There is so much conflicting information out there on the internet about what we should be eating and when. Images come to mind of bodybuilders carbo-loading on sugary cereals and pasta in the name of their regimen, shredded trainers touting a protein shaker bottle so that they can get their 20g of protein in before even rinsing off the sweat from their workout, and thin women in yoga clothes sipping a green juice and skipping lunch.
That’s why we spoke to our girl Shauna Faulisi, a celebrity wellness chef, holistic nutritionist, and someone with a realistic, delicious perspective—great news for those of us struggling to find balance. It means eating real food. “Don’t waste your time and energy by not refueling properly.” Amen to that.
You’ve probably heard that you need protein STAT—within 20 minutes of your workout, which is kind of a stressful notion. And when you think about the history of humankind and what we had to do to find and prepare food back in ancient times (hello paleo diet, have you considered other details of your theory?), it’s also unrealistic. Shauna goes into detail with this. “Know that the post-workout anabolic window is a myth that the supplement industry made up to sell more protein powder. That being said, pay attention to how your body feels. For many of us, If we wait too long to eat after a workout, our energy drops and our cortisol spikes.”
This is a major danger zone, because cortisol stores fat and will prevent your muscles from recovering properly. “So pay attention to your energy levels to find the right timing for your individual body. Be sure you’re experimenting with the types of foods as well.” That’s right. She’s said it, we’ve said it, and we’ll all say it again: every body is different. Listen to yours and feel out what it needs.
Nevertheless, Shauna confirms that “protein should be your number one priority,” but she also breaks down the minutia on why that’s important. Her recommendation is to get “0.36-0.42 grams of protein per pound [of body weight] per day for lean individuals. Keep in mind that too much protein can be problematic due to an excess of amino acids that convert to glucose in the body” which can increase insulin and store fat. To avoid this, we need fat into our diet to help lessen the glucose load, and “without it our hormones cannot function properly.”
It may feel like you’re being “so good” on those days that you are very active and have an excellent workout, wait a long time to eat (burning more calories, right?) and then eat very lean and little when you do. Letting your blood sugar and cortisol go haywire will set your body into panic mode, grabbing onto sugars and carbs, storing them as fat. The same goes for overdoing the protein, thinking you’re feeding your muscles individually. The same way that you cannot spot-train a single part of your body into total fitness, you cannot spot-feed components of your body with an overdose of a singular nutrient.
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