The goal while doing this intense program is to eat healthy and fuel the body with the good nutrition it needs to get the best results possible. This means using food as fuel rather than social or emotional. When you are doing this kind of elite program, you CANNOT go low-carb or low-calorie. You should plan to eat healthy, balanced meals and snacks.
1. Eat five small, balanced meals a day; frequent eating is optimal for your metabolism and provides stamina for these intense workouts.
2. Balance meals with 40% protein, 40% carb, and 20% fat, with low glycemic index foods to provide steady energy throughout the day. You can use your myfitnesspal app or other apps to help track this.
3. Avoid additives, overly processed foods, sugar substitutions, and alcohol.
Regardless of the program, I typically recommend a few simple changes to eat healthier. For INSANITY, these changes need to become a habit that will lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Carbohydrates: Carbs are the body's preferred fuel source. The more you exercise, the more you need to take in. If you don't have enough carbs on board during a strenuous workout, you will "bonk", or shut down during the workout and you won't be able to complete the exercise. Avoid "white" carbs such as white potatoes, white rice and white bread because they have a higher glycemic load and can cause an increased insulin response. This is the "sugar rush" many people feel when eating high glycemic foods. Healthy carbs (low-glycemic index foods) that come from whole fruits, whole grains, whole vegetables, and low-fat dairy (I recommend limiting dairy) will provide the body with the constant energy needed to get through the day without the dangerous surges in blood sugar.
Proteins: When engaging in intense exercises like INSANITY, getting enough protein is essential. Protein is the foundation for lean muscle tissue, and adequate protein helps in muscle repair and growth.
The best sources of lean, high-quality protein include:
• Whole eggs and egg whites
• Skinless white-meat poultry
• Fish and seafood
• Low-fat dairy
• Lean red meat
• Lean center-cut pork chops
• Beans and legumes
• Certain veggies
Fats: Fats are as essential as protein and carbohydrates! Avoid too much saturated fat and trans fats, so double-check your food labels.
- Avoid trans fats. This should be listed on the labels.
- Use low-fat dairy in limited amounts.
- Limit fatty cuts of meat.
- Avoid all poultry skin and remove before cooking.
- Choose fish high in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon.
- Switch to healthy cooking oils such as olive oil or coconut oil
- Use all-natural nut butter.
A simple rule of thumb that I find helpful is to find out your BEE, or Basal Energy Expenditure. This is the amount of calories required for your body to just function at rest: heart-pumping, sleeping...just laying there.
Most people burn anywhere from 500-700 calories in a typical 30 minute INSANITY class! For INSANITY days, I recommend following this formula to help make sure you are consuming the right amount of calories. It might seem a lot, but you need to EAT to LOSE in this type of program.
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