It starts with a good breakfast!

For your class to truly reap the full benefits of any workout, they must fuel and re-fuel properly — and a full understanding of pre and post-workout nutrition is one of the best gifts you can give your indoor cycling students!

It is important to understand that if the body”™s carbohydrate stores are depleted, then fewer overall calories are burnt during the workout, more stress hormones are released during and after the workout, and the overall fitness response is hampered. Furthermore, if carbohydrate and protein levels are not replaced within 20-60 minutes following the workout (shorter periods of time applicable to individuals with higher metabolisms), then recovery is diminished, and a crucial window of time for the muscles to uptake sugar and proteins into muscle is missed.

Despite this fact, many students feel that in order to lose weight or burn fat, they must starve themselves both before and after their indoor cycling session. These individuals must be reminded that they are slowing their progress and wasting much of their workout benefit.

The best place to begin teaching your class about pre and post-workout nutrition is to give them several simple rules to follow:

1. Never exercise starved. Fuel with 300-400 calories 2-3 hours prior (unless early morning exercise), then take in 50-100 calories immediately before the workout if you are hungry. Both of these meals should be your largest carbohydrate portions of the day.

2. Fuel with carbohydrate for exercise sessions lasting longer than 60 minutes, and up to 2 hours.

3. Fuel with carbohydrate, fat, and protein for exercise sessions lasting longer than 2 hours.

4. Never avoid eating after any workout that takes you outside your aerobic, conversational exercise pace.

5. Emphasize post-workout consumption of a meal or snack with a carbohydrate and protein mix after exercise. The protein must be complete (egg, whey, soy, dairy or animal — or a mix of grains and nuts), and fueling should ideally be within 20 minutes of exercise completion (the sooner the better) and no later than 60 minutes after the workout. Sample post-workout meals include:

* Turkey or chicken in whole grain tortilla
* Tuna wrapped in single slice whole grain bread
* 2 eggs scrambled and wrapped into whole grain tortilla
* Whey protein smoothie with banana
* 1 container fat-free, plain yogurt with a small handful of walnuts, and berries or sliced fruit
* 1 serving cottage cheese with small handful of flaxseed, berries or sliced fruit
* 1 apple dipped in ½-1 container yogurt, with 12-20 almonds
* 1 cup of Kashi or other whole grain cereal with 1 cup of milk.
* 1 cup oatmeal with 1 egg and raw honey
* Bumblebar, Biobar, Chia bar or other organic seed or nut based bar
* Whole grain like quinoa, amaranth, or millet served with seeds or nuts

In the same way that you shouldn”™t drive (much less race) your car with sub-par fuel, fumes, or watered-down gasoline, you shouldn”™t neglect your body”™s fueling needs before, during and after exercise. If you need to lose weight, one of the least effective method and unhealthiest methods is exercise starvation!

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