Just the other day I was sitting at work when my phone made a familiar ding. It was the alert letting me know that I received a new email from my website contact form. I don’t get a lot of honest communication from my contact form these days. It seems I’m a ripe target for unsolicited junk and people trying to sell me SEO Services.
The email was entitled ‘Quick Question’ and came from ETB Fitness. The sender intrigued me and I opened the message on the spot. Inside was a message from the Community Coordinator explaining that ETB Fitness was looking for blog post submissions to feature on their social media accounts and asked if I was interested in writing about a particular topic on my blog.
I was giddy with excitement, somehow I caught the eye of a Fitness Company and they felt that I was doing well enough to share my insight. How cool is that? When I went to the ETB Fitness website my excitement quickly faded. These people are honest to goodness professionals and very much look the part. The fact that they reached out to a guy with a lot of weight to lose must have been a mistake.
I responded to the original email explaining as much and was surprised by the response. Regular guy and all, they were interested in my opinion as a beginner. With the excitement back on, I sat down to begin writing a blog post on what fuels my workout.
If someone were to ask you the question ‘What fuels your workout?’ the first thing that comes to mind will most likely be nutrition. After all, most sources will tell you that pre and post workout nutrition is what makes or breaks a workout. Eating the right foods and taking the proper supplements are critical to making the most of your exercise session.
As a beginner, this is where I hit my first roadblock. I workout in an effort to lose weight. It is a strenuous activity that I enjoy and it just so happens to have a happy byproduct of reducing body fat and increasing strength and stamina.
Up until now, I’ve looked at weight loss and exercise almost as if they were separate activities. To lose weight I created a sustainable calorie deficit. For exercise, I simply consume foods that fit within my caloric goals (Yes, junk food sometimes fits within those caloric goals) and hope for the best.
It wasn’t until very recently that I began seeing this as a problem. As the weights got heavier in the gym and the miles got longer during my runs, I found myself utterly exhausted afterwards. Not exhausted in a good way, like “Wow, that workout really took a toll on me but I feel great”. It is more like “Wow, I’m exhausted and I can barely keep my eyes open.”
Since my gym sessions typically come immediately after work, the last thing I’ve typically eaten was lunch. Often times I’ll have left-overs from dinner or maybe a green salad topped with chicken. Every now and again I’ll have a greek yogurt between lunch and my gym session but it generally isn’t enough to carry me through.
After my workout I like to have a banana or some other type of fruit on the car ride home (my fitness center often has free fruit available for anyone that would like a piece). For dinner we typically eat some sort of meat along with two vegetables. My family consumes a fair amount of chicken, fish, and pork.
In a roundabout way I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to take a closer look at my nutrition before and after a workout. As a beginner I don’t know what changes need to be made to my diet, I just know that adjustments are critical to my continued success.
I’m a member of Anytime Fitness. It is a franchise fitness center that has broad appeal and a modest monthly fee. When I walk through the door I’m greeted by the sounds of feet pounding on treadmills, weights clanging, and Pop music playing over the sound system.
I have a wife and a young daughter. Pop music is just fine on a family car ride but I despise it while working out. Happy bubbly music does nothing for me when I’m setting up under a loaded barbell. This is why I pop in a pair of bluetooth earbuds and crank up something with a driving beat.
As a Pandora One Subscriber I often will put on the Static X or Slipknot station and go to town. As a change of pace, or if I run out of skips, sometimes I’ll listen to the Skrillex station. I’m convinced that with the right type of music I can go harder and lift heavier in the gym.
On days where I run, music is actually the last thing I want to hear. I find that I unknowingly try and set my pace based on the beat of the music and it is detrimental. In those cases I stick to the spoken word. I enjoy a good podcast or an audiobook to drown out the noises around me.
Beyond nutrition and music, the one thing that fuels me most of all is my family. They are always in the back of my mind and a huge factory in why I continue to push five days per week. With a family history speckled with a variety of health issues, I want to live a long, happy, and healthy life with the people that mean the most to me.
The thought of waking up every morning and being forced to choke down a variety of prescription medication is terrifying. Knowing that I can head that off at the pass by working hard and eating better makes me feel like a better father, husband, and man.