Guide: Fueling Your Fitness with THM
This is your go-to guide for fueling your workouts on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) plan.
The journey to where I am today began first with my passion for fitness. I joined my local YMCA when my daughter (now 4.5) was about 6 months old. I started going to swim laps as my workout, and soon got into group fitness classes. Strength training, Zumba, yoga, cycling, TRX - you name it, I was trying it. At first, I was losing weight consistently, but a few months later I plateaued even when I was working out more.
After being frustrated and stuck at the same place for months, I began my journey with THM. Around that same time, I became a fitness instructor (AKA working out a LOT more). It took a few months, but I finally hit my stride with being a fit, trim, AND healthy mama.
1. Timing is everything. We all know we're supposed to be eating every 3 hours, and with fitness that rule is even more important. You should have a meal 1-2 hours prior to working out, and have a replenishing meal or snack within an hour of working out.
My go-to post workout snack is a Vega Sport Protein smoothie. Vega is a vegan protein, and its flavors are stevia based. The stats for a half scoop are 1.5g fat, 1g net carbs, and 15g protein. I place a half scoop into a Blender Bottle with water after my workout and shake it right up. [*NOTE: I believe Vega is still considered a personal choice because the peas are not sprouted. In this instance, I take it because I believe it will do more good than not in my case.]
2. Match your fuel to your workout. This one is really important - in order to perform your best during your workout, you need to know what type of fuel will be best.
For cardio-heavy workouts such as cycling, running, tabata, etc. an E meal will give you the most energy during your workout. You don't want to feel weighed down while doing cardio, the heavier carb ratio helps fuel your muscles and increase endurance during your workout.
Oatmeal is FANTASTIC for cardio workouts. I have multiple recipes for overnight oats, which are all E's and easy to throw together with a little prep. If you're OK with dairy before cardio, then cottage cheese, yogurt, or a kefir smoothie are also great E options with lots of protein. I like to mix a Tbsp of fat free cottage cheese into an Oikos 000 yogurt and have sprouted toast with jelly and fruit on the side with coffee or green tea.
For more strength-based or low impact workouts (such as weight lifting, yoga, barre, pilates, or similar), go for a Deep S meal prior to your sweat session. Dairy-heavy S's can cause bloat during a workout, so try to avoid them.
My go-to meal prior to low impact exercise is eggs, bacon, avocados with nutritional yeast, and coffee with collagen. I do have half and half in my coffee, but it's not enough to weigh me down during my workout (and I usually consume this over an hour before my workout).
For a combination of strength and cardio, I find it best to go with a FP protein shake. It's light, but filling, and keeps my energy levels up while I get my sweat going. This meal type is also good if you're someone who wakes up early and goes to workout first thing in the morning. My rule is not to workout on an empty stomach, but there are a few days during the week where I'm up early to sweat and my stomach hasn't quite caught up with me. On those days, a shake is just enough to get me going.
My basic skeleton recipe is 1 scoop of whey protein isolate, 2 Tbsp fat free cottage cheese, fresh or frozen fruit of choice, vanilla, 1 scoop of collagen, water and/or unsweetened almond milk (I usually do about 1/2 c of each), and sweetener of choice to taste. It's the perfect pre-workout energizer for early mornings!
3. Know how to recover. Just like fueling prior to your workout is important, recovering and re-fueling post-workout is equally important.
Carbs fuel your muscles for hard work, and they also help your muscles recover while boosting your energy. After a tough cardio and/or strength workout, I go for a big E meal with lots of protein. The protein helps you recover, while the carbs build your muscles and give you an overall boost of energy (after you come down from that post-workout endorphin and adrenaline rush).
Like I said - pack. in. that. protein. What many people miss with E meals is the protein, then they end up feeling hungry an hour later. My post-workout lunch is a sandwich on sourdough packed with turkey, Dijon mustard, lettuce or sprouts, tomato and onion with a pickle wedge, fruit, veggies or other on-plan sides (pictured is 1 c of salted Skinny Pop and 2 Tbsp of my FP Everything Bagel Dip with grape tomato dippers), and a big Good Girl Moonshine (pg. 397 of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook). Hydrating is important for muscle recovery as well, so make sure you get those fluids in to prevent soreness tomorrow.
If the end of your workout is an hour or more until your next meal, go for an S meal to fill you up. There are many ideas you can go with for an S meal, and the same basic rules apply: pack in the protein, get a mix of fruit and veggies, and sip that water/GGMS.
There you have it! My guide for fueling your fitness with THM. These make seem like small tweaks, but trust me when I say they will make all the difference in your routine.