My mother in law raised 8 children on little to no money and with very little support. When we go to visit Iowa, it's a wonderful time to unplug and relax a little as the world seems to keep spinning vehemently around us. This last trip, she said something that will stick with me forever...
"I was busy once too".
As I raise my own children (now 2 and a half...eek!!) and consider how time means nothing to them, and how they drift through each day running and jumping and exploring, I am reminded of what she said. Life is much more calm at the beginning and the end. And there is so much of our story to be LIVED in between. I like what Socrates said: "Beware the barrenness of a busy life."
I, for one, am very aware at how much the pace of my life can drag me down. I'll bet you feel it too. So how can we use the latest research to make the most of the time we spend focusing on our health so we have more energy and time for the things that make our lives rich and meaningful?
Here's two new tips:
1) Have a little something to eat an hour or two before your workout.
2) Go by feel for your rest days and instead of hanging on the couch, choose some active recovery.
Want more of the juicy details on these tips for how and why? Well, a recent study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that people who were on a treadmill for 36 minutes, who ate breakfast beforehand, burned fat at a significantly higher rate for as long as 24 hours compared with those who ate post-workout, even though both groups consumed the same total calories per day. Also, a recent report in the Strength and Conditioning Journal proved you won't be able to go as intensely or burn as many calories, and you'll also lose more muscle if you workout without pre-fueling. What's the best thing to eat pre-workout? Try these 150 calorie or so ideas: A banana with about a half to whole tablespoon of peanut or almond butter or a half a cup of yogurt with a quarter cup of granola.
Finally, rest really is important. Our muscles re-build, we replenish our energy reserves, build bone mass, and restore connective tissue during our rest days. A recent study out of Brazil showed that beginners who completed four sets of 10 reps of bicep curls needed over 3 days of rest to recover. When you overwork a muscle that is not fully recovered you could be compromising your results and risk injuring yourself. However, it is still important to keep moving even on recovery days. Choose something low key like lower intensity walking, cycling, swimming or a dance class. Research from the National Cancer Institute discovered that even for those who work up a sweat on a regular basis, the longer they sit around, the higher their risk for an earlier death. Plus, the added bonus is you will burn more calories and elevate your mood. What better way to make the most of our "busy" lives!