5 Healthy Snacks To Fuel Your Fitness

Locker room and gym talk gives you many different views and opinions on what pre-workout and post-workout meals and snacks should and shouldn’t be. Getting healthy snacks to fuel your fitness right isn’t easy, as there’s so much conflicting information out there.

  • Is it safe to eat before I workout?
  • Should you use pre workout?
  • Will a sports drink help me before a long run?
  • Do I need protein or carbohydrates before my spin class?

We are told breakfast is the most important meal of the day, however pre-workout and post-workout foods can be just as important and beneficial. As we are all different and requirements are different depending on our goals and activities, these snacks can offer the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to satisfy hunger, fuel workouts, and help recovery.

Fuelling correctly means not pigging out on junk, this is just counterproductive, and can leave you feeling rubbish, slow and worse after your workout.

Maximize your energy and gains with the correct food!

There are no magic food or tricks to fuelling your workout, this is a simple list of what I personally consider a good, sustainable and convenient list of snacks to get the most effective workout possible.

Apple Slices and Peanut/Almond Butter Healthy Snacks

Apple and Almond Butter Pre-Workout Snack copy

This is quick, easy and can be eaten regardless of what time you workout, the apple will give you simple carbs for quick burning fuel and the Nut Butter will give you protein and fibre.

Pistachios and Blueberries Pre-Workout Healthy Snack

Healthy Snacks Pistachios & Blueberries

A hand full of pistachios and blueberries will give you a power packed protein and carb combo you needs, Blueberries are also full of antioxidant properties to help with recovery and muscle damage.

A Simple Banana Pre-Workout Healthy Snack

Banana Pre-Workout Healthy Snack

A banana gives you high quality complex carbs which are the best sources of energy prior to your workout, rich in potassium to prevent cramp and low in salt. Something you may not know, The correct name for a bunch of bananas is a hand, a single banana is a finger.

Simply Oats Pre-Workout Snack

Pre-Workout Snack Oats

A scoop of oats and whey protein mixed in water to make an easy all-in-one pre-workout shake or snack. Oats will give you a steady release of energy and the whey will provide protein and muscle protecting amino acids. A hand full of blueberries or a sliced banana added to this makes a tasty efficient snack too.

Plain low fat or no fat Greek yogurt topped with granola Pre-Workout Snack

Healthy Snack Pre-Workout Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt and granola is one of my favorite pre workout snacks specifically pre a heavy lifting workout,  The whey and casein combination in Greek yogurt means you’re getting a mix of fast and slow digesting proteins, which provide muscle building amino acids during your workout so you’re ready for anything. Aim for 20 grams of protein in your yogurt.

Things To Avoid In Healthy Pre-Workout Snacks

Few things to consider. Certainly avoid fatty foods before working out, fat leaves the stomach very slowly, leaving you feeling full and sluggish and could lead to cramp.

Although carbohydrates are good, you should not get them from raw sugar or sweets.  Either of those could cause a sugar rush and probably a crash while you’re mid-workout.

Also, avoid overeating before you workout. These are all snack suggestions, not meals. Eating too much can cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea and vomiting.

In summery: Healthy Snacks To Fuel Your Fitness

A pre-workout snack should consist of carbs, lean protein, and a little bit of healthy fat. Low GI Carbs will supply your body the steady stream of energy as opposed to that crash and burn you get from high-glycemic carbs such as sugar, cereal, and white bread.

By eating low GI carbs—examples been bananas, oats and pistachios, you’ll have more energy so you can work out longer and harder and faster, subsequently, which can help you burn more fat. Protein helps build muscle and slows down digestion, which is why you add some protein to your meal or snack.

This is just a short snap shot of my healthy snacks to fuel your fitness, this works for me and hope this may be of benefit to you guys.

Instagram of Author: Imran Tai

Imran Tai is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Imran Tai are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.

Mental Health: Exercise For Your Mind

We all know how exercise can help your physical health and goals. Whether it is to build muscle, lose fat, run a marathon, improve general health, there’s a million ways exercise can benefit your health and fitness. You may however, not know just how much exercise can help your mental health.

Mental Health and Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise can be almost as effective as medication in treating mild to moderate depression (without the side effects!).

exercise and mental health

There are several reasons exercise can be a powerful tool in the fight with depression; it releases endorphins that react with receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain and also trigger a feeling similar to that of morphine which you might have heard being referred to as “runner’s high”.

In regards to anxiety, the chemicals released during exercise can relieve stress, release tension and provide a sedative effect and leave someone relaxed enough to look at what is making them anxious with a calm and reasonable mind.

Exercise Effects on Mental Health – Concentration

It’s not just the endorphins that can relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. While you are exercising, try this; if you are running, focus on every step and how it feels when your foot hits the ground. If you are lifting weights, focus on each individual rep. Concentrate on how your muscles feel, from head to toe. Regulate your breathing. Incorporating the element of mindfulness into your work out will not only improve your physical condition faster but also help take your mind away from any niggling worries.

As exercise can improve concentration, mood, motivation and memory, it is considered one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Physical activity can instantly increase the levels of chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which all affect attention and focus.  It works in pretty much the same way as ADHD medication such as Ritalin and Adderall.

Exercise-and-Mental-Health

Studies suggest that by really concentrating on your body and how it feels while you exercise, you can help your nervous system become unstuck and move out of the “shutting down” immobilization response from stress that characterizes PTSD or trauma.

Try (instead of thinking about other things) focusing on the physical sensations in your muscles and your joints or even just inside your body as you move. Exercises that involve both your arms and legs like walking, running, swimming and dancing are some really good choices! Outdoor activities like hiking, climbing and trail running are also really good in helping PTSD.

Mental Health – Where To Turn & Personal Advice

There’s a lot of information online including resources from the NHS, SAMH and other mental health organisations to give you more insight into ways to deal with mental health issues but I want to finish off this mass of information and get a bit personal.

If you are struggling to cope with your mental health, if you think you need some extra help. PLEASE, reach out, whether it’s to a friend, parent, GP. You are not alone and there is a lot of help and resources out there.

The hardest part is asking for help but once you do, the help will come. It is the best and most important thing you can do for yourself and NO it does not mean you are weak, it means you’ve been too strong holding this all in and it’s time to let someone else help with the weight.

Author: Bronwyn Doherty

7 Inspiring Fitness Snapchat Accounts To Follow

We seek out awesome Fitness Snapchatters daily, and many of them feature on our “Day in the life of…” series on our own SFN EXPO Snapchat account – a series that over 2000 of you signed up to in the first month! (You can too by adding ‘SFNEXPO’ on Snapchat now)

Here are 7 inspiring fitness Snapchat accounts we LOVE!

Fitness Snapchat Zanna Van Dijk

1. Zanna Van Dijk

You may know Zanna from her involvement in the movement called #GirlGains which is a group of three awesome women we follow, Zanna Van Dijk, Tally Rye and Victoria Spence, who are on a mission to empower women to become fitter, healthier and happier.

Zanna’s Snapchat account is a bit different from any of her other social media accounts. Zanna says:

“My snapchat is an unfiltered and unedited insight into the life of a fitness blogger and personal trainer. I show what I eat, how I train and my daily antics; and throw in a bit of banter too!”

It’s some EPIC content that you can learn from and have a laugh from at the same time!

For one of the most inspiring and fun fitness Snapchat’s you’ll find, follow Zanna now via @zanzapan

 

2. Phil Graham

We’ve always loved Phil Graham’s content on Facebook, where he’s super consistent, dropping great practical knowledge every day. His Snapchat is no different – every day Phil is super consistent, dropping hints and tips throughout the day.

Phil took over our Snapchat account a couple of months ago and we’re always getting requests for him to return for a part 2! Well guys, you can follow him yourself now too!

For one of the best fitness Snapchat’s around, follow Phil Graham’s Snapchat @philgraham01

 

Fitness Snapchat Jamie Alderton

3. Jamie Alderton

Whether he’s dropping tips, showing workouts or spitting oranges across the room in to blenders, Jamie Alderton’s Snapchat is awesome!

It’s even more amazing right now as he’s building his dream of opening his own gym Grenade Fit. The build up and story of the gym build has been incredible so far and knowing Jamie’s passion and work ethic to support it, seeing the finished article first, will be amazing!

For one of the most inspirational fitness Snapchat accounts around, follow Jamie Alderton @GrenadeJay

 

SFN EXPO Snapchat A Day In The Life of Take-Overs

4. SFN EXPO (Obviously…)

Our “A day in the life of” series took off a couple of months ago, with incredible guests from the fitness world showing what a day in the life of them REALLY looks like!

With 3 awesome health, fitness or nutrition personalities taking over weekly, follow @SFNEXPO so you don’t miss another one!

 

Beth Trueman Fitness Snapchat

5. Beth Trueman

Beth Trueman is a health & fitness Youtuber, online coach and personal trainer. Aside from the daily tips you can pick up, Beth’s Snapchat is also a great example of someone who’s on a personal fitness journey of which you can pick up inspiration for your own.

Take inspiration from Beth’s fitness journey Snapchat via @beth.trueman

 

Steve Cook Fitness Snapchat

6. Steve Cook

If you’re chasing aesthetics, motivation or Steve Cook himself, his Snapchat is a no brainer!

Workouts, routine, life, tips and Steve all wrapped in to one, his account is inspiring, funny and a real insight in to his life!

Follow Steve Cook’s fitness Snapchat now via @stevecookhealth

 

The Food Medic Fitness Snapchat

7. Hazel “The Food Medic”

Hazel Wallace is a final year medical student, who has an amazing transformation story and is now a health, fitness and nutrition blogger. Her Food Medic Instagram is packed full of amazing health foodie ideas and her Instagram account is an extension in to her World!

If you want to see a down to earth foodie like you inspire you, then @thefoodmedic is for you!

The #ASKSFNSHOW

The #ASKSFNSHOW – Name Your First 5 Guests!!

The #ASKSFNSHOW is a new full scale video Q+A session with some of the biggest names in Sport, Fitness & Nutrition!

Each week, we’ll be sitting down and asking your favourite stars YOUR questions and discussing their ideas and strategies off the back too!

Available on video and audio, with awesome back-to-back episodes flowing your way every week!

The show will be hosted by SFN EXPO co-founder Neil Maclean.

So how does The #ASKSFNSHOW work?

Simple: look out for guest announcements and then you ask the questions in advance by hitting us up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat (all usernames @SFNEXPO) and the best questions will be asked on camera!

Who’s the next 5 #ASKSFNSHOW guests?

Tag us now on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat with #ASKSFNSHOW and the athletes name so we can get them in the studio for you OR comment on our posts already in place below now!