Many people embark on a fitness program with a goal in mind. The goal might be weight loss (the most popular), to increase endurance, train for competition, or simply better overall health. How many times have you heard friends or family say something along the lines of "I'm on a diet and I did really well today. I had a "skinny" shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and cheese, crackers, with soup for dinner." The next day, the same person trys to walk or run 2 or 3 miles and proclaims "BOY! I'm so tired!" The so called diet isn't doing that body any good. There is inadequate fuel to feed the system for an intense walk or run. That is not fitness. That is starving your body.
In order to achieve any dietary or fitness goals, the body needs, what I call, fuel for fitness. The average middle aged person with a busy life needs at least 1000 - 1200 calories per day. This will allow clarity of thinking, the desire and energy to accomplish all chores for the day, as well as incorporating a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. Lets look at a good fuel for fitness meal plan.
Breakfast: 1/2 cup dry oatmeal mixed with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup skimmed milk. Add 1 tablespoon of raisins and 1 teaspoon of honey. If you enjoy coffee, have a cup with 2 teaspoons fat free half and half if you need it.
Give your breakfast an hour and a half to settle, now take a 30 minute quick paced walk or walk/run or even a 3 mile run. If you exercise before breakfast, make sure to give your body every advantage by eating half a banana or half a whole grain bagel with 2 teaspoons of natural peanut butter.
This next tip is important: Once you're done exercising, drink 8 oz of chocolate skimmed milk or 1 scoop of protein powder blended with water and crushed ice, Your muscles need protein. Cells need to rebuild and become stronger. The right recovery will leave you capable of a good workout the very next day. A poor recovery will leave you feeling drained and powerless the very next day.
Lunch: A large salad. Pile on the greens. The greener the better. Have some hummus on the side. You might include 3 oz of lean protein such as tuna packed in water. Your salad dressing should be simply 1 part vinegar to 2 parts olive oil with as many herbs as you would like to include. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper.
Don't forget 1/3 cup of brown rice for healthy carbs or half of a small sweet potato (microwave for 8 minutes and only eat half). No butter needed.
Snack time typically hits most of us about 3 pm. Don't fear snack time. Have 2 TBS of almonds or walnuts with 1 tsp of raisins. Maybe you'd prefer a 5 oz container of 1% fat yogurt? Go for it and enjoy it. You deserve it.
Dinner: 3 oz healthy protein and all the steamed vegetables you want to eat. Skip the potato. Skip the bread. And most importantly, skip the dessert.
Snack: Before bed, if you feel you need to snack, repeat 2 TBS nuts or better yet, how about an 8 oz protein shake?
Fitness is fun. The harder you work, the more you can eat. Eating is fun and it's good for you. It's fuel for your body. Don't be afraid to move. Don't be afraid to eat healthy. Be fit. Be beautiful.