Make Your Breakfast 10% Better


 

You’ve heard it before. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s become cliche. And like so many aphorisms you lose an important message when you overlook it. 

A healthy breakfast can support your physical and mental performance. If you are trying to excel, grow, and make changes to your body or in your life then you need the proper fueling regimen to get you there.

Have you ever crashed during your workout? Felt mentally foggy or weak on a particular day? There’s probably a correlation with your nutrition. Whether it can be drawn back to the days breakfast or the long term effects of neglected nutrition you can probably find a link.

To get the results you want need to pay attention to your nutrition. Some people do better with big changes. But today let’s just focus on how you can make your breakfast 10% better. 

There are so many benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. Of course improved performance is one, but eating breakfast has also been shown to reduce food cravings later in the day. It can also improve mental clarity and boost energy.

Our bodies are complex machines and the benefits of breakfast impacts the way our body operates for the day. Eating breakfast affects neurotransmitter production, electrolyte balance, blood sugar levels and more. Our bodies operate with best with certain types of fuel and the right ratio of carbs, fat and protein to perform at their best. But before you reach for your Cornflakes chill for a second. Not all breakfasts are created equal.  

So what are the makings of a great breakfast?

Choosing high quality proteins, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbs is a great start to make your breakfast 10% better!

Increasing protein intake is one of the best decisions you can make for your nutrition, especially at breakfast. Protein contains high quality amino acids that will keep you satiated and prevent cravings later in the day. Try to eat some solid protein such as meat or eggs. If you need a quick option try keeping hard boiled eggs and greek yogurt on hand. They are easy options to scarf down quickly or grab on your way out the door to work. Protein shakes are also good but whole foods are best. People who consume liquid protein in the morning don’t get the same satiety benefits and still tend to overeat later in the day. Use protein shakes only if no other options are available or you are going to exercise first thing in the morning and need something fast digesting.

For fats look for foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados. These foods provide healthy monounsaturated fat and are chock full of vitamins and minerals as well. Rotating through different fats will ensure you have diversity in your diet and prevent excessive intake of any one food. A handful of nuts or some chia pudding are all easy grab and go options for healthy breakfast fats.

For carbs at breakfast you should take a less is more approach. Focus on low glycemic carbs such as leafy greens and broccoli. Dark berries are also great choice when fresh and in season. This will give you some additional fuel for your day. Try to avoid highly processed foods that will spike your blood sugar and have you craving carbs and making energy levels crash throughout the day. 

Struggling with breakfast ideas? Check out our Healthy Recipes for ideas!

For more nutritional and training strategies get in touch with one of our coaches today!

Optimizing Nutrition For Recovery


There is a plethora of information on the interwebs when it comes to nutrition advice.

Everyone claims to have the secret tip or biohack that will make you bigger, smaller, or more of…well whatever your goal happens to be. The marketing gimmicks are endless.

Nutrition is a highly individualized journey. There are certainly some wrong answers out there but when it comes to what is right for you the answer could be totally unique. Finding an overall nutrition strategy that fits your goals and lifestyle is essential if you want to have success. If you’re not sure where to begin then start with a certified coach who can guide you through the process toward healthy eating.

When it comes to post workout recovery there are a few key factors to keep in mind. For healthy individuals performing high intensity exercise, it is imperative that you consume a healthy post workout meal. Your post workout meal should replenish glycogen in your muscles and provide ample amino acids for protein synthesis.

Cyclist Study

In one study at the Norwegian School of Sport Science made cyclists performing time trials to exhaustion (TTE). Immediately post workout the cyclists were given a carbohydrate drink, a carb and protein beverage, or a non caloric placebo. The group who consumed the carbohydrate plus protein beverage significantly outperformed the other groups when performing a second cycling test just 18 hours after the first. The study suggests that if you train hard multiple days in a row then carbohydrate and protein intake post workout seems to boost subsequent performance.

“Exercise makes carbs your friend” -Charles Poliquin

Cyclists in the study consumed carbs and protein in a 2:1 ratio. This means they consumed twice as many carbs compared to protein. The amount given was based on the body weight of the individuals. They used a rate of 0.8 g carbohydrate and 0.4 g protein per kilogram of body weight.

In a 175 lb. person this would look like:
0.8 g/kg x (175lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 64 g Carbohydrate
0.4 g/kg x (175lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 32 g Protein

In a 130 lb. person this would look like:
0.8 g/kg x (130lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 48 g Carbohydrate
0.4 g/kg x (130lb ÷ 2.2kg/lb.) = 24 g Protein

What’s This Mean for Me?

You can use this equation to calculate your ideal ratio of carbs and protein to optimize post workout recovery. Not a fan of measuring it out or struggle with following the math? Then let’s take a look at some quality food sources that would provide you with the desired amounts of protein and carbs. You can select the weight range you fall in and select the foods that best fit your tastes and lifestyle!

Food Grams Carbohydrate Food Grams Protein
Kiwi 10g/kiwi Chicken Breast 31g/4oz portion
Apricot 17g/cup Whey Protein 15g/tablespoon
Pineapple 22g/cup Greek Yogurt 25g/cup
White Rice 45g/cup Salmon Fillet 28g/4oz portion
Maple Syrup 13g/tablespoon Egg 6g/egg

 

Food 175 lb person needs Food 175 lb person needs
Kiwi 6 kiwi Chicken Breast 4 oz portion
Apricot 4 cups Whey Protein 2 tablespoons
Pineapple 3 cups Greek Yogurt 1.25 cups
White Rice 1.5 cups Salmon Fillet 4 oz portion
Maple Syrup 5 tablespoons Egg 5 eggs

 

Food 130 lb person needs Food 130 lb person needs
Kiwi 5 kiwi Chicken Breast 3 oz portion
Apricot 3 cups Whey Protein 1.5 tablespoons
Pineapple 2 cups Greek Yogurt 1 cup
White Rice 1 cup Salmon Fillet 3 oz portion
Maple Syrup 3.5 tablespoons Egg 4 eggs

Use this as a starting point to tackle your post workout recovery. Your other meals may look very different than this post workout recovery meal. The quantity of macronutrients as well as the sources you get them from may vary. Working with an experienced nutrition coach is the best way to dial in a plan that works for you.

5 Superfoods To Boost Your Training


As an athlete, businessperson or super mom you are always looking for a competitive edge. When it comes to your diet you should employ the same strategy. Superfoods are foods that have more benefit than the energy they provide from carbs, fat, and protein. Superfoods contain vitamins, minerals, and other key phytonutrients that support your training making these foods even more worth your while to eat. Adding these foods in your diet can give you an advantage in your training and recovery.

1.Reduce Soreness and Improve Healing with Tart Cherry

Tart Cherry extracts, powders, and juices have proven to be beneficial for athletes.

Studies have found numerous benefits including reduced muscle soreness after training,

Tart cherries are also naturally rich in melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle in our body. Consuming tart cherry extract in the evening after a training session may promote sleep and recovery.

Studies have shown benefit with doses of 16oz (480mL). Try that as a starting point and see if you can enjoy the benefits of tart cherry!

2. Metabolize Estrogen with Broccoli

High estrogen levels are not ideal whether you are a male or female athlete. Estrogen can promote the gain of fat mass. Broccoli contains a substance called 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) that is capable of metabolizing free estrogen. Consume broccoli at any of your main meals. Just make sure to cook it properly to optimize digestion and absorption.

3. Recover Post Workout with Kiwi and Pineapple

Kiwi and pineapple are two great choices for a post workout carbohydrate. These fruits are high glycemic and will quickly replenish muscle glycogen and hydrate the body after training. They also contain high levels of antioxidants that help eliminate the waste generated from exercise. Further, pineapples contain enzymes that can aid digestion and compounds that benefit eye health. Both of these benefits very important to consider if you are training hard. Shoot for 1-2 cups of these superfood fruits immediately after exercise.

4. Control Cravings and Boost Your Health with Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains a powerful compound called cinnamaldehyde which falls into a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. Cinnamaldehyde has been shown to effect ghrelin secretion and gastric emptying of the stomach making it a great tool to support healthy weight maintenance. Cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, helping the body store more carbohydrates as glycogen, and preventing a sharp rise in blood sugar. It is also a powerful antioxidant that may help eradicate bacteria, viruses, and possibly even cancerous cells in the body. Cinnamon goes great on so many foods. No excuses not to incorporate its valuable benefits into your diet!

5. Gain Lean Muscle with Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are a superfood and can truly be a meal in themselves. They contain healthy fats, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant and mineral selenium. Selenium has been found to improve levels of luteinizing hormone, which is required for testosterone production. Consume 2-3 of these nuts daily to get the required dose of selenium and all the other benefits of this supernut.

There you have it, 5 amazing superfoods for athletes. If you want to learn more about eating to improve your health and performance we would be more than happy to help!

 

Stop Counting Calories


Stop Counting Calories, Do This Instead

If you’ve ever pulled out all the measuring cups for your spinach, torn meat into tiny pieces as you placed it on a scale, or counted out exactly 26 almonds then this is the article for you. Fed up with stubborn fat or not looking and feeling your best…you found a hardcore plan that spelled out EXACTLY what you were supposed to eat. You religiously plugged everything you consumed into a special calculator. You lugged around an oversized diaper bag laden with tupperware containers of your “meals”. Yea we’ve all been there…

Trying to balance your macros based on your calculated energy expenditure is one popular way  to build a diet plan. It works for a lot of people who need to eat specific quantities of food to lose weight. So why doesn’t anyone stick with it?

Quite frankly for many people it’s not really worth the time and effort of tedious weighing, measuring, and portioning. Especially when counting calories has some serious flaws. In fact calorie estimation is kind of like a game of telephone. Depending on lab equipment, human error, rounding, moisture, conversions, and a host of other factors calorie estimations can be widely miscalculated.

Yes it can be a great learning opportunity and gets you really thinking about what you’re putting in your body. But who really wants to drag out their food scale every time they eat out with friends? There has got to be a better way…Right?!

Ditch the Scale for 30 Days

When starting out, focus on quality of food and learning how to estimate portion sizes to keep your body healthy and satiated. You only need one tool to measure your food with and you just so happen to be blessed with two of them (unless you’re Jaime Lannister). That’s right, your hands are the only measuring tool you’ll need. Let’s explore how to use your hands to measure different food categories so you can stop wasting time nose deep in MyFitnessPal. Your hands can be used to calculate:

  • Protein
  • Vegetables
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Let’s take a look at how.

Protein

For protein you want to use your palm to estimate portion size. That means a portion the same length, width, and thickness of your hand without the fingers. Men should eat about 2 palm sized portions of protein at each meal and women should try to eat 1 palm sized portion. This applies to foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

Vegetables

For vegetables you can make a fist with your hand and use that to estimate portion size. Mens should try to eat 2 fist sized portions at each meal and women should shoot for 1 fist sized portion. This works for foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots, peas, and many other veggies.

Carbohydrates

For carbohydrates you will want to curl your hand making it into a small cup shape. Carbohydrates include grains like bread and oatmeal, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and fruits. Men can eat 2 cupped hand sized portions and womens can eat 1 cupped hand sized portion per meal.

Fats

Last of all is calculating your fats. For fats you can use your whole thumb to estimate portion size. Men would use two thumbs to estimate their fat portion and women would use 1 thumb to calculate theirs. This works for foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

What has two thumbs and knows how to easily balance their meals?

–> THIS GAL! <–

Now that you know how to easily estimate a healthy portion size for your bodies it’s time to ditch the scales and measuring cups. Focus on quality foods, a daily movement practice, and enjoying your life!

If you are looking for more ways to make healthy habits a fun and easy part of your day then get in touch with our nutrition coaches today!!

Protein-Packed Cookie Dough Bites


Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp nut butter – almond or peanut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 scoops Ascent Cappuccino protein powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • Scant almond milk as needed for blending
  • 3 Tbsp raw cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients, except cacao nibs, in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Once batter is smooth, mix in cacao nibs.
  3. Roll batter into small, bite-sized balls and place in Tupperware. Repeat with all balls (make about 18) and refrigerate or freeze until used. Enjoy!

Mocha Chip Protein Cookies


Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2.5 scoops Ascent cappuccino protein powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Gently fold together all ingredients until well-mixed.
  3. Spoon out 20 cookies. A cookie scoop works wonders here!
  4. Bake for 8 minutes until golden brown.

Overnight Oats


Mornings can be tough. So much to get done to get everyone out the door on time! I actually do a better job eating breakfast when I am at the gym all morning than when I’m home with the boys!

Enter a super simple solution – overnight oats. These are sooo easy to mix up the night  before and either heat up or eat cold. Soooo many options for switching up the flavors to avoid falling into a rut & burning out. Try them out to make your mornings smoother this week!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 – 3/4c almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 scoop Ascent protein powder
  • Fruit and/or nuts to top it off

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients (except fruit) in jar or bowl and stir.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Add your fruit or nuts and enjoy a simple, healthy, and quick breakfast. Easy!

Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats


On these cold, grey winter days, there is something so comforting about a hot breakfast. The problem? It can take FOREVER to cook steel cut oats in the morning. Enter these easy make-ahead steel cut oats. You can mix and match the spices & fruit. In fact, I think pear ginger sounds divine. Let me know if you try it!

Ingredients

1 cup steel cut oats uncooked

cups unsweetened original almond milk

2 cups water

1.25 cups egg whites

2 apples diced

1 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Dice apples.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low 3.5 hours.
  4. Enjoy!

Amish Oatmeal


If you need a delicious, make-ahead breakfast option, LOOK NO FURTHER! I was a skeptic for awhile. I made this for my kids every week (who devoured it), but I was hard-core devoted to my microwaved rolled oats. I made the leap a couple weeks back, and I am a convert! So yummy!

You have a couple options here. You can bake it in a 9×13 dish or (my preferred method) portion the mix into silicone muffin cups. I find the clean up easier with the silicone muffin cups, but either method works well. Eat it like a bar or muffin (Eliot’s preferred method) or crumble it up, add some almond milk, berries & slivered almonds and eat with a spoon! You just cannot go wrong with this Amish Oatmeal!

Ingredients

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup quick oats

3 Tbsp honey

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

3 Tbsp butter, melted

1 cup egg whites

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 13×9 pan with coconut oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients (oats, honey, melted butter, egg whites, salt, almond milk and vanilla extract) in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir well then pour into greased pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  5. Let cool then cut in bars or break up into little crumbles.
  6. Enjoy!

Egg Muffins


The incredible, edible egg. Anyone else remember that ad campaign from way back? Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse packed with protein and healthy fats. It makes them a superb choice for creating a balanced breakfast or snack on the go.

The trouble is that sometimes you just don’t have time to fry up and egg or make an omelet in the morning, right? Enter the egg muffin. It’s like a mini frittata all cooked up and ready to reheat and eat while you finish getting ready for your day. We pack them with some veggies so you can feel EXTRA healthy and superior about getting veggies in AT BREAKFAST! I mean, if that doesn’t give you “I’m a nutrition superstar” bragging rights, I don’t know what will!

You can be pretty flexible about what veggies you include. I hate mushrooms, so you’ll never see them in mine. But if you love them? HAVE AT IT!

Ingredients

6 large eggs

6 egg whites or 3/4 cup carton egg whites

1 c diced broccoli

1/2 c diced onion

1/2 c diced bell pepper

A large handful of kale

6 oz Canadian bacon, diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups. If you don’t already own these, you are missing out!
  3. Beat the whole eggs and egg whites until combined.
  4. Gently fold in the remaining ingredients until well-mixed.
  5. Portion egg mixture evenly into the lined muffin cups.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.