As we ease our way into 2021, staying strong and healthy is top of mind for many of us. Maintaining mind-body balance, building up our bodies and recharging our inner energy battery feels exactly like what we need to do to move forward.
And who better to turn to for tips than a nutrition coach and personal trainer? I reached out to Brianna Bernard, Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer and Isopure Athlete, for tips on getting fit.
RB: When it comes to fitness, everyone is talking about protein. Why is it so important, what are some of the best ways to get it, and how does it strengthen us and help us work out?
BB: We need to consume protein in order to repair and recover muscle tissues after strength training. Protein also helps us build lean muscle and the more muscle we have, the more fat our bodies will burn–even when we’re resting. It is always best to lead with whole food (chicken breast, salmon, beans, quinoa, etc.) but when that is not available, supplementing with protein powder is a great option. I keep a shaker bottle with one scoop of protein powder in my gym bag at all times.
RB: What are some of the trends you’re seeing for 2021 in Nutrition + Fuel for fitness?
BB: With so many gyms being closed, leaving many with limited access to workout equipment, I’m seeing a major focus on at-home body weight or resistance band and dumbbell workouts. I’ve been helping my clients build out small home gyms on a budget so they can continue to move their bodies, which is especially important with so many working remotely now.
We’re all doing a lot more sitting than we did pre-pandemic, so even adding three 10-minute walks to your day can make a huge difference in your overall health and fitness level.
In addition, I’m seeing a lot more emphasis on nutrition. With restaurants closing or only being available for take-out or delivery, more people are cooking at home. If you have unhealthy food in your home, you or someone you love is going to eat it. But thankfully the opposite is also true—if you keep HEALTHY food in your home, you or someone you love is going to eat that, too. With everyone spending so much time at home these days, we need to be extra mindful about making it really convenient to eat healthy and super inconvenient to eat processed, unhealthy foods.
RB: Dehydration is a big topic now. What to remember in order to stay hydrated and healthy when working out? How much water do you need?
BB: If you are dehydrated, none of your bodily systems can operate at their highest capacity, including your metabolism! Dehydration doesn’t allow our metabolisms to burn fat at their highest capacity, which slows down or altogether stops weight loss. Water deficiency can also cause muscle cramping during exercise and sleep.
The recommended amount of water per day varies by person, depending on things like how much caffeine and alcohol you consume (as both of those substances are dehydrating), how much water you expend during a workout, etc. I drink 100 ounces of water every day: 32 ounces in the morning before I can have my first coffee, 32 ounces of water between lunch and my 1 pm coffee and 32 ounces of water before dinner. Then any water I consume between dinner and bedtime I consider bonus water!
RB: What are some of the newer and more interesting fitness drinks? Can you talk about amino acids, electrolytes, bars–what to look for? Why are they important?
BB: One of my favorite products in the market right now is Isopure Infusions. It’s a protein powder that you mix with water to create a clear, fruit-infused beverage. My favorite flavors are Citrus Lemonade and Mixed Berry. This is a great option when you don’t feel like a creamy chocolate or vanilla-based protein shake, and I love drinking these after a sweaty cycling session.
I also drink amino acids after I lift, as they are truly the building blocks of proteins and help transport nutrients to your tissues, ligaments, muscles and joints. When scoping out the right powders and bars for you, I recommend looking for ones that are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and sugar, and have minimal ingredients. If it has a laundry list of artificial ingredients you can’t pronounce and don’t know what they are, skip it.