiology (2001), 535.1, 301-311.

Erskine et al. “Whey protein does not enhance the adaptations to elbow flexor resistance training.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (2012), 44(9), 1791-1800.

Oven Baked Salmon with a Rainbow Salad

DSC_3600“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise”, Gene Tunney.

Ingredients

1 Salmon Fillet

Lettuce, any kind, roughly chopped

½ Pepper, yellow or red

4-5 Cherries

Handful Blueberries

Cucumber, thin slices

Flaked Almonds, toasted

Salad Dressing

3-4 tablespoons Cold Pressed Olive Oil

1 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tablespoon Rice Syrup/Honey

1/2 Orange, juice only

1 Orange Slice

Coarse Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees.
  • Lin foil with coconut oil, place salmon on top and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Place on a baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes until salmon is cooked thoroughly.
  • Cut yellow/red pepper into chunks and place under a medium heat grill. Allow to soften and brown. Cut into strips for the salad. Next, place 1 tbsp. flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast until lightly brown, set aside until ready to serve.
  • Wash and chop all salad ingredients and place pop onto your serving plate.
  • Salad Dressing: Pop all ingredients except orange slice in a bowl and whisk until rice syrup is dissolved and emulsified. Add orange slice at the end. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and serve with meal.  Spoon it over your salad. Store any leftover dressing in a glass jar in the fridge.
  • Once everything is ready , plate up and nourish your body.

Protein Punch: Pumpkin & Cacao Smoothie

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This post workout Smoothie is great to help way to replenish your muscles. It contains pumpkin, banana, coconut water, raw cacao and cinnamon. To boost the protein content you could add a scoop of whey isolate protein (chocolate or vanilla flavour) or one raw egg. A brand I am fond of in South Africa is Absolute Organix they sell a whey isolate or a raw vegan protein powder. If sourcing pumpkin is difficult use sweet potato puree as an alternative.  Sweet Potato puree is made the same way as pumpkin puree. You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. It works really nice in coconut flour pancakes too.

Pumpkin is a great source of beta carotene, potassium and copper. Adding a banana to a post workout Smoothie will help energize your body, it is packed with potassium an electrolyte. Electrolyte restoration is paramount after a workout. Coconut water adds a nice sweet flavour and is a low fructose drink, full of electrolytes to rehydrate the body. The cacao powder will give the Smoothie a chocolate flavour and is a powerhouse of antioxidants.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (visit how to make Pumpkin Puree)

½ Banana

1 cup Coconut Water

1-2 teaspoon Raw Cacao Powder

½ tsp. Cinnamon

*optional: 1 scoop Whey Isolate Protein or Raw Vegan Protein Powder

Method

  • Pop in blender, blitz until smooth consistency. Pour in a glass and add some ice.

Basil Omelette with Grilled Tomatoes, Goats Cheese & Homemade Pesto 

Eggs are a great addition to your fridge. They are very versatile and can used in sweet and savoury dishes.

basil omlette

Basil Omelette

2 Free Range Eggs

Handful Fresh Basil Leaves

Pinch Pink Rock Salt

Black Pepper

Sprinkle Goats Cheese on top, can be omitted

Grilled Cherry Tomatoes

Coriander & Basil Pesto

Large handful Coriander

Large handful Basil

1 Garlic Clove

1 small Chilli, de-seeded

1 tsp. Cumin Seeds or Powder

1 tablespoon Unpasteurised Apple Cider Vinegar ( I use Braggs or Biona)

1/2 cup Cold Pressed Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to season

Method:

  • Basil Omelette: Pop eggs, basil and seasoning into a food processor/blender and blitz until combined. On a medium heat pan, melt ½ tsp. coconut oil and pour omelette mixture into the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the egg is set and firm, toss some goats cheese on top. Place under a medium heat grill and lightly brown the top of the omelette.
  • Grilled Tomatoes: Line an oven dish with tin foil and pop in a handful of cherry tomatoes. Place under the grill at medium temperature and grill tomatoes until they blister. I like to brown the skin. I love the taste. I usually store any leftover tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge and use them in salads.
  • Coriander & Basil Pesto: Chop chilli and peel garlic. Pop all ingredients into food processor and blitz until combined. Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge until ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge for a week and you can add it to salads, chicken, beef or your favourite fish. I like to mix it into my cauliflower mash for extra flavour.

WIth these recipes you will be on the right path to fighting fit and keeping your body nourished. Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

Secrets To Maximise Your HIIT

Today’s feature is a guest post by the very inspiring Programme Director, Sarah Keane of Fitness Camp, Ireland. Sarah has years of valuable experience in the fitness industry and has helped many women achieve their fitness goals through her killer bootcamps. Visit her blog to read more articles about fitness and healthy tips.

HIIT

(Image Source)

“Energy and persistence conquer all things”, (Benjamin Franklin)

Strategies to maximise your HIIT

I wrote briefly about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) a few weeks ago in a piece on Fitness Tricks to Lose Weight Quick.

So I thought this week I would expand on it and share some highly effective strategies to make the most out of this training technique.

I began incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT) in my regular workouts about three years ago, and I haven’t looked back – in my experience there is nothing to compare with it in terms of getting results – fast!

It not only can create rapid changes in body shape, but when done correctly it can sky-rocket your aerobic fitness.

When it is combined with an intelligently designed resistance programme, then you are on to a real winner. I will write on that topic again, but for now here is the low down on how to just get your Intervals right for a starter.

  • Baseline Aerobic Fitness

It should go without saying that you cannot dive straight into this sort of training without first developing a base aerobic fitness.

Before beginning an interval training programme I strongly recommend at least a couple of weeks of steady state aerobic training (working at a set pace for the duration of a session) – even if it is just walking briskly or jogging gently for 20-30 minutes.

When you have built up to 5-6 sessions per week, and you feel a significant improvement in your breathing and endurance – then begin to introduce intervals.

  • Boosting your Aerobic Capacity

Intervals are most effective when you can work at a very high intensity for a short burst – but in order to be able to do that, you must first build up your aerobic capacity.

Aerobic capacity is your ability to use oxygen to produce energy to fire your muscles… it is measured by the VO2max. The fitter you become, the higher your VO2max will be (the more O2 your body is conditioned to use per minute and the greater your energy output becomes)

LONG INTERVALS are a really effective way of increasing your VO2max.

Work for 3-4minutes (faster than your steady state pace – you should be working at an intensity that challenges you), followed by 2-3 minutes gentle recovery.  Repeat for 20-30 minutes. Build up to 2-3 sessions per week.

  • Introduce Short Burst HIIT

 If you are a complete beginner you will start with the timing combination outlined in level 1 and as you improve, steadily work your way towards level 4. You can use a treadmill or any cardio machine (such as a stepper) if you prefer, you can also use aerobic moves and steps/ ropes/ hoops.The combinations are endless, I sometimes use the treadmill for 10mins intervals and follow-up with aerobic moves (step/skip/jump) for 20mins. Whatever you choose, the key is to work to near maximum exertion and then recover.

Level 1 – Work 30sec, Recover 90sec.  Repeat 20-30mins

Level 2 – Work 30 sec, Recover 60sec. Repeat 20-25mins.

Level 3 – Work 30 sec, Recover 30 sec. Repeat 15–20mins.

Level 4   – Work 60 sec, Recover 60sec. Repeat 20mins.

If you are working towards a goal you can do up to 3 HIIT sessions per week.

  • Further Boost Aerobic Capacity

 After you have worked with intervals for a couple of weeks you can introduce Steps and Pyramids to further enhance your aerobic capacity. These are used as another really effective way to increase VO2max… which will allow you to work at an even higher intensity during your next round of intervals – great craic! I like Steps, I don’t know why, I think it’s because there is a build up to the hard run at the end and then you’re done, finish line in site… It gets the name from the continual incremental increase in the intensity of your workout. Steps & Pyramids can only really be done properly on cardio equipment and a really accurate measure of intensity is required – but timing and Intensity combinations are endless.

An example on a treadmill, starting at 10 for 5mins, increase to 11 for 5mins, 12 for 5mins, 13 for 5mins and so on… for 25-30minutes.

Pyramids get their name due to the incremental increase and decrease in the intensity. These can be tougher than steps as they create a greater oxygen deficit by not allowing for full recovery before intensity increases again.

An example on the treadmill would be to work at 9 for 30sec, 10 for 30sec, 11 for 30sec, 12 for 30sec, 13 for 30sec, 12 for 30sec, 11 for 30sec, 10 for 30sec, 9 for 30sec.. and repeat for 20-30mins.

  •  The Ultimate Fat Stripper

So HIIT causes a mass release of free fatty acids (FFA) from your cells into your bloodstream – as you become fitter, you can capitalise on this by finishing your interval session with 10-15mins steady state, metabolising whatever remaining FFA’s are in circulation. You will know you are in incredible condition when you can finish off a HIIT with another 10-15 mins cardio, both physically and mentally.

 Words of Caution to avoid over training and injury.

I always say it – but especially when it comes to HIIT, you must LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

This type of training places huge stress on your system, so be in tune with how your body is responding to the workouts and do not ignore niggles/twinges. If you spend most of the time walking around like John Wayne because your legs are in bits, that’s not much good!!

 Also pay attention to your energy levels – if your fitness sessions are wiping you out and diminishing your quality of life – then you need to sit down and re-think things.

Exercise should enhance your life not restrict/limit it!

Generally HIIT is not a suitable long-term training strategy for many women, and so it is best used periodically to reach a specific goal (over 6-10weeks).

However, there are some lunatics for punishment out there that just love it – so if you are intending to train this way regularly then take extra care of yourself with good nutrition, and regular sessions with a Physical Therapist (to stay on top of knots and make sure you’re not damaging yourself).

Hope this has been helpful, if you have any thoughts  visit Fitness Camp, Ireland – I’d love to hear them x

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC_3804No bake cookies are extremely easy to make and gobble up. They are made from nuts, dates, goji berries, golden flaxseed, vanilla powder and 90% Lindt chocolate. All you need is a food processor, a round or square pan and a small scone cutter. Store them in a lunch box in the fridge or freezer. 90% Lindt chocolate can be purchased in Tesco, Ireland and Woolworths, South Africa. Alternatively you can use 70% or 85% but 90% is the nicest, silkiest richest chocolate ever made. For the recipe I used Medjool dates but pitted dates will work fine too. This recipe is gluten-free and grain free. A great healthy alternative to processed treats and oozing with health benefits, such as:

  • Goji berries are a great alternative to raisins or dried cranberries. They contain high levels of vitamin C which will benefit your skin, immune system and eyesight. These berries belong to the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.
  • Golden Flaxseed is an abundant source of EFA’s (essential fatty acids) Omega 3’s. They also contain vitamin E which is essential for radiant skin as it protects the skin from harmful free radicals. These little bombshells also contain B vitamins and are rich in potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. These chewy seeds hold the cookies together and also work wonders for your digestion. 

What you will need:

1.5 cups Nut Mix (I used almonds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts and cashews)

5-6 Medjool Dates, remove stones and chop

4 tbsp. Goji Berries, soak for 20 minutes before using

1 tbsp. Golden Flaxseed

1 tsp. Vanilla Powder

4-5 squares 90% Lindt Chocolate, break into small pieces

The Execution:

  • Soak dates and goji berries in warm water for 20 minutes before beginning the process.
  • In the food processor add nut mix, vanilla powder, soaked dates/ goji berries and golden flaxseed. Pulse the mixture until it has a crumb like consistency. If the mixture looks dry add 4 tbsp. warm water until it holds together. You may need to add more. I added 4 tbsp. and it worked perfectly.
  • Break in chocolate pieces and blitz the mixture until combined.
  • Scoop the mixture into a round or square pan and flatten until it is leveled. Press down firmly to ensure it sticks together. Pop in freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer after 20 minutes, grab your scone cutter and cut out the cookies. As you can see from the image I used the smallest shape to make mini cookies. They will need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x

Raw Carrot, Zucchini, Apricot & Poppy Seed Summer Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette

DSC_3536“Everything in moderation, including moderation”, Oscar Wilde

I am back in South Africa after a three-week break in Ireland. It was a great trip and the weather was similar to South Africa. In twenty years from now people will say to each other “Do you remember the summer of 2013”, for those who missed it , shame. We had the bbq going crazy over the three weeks. As you can see in the above image, the Master Chef a.k.a My Dad is breaking out his culinary skills and preparing the bbq for some succulent Rib Eye Steaks, pictured below. As you can see he is cooking up a creamy mushroom sauce in the pan and will enjoy it with a nice Spanish Rioja, “Finca Labarca”. For dessert, Mam baked pears and apples in coconut oil and cinnamon then topped it with COYO yogurt. COYO yogurt is a dairy free yogurt made from coconut milk “heaven in a mouthful”.  It is important to break out every now and then and that is exactly what I did when I sat down to eat this comforting home cooked feast.

DSC_3548I added my own culinary twists to the mix and made a “Carrot, Zucchini, Apricot & Poppy Seed Raw Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette”.  Carrots are packed with Vitamin A, K and C.  Zucchini or Courgettes are bursting with vitamin A, C, folate, potassium and lutein. They are 95% water. Apricots contain powerful antioxidants and great for digestion. Poppy seeds are an excellent of source B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid. The zucchini or courgettes were picked from this abundant garden in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

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To make the salad I used:

4 Large Carrots

2 Medium Sized Zucchini’s

6-7 Organic Dried Apricots

1 tablespoon Poppy Seeds, sprinkle over the salad mix

  • Wash the veg. Top and tail the carrots and zucchini. Use a potato peeler and shave off the first layer on the vegetables. Next shave the vegetables in strips as seen in the image above. Shave with peeler until you have reached the core, I ate the leftovers raw. 
  • Chop dried apricots in strips and toss in salad mix. Sprinkle poppy seeds all over the top.

To make the Orange Vinaigrette you will need:

3-4 tablespoons Cold Pressed Olive Oil

1-2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tablespoon Rice Syrup

1/2 Orange, juice only

1 Orange Slice

Coarse Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

  • Pop all ingredients except orange slice in a bowl and whisk until rice syrup is dissolved and emulsified. Add orange slice at the end. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and serve with meal.  Spoon it over your salad.

Be sure to keep me posted if you try and test these recipes by posting on Twitter: @WhelehanLynne or Instagram @makeandbakefromscratch

Real Food Rocks & Cookin’ Rolls x