Fueling Your Pilates Workout: What to Eat Before and After

What to eat before and after your pilates workout

Committing to your workouts is a big step toward putting yourself on a healthy track, whether your goals are to lose weight, get stronger, improve endurance, reduce stress – or a combination of those things. But what you eat before and after you workout can have a huge impact on how effective your workout will be, and how you will feel (and look) long after you’ve showered (or dry-shampoo’d) and continued on with your day.

I always recommend eating a small but nutritious snack or small meal before your Pilates class. While you may not want to eat immediately before, aim to have some food in your system at least an hour before you work out to fuel your body and mind throughout your Pilates class.

Aim to combine a healthy carbohydrate with some protein for optimum fuel.

Some good pre-workout snacks:
-Whole-wheat toast with natural peanut butter (no sugar added) and sliced banana
-Steel cut oatmeal with blueberries and regular or almond milk
-Greek yogurt with sliced fruit or berries and almonds
-Sliced apple with almond butter
-A simple-nutrition bar like Kind bars (look for the ones with the fewest ingredients)
-A piece of fruit (banana, apple, pear) with a handful of nuts

what to eat before pilates
Eat a small but healthy meal or snack to fuel your workout

Post workout, you don’t want to wait too long to refuel and a healthy mix of carbs and protein is key here as well. You may want to eat more of a meal post-Pilates. Also make sure you mix in some healthy fats for energy and metabolic support.

Some great post-workout meal options include:
-Whole-wheat toast with avocado, sea salt & pepper, and an egg
-Brown rice with veggies and lean protein (chicken, fish, etc)
-a salad with olive oil and vinegar/lemon juice, with salmon and quinoa
-Turkey on whole wheat with mustard and your favorite veggies (and yes one slice of cheese is ok)

What to eat before and after your pilates workout
Eat a good mix of healthy carbs, protein and fats.

Also remember to hydrate before, during, and after your workout and throughout the day. Water, water and more water! Not a fan of water on its own? Try slicing up some oranges or strawberries and put it in a pitcher of water for a fresh, spa-like treat that you’ll guzzle down all day.

And of course these tips can be used for any pre and post workout – not just Pilates!

Remember to fuel your body and your body will reward you with more energy for your workouts and throughout the day. And good nutrition can lead to a better mood, glowing skin, and of course, a trim and healthy physique!


What to Look For in A Pilates Instructor

Tampa Pilates Instructor Deecembra Diamond

As a Pilates instructor and fitness professional, I like to attend other instructors’ classes from time to time to learn new techniques, try new equipment, and get my own good workout in.  I attended one such class last week, and while I don’t want to call out the specific studio, let’s just say it was a good lesson in how NOT to teach a Pilates class. It also prompted me to want to put together a list of some of the things a good Pilates (and in most cases, any specialty fitness class) instructor will do, so my clients and potential clients and even just the general public can spot the good studios, as well as the not-so-good, a little more easily:

1. A good Pilates instructor wants to know about your body.
The very first thing I will ask a new client is, do you have any injuries, or any problem areas? Pilates can not only be safe for many different fitness levels, but it can actually help you heal or strengthen injured or weak areas IF your Pilates instructor knows what you are working with.

A good Pilates instructor will also ask about your other forms of exercise, how often you exercise…even what you do for work! All of these factors can contribute to how your body will respond to certain Pilates moves, and this knowledge can be used by a good trainer to tailor the best workout to your body.

Tampa Pilates instructor Deecembra Diamond

2.  A good Pilates instructor customizes each workout to each client.
Whether there are 2 people in my Tampa Pilates classes, or 6, I make sure that each person is doing what is right for their body and fitness level. This might mean lighter or heavier springs, movement variations, fewer or more reps, or different exercises altogether. The beauty of Pilates is that it can (and should) be customized to help you get the most out of your body, without causing injury.  What is right for one person might be completely wrong for another (this also goes back to knowing your clients’ histories and bodies).

If your Pilates instructor is not tailoring your workouts to you, speak up. And if you take any fitness class where there are too many people in the class for the instructor to manage, leave.

3. A good Pilates instructor asks about your goals, and helps you reach them. Maybe you want to gain better flexibility; or maybe you’re looking for better lengthened definition in your muscles; or maybe you have always had a “pancake butt” and want to trade it for a cute little round one. Whatever your fitness goals are, a good Pilates trainer should ask you.  And then they should help you work to achieve those goals. But if they never bother to ask, or you don’t speak up and tell them, you probably won’t get the results you want from your workout.

How to Stick to that New Years Fitness Resolution

So it’s a new year, and you’ve vowed to make fitness a priority. To lose weight, tone up, exercise daily, drop a jeans size, make the ex jealous, have more energy, and shop for smaller bikinis. You will stick with it past February. For real this time!

Sound familiar? Resolutions are easy to make and unfortunately, also easy to break if you don’t set yourself up for success. If you’ve made a fitness resolution this year, good for you! Here are some ways to you can make sure that you keep it up and not only reach your goals, but change your habits so that your resolution becomes your new way of living:

1. Schedule it in.
Has your biggest obstacle (ahem, excuse) for not working out as much as you should always come down to time? I get it, you’re busy. And there is always going to be something you could be doing instead of working out, whether it’s finishing up that project at work, grocery shopping, shuttling kids around, or just sleeping in a little bit longer. That’s why you need to set your workouts in stone. Put them in your schedule at least a week in advance and view that time as non-negotiable. Set the alert on your phone, put it in your planner – whatever you do to schedule the other “non-negotiable” plans in your day (important meetings, pickup times, appointments), do that with your workouts too.

2. Use the buddy system.
Make a pact with a friend to workout together. Schedule (see above) classes, runs, or gym sessions together. Find someone who you want to spend a little extra time with and who shares your goals. This will help make things more enjoyable – you get to see your friend, sister or spouse for a little extra time in the day. And it also gives you (and your buddy) some accountability. You’ll be way less likely to hit the snooze button and miss your morning workout if you have someone meeting you at the gym or picking you up for your Pilates class.

3. Set realistic milestones, and reward yourself for meeting them.
If your goal is to lose 15 lbs, reward yourself when you lose the first 5, and then again at 10. The reward can be anything from a spa day to a new outfit to show off your progress. Figure out what you’ll reward yourself with ahead of time so you know what you’re working toward. Not only do rewards help keep you motivated, but they also help you celebrate your progress which can make the process of achieving your goals fun! If something is fun, you’re way more likely to keep it up.

Do you have any tricks you use to keep yourself motivated? Want to share your 2014 fitness resolutions? We’d love to hear about it!