What To Eat Before & After Class

One of the most popular questions I get is: "What do you eat before/after class?". I must say I do eat what I call "Performance Foods", those that fuel me to do what I do, and give me the energy to ride as hard as I can, every single time. 

It is not a diet, it's a lifestyle:

I am not on any specific diet, however, I do follow a set of rules:

-I don't deprive myself from food. If I am hungry, I eat. When I feel full, I stop eating.

-I don't eat anything with artificial sweeteners. 

-The only thing in my freezer is ice and frozen bananas for smoothies. 

-I don't do sugar-free, fat-free, low-carb, gluten-free. 

-I don't believe in juice fasting, however, I do have vegetable juices regularly. Breanne Colella brings me a freshly made one every Friday after class. It is a great drink to replenish lost fluids, it is made with: kale, pear, parsley, cucumber, celery, ginger and lemon. 

-I don't believe in alcohol as a way to "decompress" after a stressful day. That "relief" is only temporary! I will have one drink occasionally, and drink lots of water with it. Alcohol slows you down. Period. 

-I don't believe in cutting all carbs out of your diet. I would fall off the bike after the first 10 minutes if I didn't eat enough carbs. I choose the right kind, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I have at least 3 slices of sprouted wheat bread per day.

-I don't eat junk food. But when I do, I choose gelato made with 5 ingredients or less. The real thing, full fat, full sugar. 

-I try to buy organic as much as possible but don't go crazy if I can't find what I am looking for at the store.

-I never don't skip meals. If I am not that hungry, then I eat a little less but alwayssomething so that my body doesn't go into starvation mode.

-I don't take supplements or protein shakes, the foods that I eat should be able to provide for all of the nutrients necessary. 

-I try, try, to sleep as much as I can.

-I've been a pescatarian for the past 15 years.

-I don't drink soda! 

-I do drink an enormous amount of water every day. I am always thirsty. Always. 

-If you ask me to choose between a power/protein bar and a sandwich/salad as my lunch, I go with the latter. Real food. 

-When buying foods, I look at the ingredients, then the nutritional facts. I don't care if it is 0% sugar, 0%fat, 0%carbs, WHAT IS IN IT?

My favorite "Performance Foods": 

-Peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, almond butter

-Raw Nuts

-Kale and Spinach

-Avocados, Tomatoes and Beets

-Sprouted Wheat Bread

-Bananas, blueberries, Apples

-Raw cacao

-Fish 

-Sweet Potatoes

Always a combination of good carbs + Healthy fats + Protein is a good idea- they will keep you full to perform better. It is about having energy to train harder!

THE SCOOP

Before Class: 

-Banana, blueberries, peanut butter and raw-cacao smoothie with water/milk and ice. If in a rush, a banana and a small handful of raw, unsalted nuts. One banana will be enough to sustain a strenuous work out of 60 minutes or less.

Or 

-2 Slices of sprouted wheat toast with sunflower seed butter and sliced banana + Latte

During Class:

Water, water, water! Sometimes, you'll see me drink a little bottle of 100% organic apple juice. 

After class:

A couple of times a week, I'll have a latte or a cup of low-fat chocolate milk. Then later, as I crave salty foods after class, I'll have one of the following:

-2 Sushi rolls at Akane, a couple of pieces of sashimi, an order of edamame, and a cucumber salad.

-I love pickles, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, over hummus and home made guacamole made with fresh lime juice and baked lentil chips.

-One serving of whole grain spaghetti mixed with steamed broccoli, a little parmesan cheese and grilled shrimp. 

-Grilled/steamed fish with sautéed kale, spinach, mushrooms and shallots + one cup of brown rice or quinoa or one steamed sweet potato.

-I like the tuna salad that they sell at Whole Foods. I'll have a sandwich with sprouted bread and add lettuce or arugula!

-I LOVE the kale salad at Mayfield Cafe in Palo Alto. So good!!

-Scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese, avocado and smoked salmon.

Everything in moderation!!


A Few Things to Straighten Out Before Taking Spin Classes

If you want to reap all the benefits of cycling but don't want to go through the hassle—and danger—of weaving through traffic, taking spin classes might be the answer. It's a great way of getting some exercise; you can do it with an experienced instructor and with people in the same boat as you. Of course, in the same way that you don't just suddenly decide to go to the gym, you don't just jump into spinning without preparing yourself both physically and mentally for the endeavor.

Some people think Spinning is "addictive"; you can get into the habit quite quickly. You just have to set a few things straight before and during your sessions. Here are a few tips.  

Approach the instructor before class.

While the concept of biking is easy enough to grasp, there are a few details that can make your spinning  much more effective. You should, therefore, approach the instructor before class starts so that he can explain to you all the nuances of posture and bike settings before you get down to business. No need to waste more time figuring out your bike than you have to. 

Just do your best.

While the instructor will be constantly pushing you throughout your class, you don't have to do every single thing he/she says. You are the best judge of what you can do and how much more you can take, so if you feel that you can't take an increase in intensity, then you don't have to follow suit. Just do the best you can.