Are You Working Or Wasting Your Exercise Efforts?

Did you know that simply going to the gym and eating a healthier diet is not enough to adequately fuel you through your workouts and get you the results that you work so diligently to obtain? Did you know that without eating properly and timing your meals, you may actually be LOSING muscle, INCREASING body fat, and DECREASING your speed and agility and strength during your workouts? That’s right! You may be actually shooting yourself in the foot before you even step one foot in front of the other in your workout. When I first started to workout, I had no idea how important it was to nutritionally prime my workouts, replenish during longer bouts, and eat for recovery to enhance my next workout so I was keeping my motor humming. I found myself so hungry during some workouts and absolutely exhausted during more aggressive training. I found that I wasn’t losing the weight that I thought I would be and my workouts were turning into more of an unsatisfying and exhausting chore, rather than something I looked forward to. Reality check – I needed to use nutrition to enhance and boost my workouts and, ultimately, gain the results I so longed for!

When training for an event, a goal, or even training for a healthier and more fulfilling life, good nutrition should be something you are doing the entire training period, not just something that you pick up when you feel motivated or when you are attempting to hurry along results. In the grand scheme of health, nutrition is at least 80% of your results and the longer, more sustained efforts you can give towards a balanced and supportive nutrition plan, the better your overall results. It is key that you make sure to take in enough fuel (calories) to fuel your extra activity. For example, the average person burns approximately 100 calories per mile of running to fuel. So, if you are running 3 miles, that is about 300 calories extra being burned. This does not, however, give you permission to eat whatever you want! Your nutritional fueling should be clean, energy-producing, life producing forces that will assist in that extra burst of energy when your reserves are beginning to deplete. In reality, your eating needs will not change drastically, unless you are training/participating in a longer race or event or workout session. The key is to make sure that you are fueling enough so that you are not faint or excessively weak at the end of your workout.

share-button“Your physical results and performance are only as good as your nutrition.”

~Tansy Rodgers


Your average portion distribution would depend on activity. If you are training for an event or activity that involves longer, sustained energy needs, then I would suggest keeping your carbohydrates higher, fats moderate, and protein lower. Your body’s immediate fuel source is carbohydrates, so you want to make sure that you are supplying yourself with enough fuel to get you through. This may look like:

  • 60-70 percent of calories from carbohydrates (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and breads, etc.)
  • 20-30 percent of calories from good fat sources (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts, etc.)
  • 10-15 percent of calories from lean protein (wild caught fish, free-range meats and eggs, beans, etc.)

If your training is geared around increased lean muscle mass and moderate levels of cardiovascular activity mixed with shorter bursts of high-intensity activity, then I would suggest:

  • 40-50 percent of calories from carbohydrates
  • 20-30 percent of calories from good fat sources
  • 30-40 percent of calories from lean protein

Regular training provides you with the opportunity to practice your food and fluid-replacement strategies. You’re going to need to drink regularly during long races or events(half-marathons and marathons, for example), in hot weather, and during shorter sessions in hot weather. Experiment with hydration during your training. Can you stomach sport replacement drinks or do you prefer to stick to water? Use your training as dress rehearsals if you are training for a specific event.


Timing is everything. Here are a few ideas to break it down so you are kicking butt throughout your entire workout!

Before a workout:

  • Have the right ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 carbs/protein.
  • Drink some caffeine if you can tolerate it.
  • Fuel with natural, non-starchy carbs such as sprouted grains, dates, raw honey .
  • Add a small amount of good fat to sustain you. My favorite? Coconut oil. The liver treats it similarly to glucose, a carbohydrate, and it provides delicious energy to power you through.
  • Try supplementing with maca, chia seeds, or green powder to help push you that extra mile.

During a workout:

  • If you sweat a lot, add some sea salt to your water to help replenish.
  • Take in 4-6 oz of water for every 10-20 minutes of exercise.
  • Replenish with liquids or gels, gels more for longer bouts of sustained training.
  • Add a sports drink or similar product for workouts that last over an hour and that involve excessive sweating.

Following a workout:

  • When to eat and drink is just as important as what you are eating and drinking- refuel within the hour after your training, ideally 0 to 30 minutes afterwards. Focus on a 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein with minimal fat for proper replenishment of your glycogen stores. You are looking to replenish your glycogen stores so that you are maximally ready for your next workout. The most optimal time for glycogen replenishment is that 30 minute window.
  • Nourish your adrenal glands by taking 1 tsp of maca in your recovery meal.
  • Add a heaping 1/8 tsp of sea salt (or 500 milligrams) to 16 oz of fluid. After longer exercise or more intense and aggressive exercise, you may be sweating pretty profusely. Your electrolytes need to be replenished. This will do the trick.

What is my take on chocolate milk? Many athletes are mistaken or unsure about what to eat after a workout. People are fond of believing that a glass of chocolate milk is the perfect post-workout meal. Although it has a good carb-to-protein ratio and is effective in electrolyte replenishing, and can provide you with the sugar to restore your glycogen levels, chocolate milk usually brings with it high-fructose corn syrup and many downsides of dairy products. There are many people who are sensitive to dairy and do not even realize it. I believe it is a potential recovery drink, but I also think that you have to be super choosy with the ingredients used in that chocolate milk!

Did you find this information helpful and are you bursting at the seams to hear more? I have a surprise for you! On March 9th, 2016 at 6:30 pm, I will be giving a FREE workshop called “Race Day Ready” at Lancaster Orthopedic Group, the Granite Run Office, in Lancaster PA. Here you will find out my own tactics and tips that I personally used to help fuel me during my longer distance training and my regular gym workouts. I will also speak more in depth on training, injury prevention, and workout performance when training for a race. You should be there! Here are the deets…




  • Training strategies for strength & endurance, Stretches for performance enhancement, Nutrition to enhance/replenish the runner, Injury Prevention


  • Lancaster Orthopedic Group Physical Therapy, 231 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster


  • Call: Allison 509-3948
  • Email:



Take action now! Are you using nutrition and fueling to get the best results you can get from all your hard work during your workouts? If not, use these tips above and find out what works best for you! Do you need some extra inspiration and want to find out more useful tips and tactics for your trainings? Get yourself signed up for the event on March 9th, 2016!

Do you have a success story? If so, I want to hear all about it! Live your life with passion and purpose…

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