by: Tony Peralez (UTSA)
So another spring break has arrived. Half a semester down and we have a week of vacation right around the corner. While most of us are working hard through midterms, projects, and presentations, there are also those of us who have been working hard in the gym and in the kitchen. With this in mind I decided to throw together some better ways to work out and eat to spread the good word to my peers. I’ll be separating the two articles starting with diet and following up with some recommendations for the gym to give you all a nice little edge to get your fit on.
I used to be a work out fiend, now I just trying to stay fit and healthy for myself and my future. That doesn’t mean I don’t go after the glamour muscles like we all do, but maybe just not as hard as I used to. Using this approach has gotten me in the best shape of my life and maybe it can help you all out a bit as well. If not, then at least it never hurts to know a little bit more of how to take care of yourself.
Here are a few guidelines and recommendations to live by for the spring break transition phase. Now this is what works for me and keep in mind that we are all different. These are just suggestions that have helped me as well as a few others. The following is a high fiber and protein diet that works well when paired with exercise 4-5 times a week.
Diet is the most important part of any work out regiment. It’s good to have about 4 to 5 meals a day. Unfortunately, the hardest part of this is being able to make time to have these types of meals.
A great start to a day is egg whites in the morning with some vegetables. It’s convenient to reheat some extra veggies left over from dinner with your eggs. Cook up about 2-3 egg whites, or if you don’t enjoy them quite so much have one full egg and one egg white. Egg whites can be pretty flavorless so the one egg helps and it’s not exactly unhealthy for you either. Black beans are a great pair, as well as brown rice or even carrots.
Any heavy fiber veggie is going to be a great choice. They are dense in calories as well as fiber, so you can enjoy smaller portions and they will still fill you up. Even though you’re eating a smaller portioned breakfast, the fiber will make you feel a tad bit more full.
A few hours after breakfast, have a light snack. A couple hand fulls of almonds are a great choice with 8 to 16 ounces of skim milk. A little over 250 calories and it sits heavy enough to be a satisfying snack. Even a granola bar and some raisins are a good snack as well.
For lunch have a sandwich on wheat bread without cheese. Stick to mustard if you like condiments on your sandwich, and some tomato and lettuce. More fiber, more protein; recurring theme maybe?
Left-overs also work well for a great lunch, but they have to be the right kind of left-overs. We’ll get to that here in a quick second though after we touch on what’s for dinner.
Moving on, dinner should be light yet filling. That’s where we get back to those veggies we were talking about earlier. A full cup of mixed greens (broccoli, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower) are perfect to pair with a good portion of protein. Any of these veggies work fantastic in a steamer or in a pot of boiling water.
Put something like that together with a clean skinless chicken breast (8-10 oz) or a lean fish filet of the same portion (salmon, trout, or tilapia are all perfect) and you have a light but very filling dinner. Black beans work really well too if you really want to add to your protein intake for those of you trying to gain a little extra in the gym. The chicken works best when baked or grilled, but if you do grill it make sure to use a little olive oil. The fish filet is great to do on a grill or in a pan with a little oil and any seasoning you prefer. Not only do we want only healthy looking bodies, but also healthy hearts. Longevity is the key here, not instant gratification. Olive oil, fiber, and fatty acids, which are all provided in these meals, will help sustain this approach.
Now a final meal before bed is not required but it is a great idea if you’ve been hitting the gym hard. We go back to breakfast on this because it’s easy, it’s healthy, and it will digest easily through the night . I would only do one of two things: oatmeal, or 2-3 egg whites.
A single packet of oatmeal is less then 300 calories and can also be made with skim milk for that extra protein. The egg whites are a great choice also but it could also sit heavy if you have a sensitive stomach. Oatmeal will do well to keep you full through the night, which is incredibly important since most college students sleep for 6-8 hours on average. This is considered a fast if you incorporate how hard your body has been working in the gym and how hungry your body gets in that span of time. Those elevated metabolisms need to be fed in order to keep your body fueled correctly.
Give this a shot for about 2 weeks and you’ll feel fantastic and look it as well. If you don’t see it working quite so well at first just keep at it! It may take a little bit for your body and metabolism to adjust, but you’ll be well off in less than 4 weeks. You’re body will feel, run more efficiently, and it’s a great start to establishing a healthier life style. We only get one body, treat it well and take great care of it. You want it to be it’s complete best for as long as it can.
I’ll continue on with part 2 of this fantastic little health rendition in my next article. Stay tuned ‘cause it’ll be out soon in time for all of the beach and pool bodies you kids are working for.