How to

16 February 2017

Winter Workouts - Foods to Keep You Kicking

Img: Dulcet Cuisine 
When it starts to get cold out, regular exercisers have much more to worry about than simply bringing along gym clothes and shoes. Winter necessities include a coat, winter accessories and a warm change of clothes for afterwards. Being positive about continually working out is hard enough without having to deal with the dreariness of the cold. Make the grind a little more bearable by eating the right kinds of food to best prepare the body for the cold and exertion.

Before the Barbell

Eat these foods before working out to prepare your body to put in some work:

- Oats are a powerfully healthy food. The little grains come in different forms to suit taste – steel-cut, rolled and quick/instant. Eating a big bowl of oatmeal delivers complex carbohydrates, fibre and protein. Adding cinnamon will impart natural sweetness and give a good dose of antioxidants. Top it off with some nuts to pack in even more protein and some good fats.

- Oranges, grapefruit and tangerines are all in season during the winter months. Take advantage of the seasonality by putting together a citrus yoghurt parfait by layering good yoghurt with citrus fruits. Add a dash of honey if desired. When it comes to yoghurt, be sure to do your research. The creamy snack has been a staple in the health food community for years. As it gained popularity, new yoghurt products containing a huge amount of sugar and no live cultures have started appearing on shelves in grocery stores. Live cultures are a huge reason for yoghurt’s healthfulness, so bear in mind that reputable yoghurt is one that contains live cultures and minimal added sugar (10-15 grams).

- Cocoa powder is a staple in people’s cupboards, usurping the admittedly bitterer cacao powder. People don’t seem to realize that cacao powder is the better option. It is packed with antioxidants and delivers some amazing health benefits in the form of flavonoids. Whip up a cacao protein shake to shunt in the goodness before you hit the squat rack. Blend together one scoop of chocolate protein powder, dash of cacao powder, spinach, banana and non-dairy milk.

- Go simple and have a carbohydrate- and protein-rich meal of eggs on toast.

After the Aggro

Img: T-Nation
Eat these foods after a good workout to help your body repair and recover:

- Have a chocolate craving? You deserve a reward after your hard work, so whip up some homemade cacao hot chocolate. It’s quite simple to make, just pop non-dairy milk, cacao powder, honey and a flavouring spice/extract if desired (ginger, chili, vanilla, almond).

- Crock-pot chili is a cinch to make and is full-up of veggies, protein and fibre. The great thing about chili is that you can add anything you like. Ground turkey or chicken will create a leaner meal or go meatless and opt for a mixed bean chili.

- Again opting for the simplicity of the crock-pot, make a hearty soup or stew full of veggies, carbohydrates and protein. There’s no wrong way to make soup as nearly any kind of food can be added to it. Go for lean sausage, carrots, celery, onion, beans, whole-grain pasta and leafy greens.

- Sweet potatoes have the leg-up on white potatoes. Both kinds of potato have a good measure of fibre and nutrients, but sweet potatoes win out on nutrient content alone. They are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and can protect against the effects of aging thanks to carotenoids. Bake a plain sweet potato for something simple. When you can easily slip a fork through the exterior, scoop out the innards and mix in cinnamon, butter and brown sugar or maple syrup. 

Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).