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Train Like an NBA Player — With Tips from the Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore

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The NBA season is 82 games long, spread over eight months. Add a month of preseason, plus another month for the postseason (and half the league makes the playoffs), and you’ve got 10 grueling months for a body to endure. That doesn’t factor in the travel schedule, or the reality that, in the 21st century, players are literally million-dollar assets, risking their careers with every jump shot, hard foul and awkward landing.

It’s why we love to watch, and it’s why the players are some of the fittest, most inspiring athletes out there. We asked Kent Bazemore — who, over the past six seasons worked his way from an undrafted rookie to a key member of the Atlanta Hawks’ starting lineup — and former Los Angeles Lakers trainer Tim DiFrancesco how they do it. Here’s what they told us, in the form of six tips on how to train like an NBA player:

TIP #1: REMEMBER YOU’RE NOT AN NBA PLAYER

We mean this in two ways. First, you’re probably not built like an NBA player — that is to say, you’re probably not extra-tall with especially long limbs. That affects how you work out. As DiFrancesco points out, he’ll teach a player to do side planks with their legs bent, just to avoid putting excessive impact on their long-levered bodies. (For you, even if you’re not 6-foot-9, this can be a way to go easier on your body when recovering from an injury.)

 

 

Second, your lifestyle, while busy with work, family and relationships, it probably differs from that of the average NBA player. Consider that aforementioned travel schedule. “When you shut off the TV at 10:30 p.m. when the game is over, the players are hitting the showers and then getting on the plane to get to the next city,” DeFrancesco says. “So it’s another three-hour minimum before a player will even think about going to bed.” (And, as Bazemore points out, flying is dehydrating.) The next day, a player will likely be up by 8 a.m. for a shootaround or practice.

Rest when — and where — you can. “I’ll fall asleep on planes, on buses, it doesn’t matter to me,” Bazemore says, adding he’s a nap enthusiast on game day. “I love sleep. It’s very vital for me. When I get tired, I get grumpy. And I hate getting grumpy.”

READ MORE > ATTENTION RUNNERS: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECOVER

One other thing: Remember NBA players aren’t all alike — just like we’re not all alike. DiFrancesco creates custom programs for each player he trains, and Bazemore prefers to keep his body in shape with Pilates, rather than the yoga some of his teammates prefer. So, by all means, train like an NBA player, but remember that your training may vary.

TIP #2: SET YOUR GOALS AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY

Simply put, every NBA player has the same goal: winning the NBA championship. So as soon as last season’s NBA Finals ended in June 2017, each player began training with an eye on the next Finals in June 2018. For Bazemore, that means devoting the offseason to building strength. “Deadlifts. Kettlebell goblet squats. More total body,” as he puts it. And then during the season, they’re careful not to push too hard, lest they use up valuable energy needed for the game itself. As Bazemore puts it, “I wouldn’t go and do 3 sets of 8 bench presses and 12 squats two days before a game if I feel like my legs are dead.”

For you, maybe the goal is running a half-marathon. Or winning the championship in your rec league. Or just beating your buddies in a round of golf. Whatever it is, make a plan to get your body into shape and maintain that shape once you’re there — including, yes, giving yourself permission to rest when your body demands it.

TIP #3: START WITH AN ASSESSMENT, AND THEN CHECK IN

As you’d probably expect, each NBA team has state-of-the-art technology at its disposal. But sometimes, analog works best. On the Hawks, Bazemore fills out a survey every day where he rates his soreness and fatigue on a scale of 1–5. After practices, he rates how hard the practice was on a scale of 1–10. All of this is designed to adjudicate his overall wellness on a day-to-day basis. (DiFrancesco did something similar during his Lakers days.) These check-ins guide a player as he endures a game, a season and a career — and so he knows taking it easy during an early season workout helps ensure he’s fresh for the playoffs.

For you, such check-ins (in tandem with using a fitness tracking app like ours) can keep you on the right path and help you connect actions and consequences. (Bad workout? Maybe you didn’t eat or sleep well the night before.)

These check-ins can also reveal when you’re pushing yourself too hard. Bazemore advises, “Learn when to rest. Learn when enough is enough. We’re all competitors at the end of the day, we all want a little bit more, to squeeze a little bit more out. But you gotta learn when enough is enough, and get your mind ready to get back after it. You don’t want to burn yourself out.”

More traction, more comfort, more control. Introducing the new Curry 4, designed for the ultimate gamebreaker.

TIP #4: DO THESE WORKOUTS

So what does an NBA player do to get and stay in shape? We’ll turn it over to Mr. Bazemore: “Over the summer is where you put in a ton of leg work and have the longer weight-room sessions — an hour and a half, two hours sometimes. Building the foundation. Cardio. Maybe two workouts a day. Three workouts a day. Not really touching a basketball as much. Maybe some spot shooting, some ballhandling.

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-version=”7″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div><p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”><a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BWiCC70l6eS/” style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;” target=”_blank”>A post shared by Kent Bazemore (@24baze)</a> on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2017-07-14T15:18:58+00:00″>Jul 14, 2017 at 8:18am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async defer src=”//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js”></script>

A post shared by Kent Bazemore (@24baze) on Jul 14, 2017 at 8:18am PDT

“Then the season rolls around. You’re always about working on what works for you. For me, that’s mobility. I go to SculptHouse here in Atlanta, which is Pilates.”

For those of us who can’t afford the time or energy to work out this intensely, DiFrancesco puts it in a relatable context. “When you break the body down into its core building blocks — bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles — what you’re talking about is preparing those building blocks for an incredible pace and intensity of schedule. For a basketball player, what you need to think about is starting from the feet up.” In other words, lifting weights might help you grow big muscles, but if the underlying structure isn’t strong, you’re not going to be able to endure a long season — whether you’re in the NBA or training for a marathon.

For an NBA player, this approach means working on the mobility of the lower legs and doing anything that keeps the hips strong and mobile as well as keeping the core strong. Bazemore mentions his love of planks and side planks, which can impact the entire body. Both men mention goblet squats, which are basically a deep squat executed while holding a kettlebell. Both mention deadlifts (with DiFrancesco pointing out that quality of execution is more important than lifting a lot of weight). DiFrancesco also mentioned landmine exercises, which combine weightlifting with mobility and, for a long-levered NBA player, means reducing the impact of deep squats during weightlifting. (Lowering your body when you have long legs is harder than it is for the rest of us.)

TIP #5: AIM TO RECOVER AND SLEEP LIKE AN NBA PLAYER, TOO (TOYS CAN HELP)

“I’m a very active person,” says Bazemore, referring to his off-court life. “I love doing things. Golf. Basketball. Walking the puppies. There was a time I was on my feet too much, and I was just so tired [all the time]. I try to shut down my night at 8:30 p.m. now, get in bed, try to get a good night’s sleep.” He knows it’s not easy, but emphasizes finding something to focus on. “It sucks sometimes, but I find things to do. I read. I let go with an old childhood toy of mine: Legos.”

“I love sleep. It’s very vital for me. When I get tired, I get grumpy. And I hate getting grumpy.”

Bazemore has another trick up his sleeve: Tom Brady’s line of Athlete Recovery Sleepwear for Under Armour. “I got it all, so I’ve definitely bought into Tom Brady’s movement. To be as good as he is, to play at his level, any athlete that does it that well, you gotta take note.” Thanks for noticing, Kent.

TIP #6: HAVE SOME FUN

Here’s an understatement: Professional basketball players play a lot of basketball. To stay fit, many turn to another form of physical activity, including other sports. For Bazemore, hitting the links leaves him feeling energized — physically and mentally. “Golf challenges my perspective. It keeps me sharp, it’s not as impactful on the body [as basketball]. Nothing like hitting a good golf shot — it raises every aspect of your life. You come home to your wife with a big smile on your face.”

Speaking of, Bazemore has another way of unwinding. It’s his famous Baze Gaze — in which Bazemore videobombs his teammates’ postgame interviews by sneaking up on them and staring into the camera. Is it the end result of vigorous training? Yes and no. “It’s all about timing and the element of surprise,” Bazemore says. “It’s definitely instinctive. You gotta feel your way.” In other words, it’s about that moment where preparation meets opportunity. Which, in a way, is what training is all about.

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Train Like an NBA Player — With Tips from the Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/train-like-nba-player-tips-atlanta-hawks-kent-bazemore/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/train-like-nba-player-tips-atlanta-hawks-kent-bazemore/</a> by Paul L. Underwood

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Daily Deliberate Practice

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Anders Ericsson has written an excellent book PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Ericsson’s research contributed to the common recited 10,000 rule.

If you’re not familiar with it, Malcolm Gladwell interpreted Ericsson’s research and suggested people need to accumulate 10,000 hours to become an expert.

Ericsson, however, says,

“[T]he key thing that people have misinterpreted is that it’s not just a matter of accumulating hours. If you’re doing your job, and you’re just doing more and more of the same, you’re not actually going to get better.” (source)

Ericsson instead says the missed element is something he calls “deliberate practice.” As fitness experts, this idea should resonate with you.

Imagine a client who wanted to get healthy and strong, but they kept repeating the same exercises done incorrectly. If they reached 10,000 hours without hurting themselves, would they really have improved? They may even be in a worse position long term.

Ericsson says, “Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal” (p. 15).

An Interview with Anders Ericsson

Check out this interview with Ericsson below:

6 Tips for Incorporating Deliberate Practice Into Your Business

As you think about how deliberate practice might apply to your business, we wanted to share a few tips:

Incorporate practice into daily work life – The first step in applying deliberate practice into your business is to schedule it into your daily work life. You’ll never make progress if you don’t set aside regular time. Get out of your comfort zone – If you only practice what you’ve always practiced, you’ll never grow. That’s true when you exercise and it’s true in your business. If one of your clients only wanted to exercise their biceps, you’d firmly explain that’s not a smart way to exercise. Seek immediate feedback – A core component of deliberate practice is seeking immediate feedback. That might mean seeking out a business mentor or taking an online course where you have access to an expert for a new business tactic. Don’t keep practice something that you can’t get feedback on and don’t know if you’re doing correctly. Learn from others, particularly experts – The best way to become an expert is to learn from one. That might mean reading a book like PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, taking a seminar, going to a conference, or seeking a new certification. Our digital world provides us hundreds of ways we can learn from experts. Build mental representations – “A mental representation is a mental structure that corresponds to an object, an idea, a collection of information, or anything else, concrete or abstract, that the brain is thinking about.” (source). Many people use this form of learning in school but stopped using it as they transitioned into the business world. It can be a tremendous tool in your deliberate practice. Focus – Deliberate practice requires your full attention, so set aside a specific amount of time and remove distractions. If you’re new to this idea, read more about the Pomodoro Technique.

We’d love to talk more and provide more tangible tips on how to grow your fitness business. Enter your info below to schedule a demo with our expert team!

Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World. You might also like…

Daily Deliberate Practice was originally posted at https://www.exercise.com/blog/daily-deliberate-practice/ by Exercise.com Staff

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Back Workouts

11 Exercises for Your Best Back Workout

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Many people focus on building their “mirror muscles” (think: chest, shoulders, arms, and abs). But to create a well-rounded physique, you don’t want to skimp on back workouts to sculpt the other side of your body, too.

Whether you’re wearing a bathing suit, a tank top, or a backless dress, a well-built back shows the world you’ve got it where it counts. Physically and aesthetically, there’s no substitute for a strong, muscular back, which is why you should include back workouts into your regularly scheduled routine. To help you get started, here are some of the best back exercises found on Beachbody On Demand.

The Back Muscles

Across the rugged topography of your back are over a dozen different muscles. Some of them — like the trees minor — stabilize movement at your shoulder girdle; others — including the erector spine — extend your spine, helping to keep you upright.

But the primary focus of back workouts are usually the two largest muscle groups in your back: the trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles.

Trapezius Anatomy

This is a kite-shaped muscle which extends from the back of your neck, to your shoulder blades, and down to your mid-back. Your traps are responsible for moving your shoulder blades upwards (as in a shrugging movement) and inwards (as in a rowing movement). When they’re well developed, the traps keep your posture in check and give your mid-back depth and detail.

Many people, guys especially, focus exclusively on the upper portion of this muscle — the bands of muscle that give gymnasts and football players that thick-necked look. But that can be a mistake, says Beachbody fitness expert Cody Braun. “When improperly trained, the traps can round your shoulders, which causes a postural dysfunction and a higher likelihood of injury.” Solve the problem by focusing on mid-and-lower trap exercises instead, using movements that emphasize retracting the shoulder blades.

Latissimus Dorsi Anatomy

Often shortened to “lats,” this fan-shaped muscle originates at your mid and lower back and attaches to your upper arms. It pulls your arms downwards and behind your body, (as in a pull-up movement), and directly backward (as in a rowing movement). The lats are your primary “pulling” muscles, and when they’re developed, they give you that unmistakeable “V” shape when your visible from behind.

The lats, Braun explains, are often underdeveloped and tight. Strengthening and stretching the muscle is key for good posture and full mobility — particularly in the shoulder joint, he says.

How do you exercise your back?

Most back movements are variations on rowing (pulling your own bodyweight or an object toward your torso), or chinning (pulling your bodyweight upward and over a bar or other stationary object). That’s the case with the 11 back exercises below, all culled from Beachbody On Demand’s huge selection of fitness programs. Together, they’ll work all the back muscles — large and small — to ensure complete functional and athletic back development. And the best part is that you can do them all at home! All you need is some dumbbells, a resistance band, and a pull-up bar (or a door attachment).

11 of the Best Exercises for Back Workouts

 

1. Balance row pistol squat

Appears in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel – Chisel Balance

Benefits: This move is an intense, total-body challenge. It works the traps, lats, and scapular retractors in the upper body, and the glutes, hamstrings, and quads in the lower body, all while testing your balance.

Stand holding two medium-weight dumbbells at your sides. Lift your right foot slightly off the floor. Keeping your back flat and your shoulders pulled back, hinge forward extending your right leg behind you. Let your arms hang straight down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weights up to the outside of your ribs while keeping your elbows close to your sides. Lower the weights back down and return to the standing position. Try not to let your right foot touch the ground. Keeping your knees close together, extend your right leg forward. Bending at your hip and knee, squat as deeply as possible on your left leg. Return to standing and repeat. Do equal reps on both sides.

2. Dumbbell reverse grip row

Appears in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel – Total Body Chisel

Benefits: This move can help improve posture by challenging the upper and lower back simultaneously.

• Stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding two medium to heavy dumbbells in front of your body, palms facing forward.

• With your shoulder blades pulled back, hinge forward at the hips until your upper body forms about a 45 degree angle to the floor.

• Keeping your palms turned forward, squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows, pulling the weights up toward your ribcage.

• Reverse the move and repeat.

3. Renegade Row

Appears in: SHIFT SHOP – Strength :25

Benefits: Challenge your upper back and lats while you also work your core and shoulder stabilizers.

• Assume a push-up position with your hands just outside your shoulder-width, gripping two light dumbbells. Your feet should be in line with your hands.

• Lift the dumbbell in your right hand off the floor, bringing your hand to the outside of your ribs while keeping your right elbow close to your side. Resist rotation of the body.

• Lower the right dumbbell to the floor and repeat with your left arm, alternating sides.

4. Alternating row and lunge

Appears in: Autumn’s BOD Exclusives – Kill Cupcake

Benefits: This move works multiple parts of the upper back (lats, traps, and scapular retractors) with light weights, challenging the muscle fibers responsible for endurance.

• Stand holding two medium to light dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in toward your body.

• Take a big step forward with your left leg, bending it to assume a deep lunge position, keeping your right leg straight.

• Bend forward at your hip, attempting to lay your torso on top of your left thigh. Let your arms hang straight down to the sides of your left leg.

• Bring the dumbbell in your right hand up to the outside of your ribs while keeping your elbow close to your side.

• Reverse the move and repeat with your left arm, alternating sides.

5. EZ bar row

Appears in: Body Beast – Build: Back/Bis

Benefits: This move challenges the large muscles of the upper back to move a heavy load, while the lower back stabilizes and protects the spine.

• Stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding an EZ bar in front of your body with a wide grip, palms facing forward.

• Keeping your lower back in its natural arch and your shoulder blades pulled back, hinge forward at the hips until your upper body forms about a 45 degree angle to the floor, and the bar is near your knees.

• Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows, pulling the bar up until it contacts your lower abdomen.

• Reverse the move and repeat.

6. Chin-up

Appears in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel – Iso Speed Hammer

Benefits: This classic move is great to way to widen and shape your lats, creating that wide V-shape in your upper back.

• Take an underhand grip on a pull-up bar.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight as you pull yourself up.

• Lower yourself until your arms straight, and repeat.

• Too tough? Use a chin-up assist band to make it easier.

7. Core crunch chin-up

Appears in: P90X2 – Chest, Back, and Balance

Benefits: After you’ve master the classic chin-up, try this variation to strengthen and shape your lats, while also challenging your abs and hip flexors.

• Take an underhand grip on a pull-up bar with about 12 inches between your hands.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight, simultaneously pulling your knees up to the bar.

• Lower your knees, straighten your arms, and repeat.

• Too tough? Use a chin-up assist band to make it easier.

8. Track star pull-up

Appears in: 22 Minute Hard Corps – Deluxe Resistance

Benefits: This variation of a standard pull-up widens and shapes the lats, creating a V-taper in your back, while also challenging your abs and obliques.

• Take an overhand grip on a pull-up bar.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight as you pull yourself up.

• Lower yourself until your arms straight.

• Keeping your left leg straight, lift your right knee as high as possible as you twist your hips to the left.

• Repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep.

• Too tough? Use a pull-up assist band to make it easier.

9. Close-grip oblique twist

Appears in: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Volume 2 – Back & 6 Pack

Benefits: This move widens and shapes the lats and it adds an isometric challenge for the upper back and a challenge to obliques and core.

• Take an overhand on a pull-up bar.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight as you pull yourself up.

• Holding the top position of the pullup, lift your knees toward your chest as high as possible.

• Keeping your knees drawn up and squeezed together, contract the obliques on your right side, as if trying to touch the outside of your right hip to your right elbow.

• Repeat on your left side.

• Lower your knees, straighten your arms, return to the starting position, and repeat.

10. Lunge twist pull

Appears in: 22 Minute Hard Corps – Resistance 2 (as “Punch Pull”)

Benefits: This move works your lats and upper traps in conjunction with your lateral and rear deltoids. The lunge movement also fires up the muscles in your lower body.

• Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a medium-weight dumbbell in your right hand at shoulder height.

• Pivot to the left on the balls of your feet, bend both knees into a lunge, and punch toward your left foot on the floor with your right hand.

• As you return to the standing position, place your left hand on the dumbbell and forcefully drive your right elbow backward, pivoting and rotating your torso to the right.

• Repeat on your left side, and do equal reps on both sides.

11. Superman lat pull

Appears in: THE 20s – Megan: Pyreshape

Benefits: Using a resistance band, this move strengthens your entire back, from your waistline to the back of your neck.

• Holding a light resistance band, lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead, chest and arms lifted off the floor, and palms facing down. This is your starting position.

• Keeping both arms straight, trace a half-circle with your right arm, extending it directly out to the side and down toward your right thigh. Your left arm should remain straight overhead.

• Reverse the move, slowly returning to the starting position.

• Repeat with your left arm, and do equal reps on both sides.

How do you build a better back?

To ensure that you get the most out of your back workouts, it’s essential to consider not just what you do in the gym, but what you do outside of it as well. That includes stress management, sleep, stretching, and diet. When you’re doing challenging back workouts (or any strength workouts), you need to keep an eye on your protein and calorie intake, making sure you eat enough to help your muscles grow and repair. For more information on pre- and post-workout supplements, the Beachbody Performance line is a great place to start.

11 Exercises for Your Best Back Workout was originally posted at <a href="https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/best-back-workouts-exercises" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/best-back-workouts-exercises</a> by Andrew Heffernan CSCS, GCFP

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creating healthy habits

5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

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As the saying goes: Abs are made in the kitchen. Of course, time in the gym helps, too. “I think nutrition for optimal performance and recovery has gained recent attention because some high-profile athletes have been public about their nutrition strategies. But the science behind this has been around for years,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a board-certified sports dietitian who has been a consultant to five professional teams and counsels professional athletes in her private practice.

Chef Lindsey Becker founded Tone House FUEL, a clean-eating program designed to help maximize recovery and boost results for people who work out at Tone House, an athletic-based group fitness studio in New York City. “A balanced, healthy diet with the right key nutrients can help your body become more efficient and enhance your athletic performance [in and out of the gym],” she says. “Consuming the necessary nutrients before and after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair damage or inflammation.”

Below Becker shares her tips for eating to get the most out of your workouts, with additional expert insights from Sass. Use their advice to ensure what you’re eating is supporting your exercise.

We often focus on calories, but nutrients also matter, Sass says. “Certain nutrients help your brain and muscles perform more efficiently, and others are crucial for recovering from the wear and tear exercise puts on your body,” she explains. The best macronutrients pre- and post-workout depend on the type of workout you’re doing, as well as the length and intensity.

“Eating the right foods will prevent you from crashing, boost your performance and help your muscles recover and grow stronger,” Becker says. “On the other hand, choosing the wrong foods could cause cramping, nausea, lack of energy and improper muscle recovery.”

Becker recommends beets, sweet potatoes, oats, spinach and eggs for their varied benefits. “Beets increase blood flow to working muscles, which can improve your workout and boost stamina, and are rich in antioxidants, which help fight the oxidative stress that can come with intense workouts,” she says.

She likes sweet potatoes for carbs, antioxidants and potassium; oats for steady energy and B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy; and spinach because a study found that it may help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance. And of course the incredible edible egg is a source of easily digestible protein to help rebuild muscles.

Aim to eat something that’s high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat, sugar and fiber 2–4 hours before a workout. Some macros aren’t ideal before the gym. “Eating too much protein or fat close to the start of a workout can lead to cramps or a brick sitting in your stomach because protein and fat take longer to digest,” Sass says. “Also, the goal of a pre-workout snack is to fuel the workout. If the food is trapped in the digestive system, it’s not available to working muscles when they need it.”

That’s why carbs are great — they’re generally easy to digest and provide readily available, easily burned fuel. Becker recommends oatmeal with a sprinkling of hemp seeds (for protein) and sliced banana or a smoothie.


READ MORE > SCIENCE INVESTIGATES: FASTING VS. CALORIE RESTRICTION?


Sass recommends eating 30–60 minutes after a particularly tough workout. However, although improper recovery can make you go into your next workout weaker and increase the risk of injury, you only need to refuel within an hour after hard-core workouts. This isn’t so crucial after a walk or moderate-intensity group fitness class, particularly if you’ll be eating a meal soon after, Sass says.

“Consuming the necessary nutrients after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair any damage or inflammation,” Becker says.

Good advice for anyone, this is even more important for active people because “nutrients are key to performance and recovery, and unprocessed foods are naturally nutrient-rich,” Sass says.

Becker and Sass agree that refined sugars have zero nutritional benefit and fried and greasy foods can be difficult to digest and cause cramping during a workout. So skip that leftover pizza before your morning indoor cycling class.

Great as they are, you shouldn’t only consume these five foods. “Eat them strategically,” Sass recommends. For example, fuel up with oatmeal, sweet potato, beets or green juices pre-workout, and enjoy eggs with veggies and avocado after a morning workout.


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5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/</a> by Brittany Risher

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