We are about halfway through our 10 Week 5k Training Series for our 10th Annual Long Island Run For The Warriors Race, Lindenhurst, NY on Nov 18th and Nov. 19th We shared a 10 Week 5k Training Series for beginners several weeks ago and now Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, Katie Troy, RD, ACE CPT, ACE WMSC is here it check in with you to see how your training is going and provide a few more training tips. If you missed our first 10 Week 5k Training Blog Post, here it is.
Hello, again Athlete Warriors and Congratulations on making it halfway through your 5K training program! I hope it is going very well for you and you are consistently feeling stronger and stronger. I wanted to take this time to go through a few more topics that can help to up your game to the next level. You have the basic nutrition guideline and the workout program, but there are pieces of each puzzle that may be missing. The missing nutritional piece is snacking and the missing workout piece is stretching, so those are what we are going to cover today. We are going to start with snacking and then move onto stretching.
In general, you need more calories on days you exercise and snacking before and after the workout is an ideal way to utilize these calories for muscle growth and fat burn. Plan for one or two snacks each day that will fuel your workout and help keep you full between meals. The best time to incorporate these snack is surrounding your workout. Today we are going to discuss both pre- and post- workout snacks to determine why they are important and how they differ. Both types of snacks are appropriate and beneficial for both cardio and strength days.
Pre-workout snacks are not always crucial, it will depend on when you workout and when your last meal was. They are ideal if you have gone 4+ hours without eating and will be exercising hard for at least 45 minutes. Having a small snack before a tough workout helps to wake you up a bit, energize your muscles for better lifts, and allow you to last longer during cardio.
It should primarily consist of carbohydrates to fuel your workout and some protein to aid in muscle building and reduce soreness.
Some ideas are:
– Half slice of whole wheat toast with nut butter
– Small cup of Greek yogurt & granola
– Apple slices with a small amount of nut butter
To recap pre-workout snacking, consume a small snack about 30-60 minutes prior to an intense workout if you need the extra energy boost and/or haven’t eaten a meal in the previous two-three hours.
Following an intense workout, you want to make sure to consume something within half an hour max. During a workout, including both strength-based and cardio-based, muscles are broken down and torn apart. The sooner you can replenish your energy stores, the quicker your muscles will begin to repair and grow back stronger than before! If you exercise immediately prior to one of your full meals, a post-workout snack may not be necessary, but it never hurts to consume a small snack ASAP.
The snack should be part protein, to assist with muscle recovery, and part carbohydrates, to release high levels of insulin, which assists in the transport of amino acids (proteins) to the muscles for fast absorption.
Some ideas are:
– Small protein smoothie
– Low-fat chocolate milk
– Handful of almonds with a bowl of berries
– Oats with fruit, flaxseed, and small amount of peanut butter mixed in
To recap post-workout snacking… Consume at least a small snack within thirty minutes following a workout if you will not be eating a full meal immediately after. This snack should be a good balance of primarily protein and carbohydrates.
SOME EXTRA LITTLE FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT SNACKS:
- Try to limit each snack to 5-10% of your daily calories (75 – 150 Kcals if you are following a 1500 Kcal diet).
- Consuming snacks throughout the day isn’t 100% necessary and does not have a direct effect on metabolism. It helps curb hunger, especially carbohydrate cravings, which typically leads to less over-consumption.
- Limit late night eating/snacking unless you consumed a very early dinner (4+ hours before bedtime). In that case, it may be beneficial to eat a small snack (less than 100 calories) of mostly carbohydrates and fat (think half an apple and 1/2 TBSP peanut butter) before bed to help keep insulin levels more stable overnight.
You now have the little missing puzzle piece for nutrition. While these small snacks may not seem like a huge/important deal; add them to your routine and see how much more energized you feel during exercise and how much quicker you recover after.
When training for any type of event, proper stretching is incredibly important. It aids in recovery, can help prevent injuries, and even improve overall performance. I recommend at least ten minutes of warming up/stretching before your workout and at least five to ten minutes following exercise.
PRE-WORKOUT STRETCHING (dynamic stretching)
Prior to your workout, you want to make sure you adequately warm your muscles and loosen your joints to prevent injuries, it will also enable you to reach your peak performance quicker. There are two basic steps involved in pre-workout stretching.
- The cardio warm up to loosen up the joints
- Before any workout, do at least five minutes of cardio treadmill, walking, elliptical, rowing, etc. to get the fluid moving in the joints and to slowly start increasing your heart rate.
- Dynamic stretching to loosen/activate muscles
- Complete at least five-ten minutes of stretching. This type of stretching should include moving stretches so you don’t risk tearing a muscle. These should target multiple muscles at once.
See examples below:
– Arm Circles
– Shoulder Scratch
– Chest Opener
See examples below:
– Frankenstein Kicks
– Hamstring Kicks
– Butt Kicks
– High Knees
– Hip Openers
– Bodyweight Squats
– Bodyweight Lunge and Twist
Post-workout Stretching (static & recovery stretching)
Following a workout; you may already feel sore or most likely, the soreness will develop later. The best way to limit this and recover quicker is by adequately cooling down and stretching following a workout. This includes two steps, which are outlined below.
- Cardio cool down to bridge the gap between work and rest.
- If you stop abruptly, you are more likely to develop injuries and potentially increase muscle soreness.
- Try to do at least three – five minutes of cardio to bring your heart rate down closer to resting. Try walking, biking, elliptical, etc.
- Static stretching to limit future soreness and increase flexibility
- Focus on at least five-ten minutes of stretching, depending on how sore you already are. These stretches should be in place and you should target only one or two muscles at a time.
See examples below:
– Shoulder Pull
– Tricep Pull
– Chest Stretch
– Shoulder/Back Rotational Stretch
See examples below:
There you have it! The two types of stretching and when each one is appropriate. If you have never stretched before, start slow. Focus more so on the dynamic stretching because you are at greater risk of a muscle tear from static stretching. I know stretching is something that is easily skipped due to lack of time and exhaustion, but it really can decrease soreness while also improving recovery & performance so please try to make the time for it!
– Hamstring Stretch
– Calf Stretch
– Piriformis/Glute Stretch
– Quad Stretch
– Hip/Inner Thigh Stretch
I hope this is the information helps to further your performance. Please, please, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns; no matter how small they may seem! I will be checking in the last week before the Long Island Race and will have one more blog covering the last couple of days before the run: what to eat/when and what workouts to focus on. Thank you for including me on your journey and I can’t wait to see how everyone does!