Reflections at the end of the Les Mills 8 Week Challenge

You’ve made it to week 8 of the challenge. You should be proud of all you have achieved and the new habits you’ve created. The key thing with any challenge is to continue applying the positive changes to your lifestyle, and keep that healthy momentum going. So what have we learnt these last 8 weeks, that we can continue to apply to our lifestyle? 

Fresh Start Fit Dinners

We see Fresh Start Fit as a sustainable dinner option to supplement a healthy lifestyle. When food tastes and makes us feel this good, it’s no wonder we can continue to eat this way. Fresh Start Fit builds plates with veggies at the focus, with lots of variety and density of this. We use tasty, unrefined carbs for energy, such as kumara or whole grains, and look to both lean high quality meat cuts as well as plant based sources for our protein needs, and top things off with a dash of healthy fats, from the likes of nuts and seeds, and plenty of flavour of course.  

The importance of pre & post workout nutrition

What we eat before and after a workout plays a role in how effective our workout can be. Eating too big of a meal too close to a workout can hinder our performance during our workout, whilst not having enough energy on board will do the same. For this reason, planning our larger meals to be a good 3+ hours before any workout can help digestion from getting in the way of our exercise.
We also need to ensure we refuel our bodies after a workout, with nutrient dense, protein rich foods. This means our muscle cells are equipped with all the tools they need to replenish, repair and rebuild stronger.

 

Protein sources

We’ve learnt that it’s not just meat or protein powder that can deliver our protein hit. Plants are one of the healthiest ways we can increase our protein intake to supplement a healthy diet. This is as we can look to use plants like quinoa, lentils, edamame, chickpeas or beans, just to name a few, to provide both our carbs and additional protein to the meal, whilst delivering a range of vitamins and minerals as well. Nuts and seeds are other sources of protein, that add both healthy fats and additional protein to a meal. 

Importance of sleep & recovery
Adequate amounts of restful sleep and physical recovery are key ingredients for achieving fitness goals and seeing physical adaptations and performance enhancements. Our physical body requires sleep to reset, rejuvenate and replenish glycogen stores (the energy stored in our muscles), and it’s a key time for muscle repair. Current evidence suggests that 8 hours of sleep supports overall wellbeing in a semi-active lifestyle, with 9-10 hours being suggested for athletes. Rest days are just as important as training sessions. Rest days give our muscles time to repair and strengthen, and flush out any inflammation and waste matter from oxidation that builds up in our muscles. It’s during recovery that our bodies’ fitness adaptations occur. 

Nutrient dense foods

We want to focus on fuelling our bodies with nutrient-dense foods so that all the necessary nutrients are available to repair and regenerate our cells, as well as delivering key nutrients that have reducing effects on the inflammation and oxidation that occurs from exercise. These are foods that have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory action. Veggies and fruits are top sources of antioxidants, where typically the deeper the colour of veggie, the richer the antioxidant content. Some foods have an effect on the level of inflammation in our bodies, with some foods contributing the the inflammatory load, like trans fats, saturated fats or some food additives, whilst other foods can provide positive anti-inflammatory action, such as salmon and fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp and chia seeds. Keeping pro-inflammatory foods to a minimum, whilst looking to eat foods that have anti-inflammatory agents, will give us the best foot forward in our exercise recovery.

 

Click here to find out more about Fresh Start Fit — the easiest way to get healthy, high protein dinners sorted for the week delivered to your door.

Meet the Nutritionist

Emma ‘Edamame’

Our in-house nutritionist Emma ‘Edamame’ was born and bred in mid Canterbury and has the health and wellbeing of Kiwis in mind at all times. As an NZ registered nutritionist (NZ Nutrition Society) with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Auckland, she makes sure we’re all getting our fresh dose of local veggies and our meals are full of nutritious substance – thanks for having our back Em (and our waistlines!). When it comes to New Zealand produce, Emma is a whizz, with fresh berries being her absolute fave. Intrigued to know what food this nutritionist couldn’t live without? Fresh fish and seafood, delivering on both flavour and nourishment. As well as ice cream, especially real fruit ice creams, in the summer time! Life’s all about a tasty balance, right?

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