Optimize your Training with Nutrition

May 10, 2017

Performance Nutrition Specialist Lee Hyrkas issues a better fuel-up challenge

If you are looking to get the most out of your training, you’ve come to the right place. Proper nutrition is crucial to maximizing your results. I’m challenging you to take a four-week workout nutrition challenge. These challenges will help get you on the right path to building a quality nutrition plan to support your training.

Week 1 Challenge: Eat a high-protein breakfast at least five days this week. A high-protein breakfast can help kick start your body’s ability to recover from training. Include ~20-30 grams of protein (Greek yogurt, eggs, egg whites, string cheese, nut butters, milk, yogurt, etc…) at breakfast.

High-Protein Breakfast Ideas

Sample 1: Breakfast Sandwich
2 eggs scrambled
1 whole grain English muffin
1 slice reduced-fat cheese
Total: ~350 calories, 24 g protein

Sample 2: Homemade Breakfast Wrap
2 hardboiled or scrambled eggs 
1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese
1 whole wheat or sprouted grain wrap
1 medium apple or orange
Total: ~400 calories, 30 g protein

Sample 3: PB&J 
Peanut butter (2 Tbsp.) & jelly (1 Tbsp.) sandwich on sprouted grain bread (2 slices)
10 oz. low-fat milk or Kefir yogurt 
Total: ~550 calories, 23 g protein

Sample 4: Smoothie
1 cup low-fat milk or soy milk
6 oz. Greek yogurt
1-2 cups spinach or kale
1/2 banana (sliced and frozen) 
1 cup strawberries
Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
1 tsp. pure vanilla 
Blend until desired consistency
Total: ~300 calories, 27 g protein

Week 2 Challenge: Enhance your recovery by consuming a meal or snack after your workouts. A combination of protein (lean meats, chicken, Kefir yogurt, eggs, string cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, edamame, etc…) and carbohydrates (sprouted grain breads, fruit, sweet potatoes, beans, brown rice, oatmeal, milk, yogurt, etc…) are ideal. 

Sample Recovery Meals

Sample 1: Cheese & Fruit
1-2 string cheese
1 apple or banana with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter 

Sample 2: Yogurt Parfait 
6-8 oz. Greek yogurt
1 cup berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
1/4 cup low-fat granola

Sample 3: 
1 whole grain mini bagel
2 Tbsp. almond butter or peanut butter
10 oz. low-fat milk or Kefir

Sample 4: Eggs & Toast
2 hard-boiled eggs
1-2 slices sprouted grain toast
1/2 avocado – spread onto toast

Sample 5: Simple Greek Yogurt Shake  
5.3 oz. container fruit flavored Greek yogurt
6-8 oz. low-fat milk or soy milk
Place Greek yogurt and milk into a shaker cup.
Shake until yogurt and milk are thoroughly mixed. Enjoy!

Sample 6: High-Protein Oatmeal
1/2 cup dry oatmeal – cooked in water or milk
1 scoop protein powder – mix into cooked oatmeal
1 banana or apple, sliced – oatmeal topping
1 tsp cinnamon -  oatmeal topping (optional)

Week 3 Challenge: Strive for 2-3 servings of fruit and 2-3 servings of vegetables daily. Fruits, vegetables and beans are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found within these foods appear to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body and may improve recovery from exercise. A serving of fruit is equal to 1 medium piece or 1 cup of diced melon or berries. A serving of vegetables is equal to 2 cups of salad greens, 1 cup raw vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. 

• If you struggle with adding more produce into your meal plan, use some of these simple tips below. 
     o Throw a handful of greens (baby spinach, kale, Swiss chard, etc.) into a morning fruit smoothie, or replace the ice cubes in your smoothie with 3-4 frozen cauliflower florets.
     o Add a salad to your dinner meal nightly.
     o Replace your after-meal sweet with a piece of fruit or cup of berries. For a real treat, place your favorite fruit into a blender with a small amount of milk, almond milk or soy milk. Blend until fruit is the consistency of ice cream or sorbet.
     o Toss beans (black, kidney, pinto, chickpeas, lentils, etc.) into casseroles, soups and salads.
     o Try adding sliced fruit or berries to your breakfast cereal, yogurt or oatmeal.
     o Use fruit flavored yogurt or Kefir as a dip for fresh fruit.

Week 4 Challenge: Aim for roughly 4-6 (16 oz.) bottles of water daily. Consuming an adequate amount of fluid can help rid the body of toxins, maintain a normal body temperature and lubricate joints. Exercise performance can suffer from being under-hydrated. Make water more appealing by infusing it with fruits or herbs, such as lemon wedges, mint or cilantro. Check out Infusedwaters.com for recipes.

Lee Hyrkas is a registered dietitian and performance nutrition specialist at Bellin Health. Lee’s goal is to assist individuals in maximizing their performance and health. To schedule a one-on-one consultation, please contact Lee at Lee.Hyrkas@bellin.org or (920) 430-4728.

Posted in:   |  2 Comments


  • Good tips. Thanks for sharing.

    john    August 3, 2017 at 5:01 am

  • Very healthy diet for your body and brain Smart.

    zack johnson    August 3, 2017 at 5:05 am

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