Fitness is not limited to workouts. In fact, your workout is just the beginning. Proper nutrition and supplementation are key components for a well-rounded fitness plan.
This article not only provides healthy nutritional alternatives, but tips on which foods are best before and after a workout.
Before your workout, your body needs calories. Not just any old calories, not empty calories, but calories that will fuel your workout with energy. After your workout, your muscles need replenishment, so it’s just as important to eat not long after exercise.
The following recipes contain essential nutrients: Protein, fat, and carbohydrates. They are not only delicious and nutritious, these recipes will help you burn fat and gain lean mass. Not to mention, they are filling, easy, and don’t require a lot or prep time.
1. 15-Minute Tex-Mex Chicken Salad
Got 15 minutes? This is a great post-workout meal. It contains Omega-3 oil, protein, potassium, carbohydrates and a host of other nutrients to help replenish those lost during exercise. This Tex-Mex Chicken Salad is courtesy of Registered Dietician Matthew Kadey.
Check out the recipe here: 15-Minute Tex-Mex Chicken Salad, Muscle & Fitness
2. Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink
Think about it. Our bodies lose a lot of water during exercise, leaving us dehydrated. And what’s one of the natural supplements to replace lost electrolytes? Coconut water.
After a spin class, Crossfit, or HIIT, a Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink is perfect. Chia seeds are full of “good” carbs, mostly fiber, which means your body digests them slowly, keeping your hunger at bay. Bananas contain potassium which helps to curtail muscle cramps. Just blend and go!
Here’s the recipe from the “Minimalist Baker:” Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink
3. Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats
Let’s face it, getting to the gym is hard enough. Who has time to muster up all kinds of ingredients, cook, and consume? Prepare Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats. Full of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates, this filling meal awaits you in the morning.
The antioxidants in the blueberries will help kick up and spit out free radicals that exists in the body, making way for smooth cellular activity. Prep time: Five minutes!
Here you go: Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats
4. Asian Jalapeno Chicken
Boost your metabolism! Spicy foods are great for speeding up your metabolism. They contain the almighty chemical, capsaicin, which will shift your body – and weight loss – into high gear!
If you can take the heat, get this perfect combination of protein and spiciness here: Damn Delicious Asian Jalapeno Chicken
5. Fat-Burning Chef Salad
Getting lean can require a lot of discipline for some people, but when you eat tasty foods, like eggs, smoked turkey, and an abundance of greens, your goal is more attainable.
Certain foods have fat-burning properties, such as turkey breast, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, onion, raw vegetables, and many others. Whether you’re getting in shape for a wedding or the beach, this salad will get you ready!
Check out the recipe here: Fat-Burning Chef Salad
6. High-Protein Chicken Meatballs
Protein shakes aren’t the only way to put on mass. It’s always preferable to consume real food as the body digests these more efficiently.
High-protein meals are best for gaining muscle mass, so if you want to get buffed or toned, a combination of protein, complex carbs, and heavy weight-training will get you there. Get the recipe, then get to the gym!
Here’s the recipe: High Protein Chicken Meatballs Recipe
7. Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake
If you do, however, enjoy the convenience of a protein shake, make your own.
While it’s tempting to grab a protein bar or ready-to-drink protein shake, these usually contain ingredients which classify them as inflammatory foods. Unless you want to be bloated, steer clear.
This Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake has a whopping 58 grams of protein, it’s a powerful source of fuel for athletes, and it tastes incredible!
Here’s the recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake Recipe
8. The Best Protein Brownies
Not a quick recipe but worth the wait, these melt-in-your-mouth brownies provide just the right amount of protein and “good carbs,” not to mention decadent dark chocolate.
So, if you’re the type who skips dessert due to guilt, you can enjoy these brownies with a clear conscience. Don’t forget to complement them with a nice cold glass of unsweetened almond milk.
For The Best Protein Brownies, go here: The Best Protein Brownies
9. Trainer Terri’s Light ‘N Healthy Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice
Yours truly loves Chinese Fried Rice so I came up with a way to remove all of the oily fats and sodium that are typical of this dish while maintaining the flavor. It’s packed with vegetables and healthy carbs, so if you need a little energy before your workout.
Try my recipe here: Light ‘n Healthy Chinese Fried Rice
10. Stuffed Bell Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables
Vitamins A and C are your friends when it comes to maintaining healthy immune system, and bell peppers contain them both.
This recipe for stuffed bell peppers is the complete package, with protein, vitamins, metabolism-boosters, Omega-3 oil, antioxidants, and potassium.
Check it out here: Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables
11. Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples
Not getting enough fiber in your diet? If you’re irregular or you often feel hungry, it could be that your body isn’t getting enough of this much-needed nutrient.
Soluble fiber, like oats, beans, barley, and even Brussel sprouts digest slowly which keep you from feeling hungry. You are sure to cut back on grazing throughout your day when you incorporate more fiber into your diet. Happy eating!
Here’s the recipe: Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples
12. Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad
Big on carbs? Try this wonderful medley of green peas, pasta shells, and rotisserie chicken and you’ll be in carbohydrate heaven.
Loaded with B vitamins, the green peas will serve as good source of energy. This recipe yields four servings so you’ll have plenty left over for your lunchtime meal at work.
Here’s the recipe: Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad
13. No-Cook Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Not in the mood for carbs? Try these low-carb chicken lettuce wraps that have fewer than 8 grams of carbohydrates.
With minimal prep, this meal is great when you don’t feel like cooking. Kids will be so focused on the chicken they’ll forget that it is wrapped in a vegetable.
Get the recipe here: No-Cook Chicken Lettuce Wraps
14. Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup
In the winter months, instead of seeking out a good soup at a restaurant, you can have soup du jour in your own home!
Rather than use drugs, like Ibuprofen, turmeric is a natural source of relief to alleviate inflammation in joints and muscles. This anti-inflammatory-detox soup is perfect when snuggling under a blanket while watching a movie.
Get the recipe here: Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup
15. Almond Snowballs
The holidays just aren’t the same without cookies. These Almond Snowballs are yummy as an after-dinner dessert or to share at office holiday parties, or even as a reward after your workout.
This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, a refined carbohydrate, and sugar, both of which have a high glycemic index, causing your blood sugar to spike. These ingredients can be substituted with almond flour which is high in healthy fats and fiber, and Stevia, a sweetener that has zero calories and is plant-based.
Get Rachael Ray’s recipe: Almond Snowballs
16. Avo-Tahini Toast
Avocado toast has become a healthy trend that is now popularly-featured on restaurant menus.
It only takes four minutes to prepare, unless you add the boiled eggs, which could take another ten minutes but will add protein to this toasty treat.
The Omega-3 fat from the avocado and the fiber from the whole grain bread will leave you satisfied and full. A great pre-workout meal!
Get the recipe here: Avo-Tahini Toast
17. Salmon Salad Sandwich
You’ll look at a fish sandwich differently with this 15-minute meal. Perfect for lunch, this high-protein, high-fiber, Omega-3-rich Salmon Salad sandwich serves four, which is great for a small luncheon with friends.
You can even serve them as hors d’oeuvres for a dinner party by cutting the sandwiches into fourths and pin them together with toothpicks.
Get the recipe here: Salmon Salad Sandwich
It is important to consume the aforementioned nutrient-based meals 45 minutes to an hour, both before and after your workout. If not, your body will use muscle for fuel instead of nutrients and, ultimately, you will lose lean muscle mass and become flabby.
There is also the risk of getting light-headed and fainting due to low blood sugar as well as poor brain function, nausea, and, of course, you won’t achieve optimal exercise performance.
Featured photo credit: Christian Kaindl via unsplash.com
Livestrong: What Happens if I Workout Without Eating?
Consider Yourself Successful but Still Feel like Something’s Missing in Life?
This FREE Test Will Help You Fill the Void.
YES, Send me my FREE Test
8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life
How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward
What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships
MORE BY THIS AUTHOR
Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Specialist
17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious
Try These Flexibility Stretches to Enhance Your Daily Workout
The Best Fitness Plan for You Based on Your Body Type
7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance
TRENDING IN PHYSICAL STRENGTH
117 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious
2How to Prevent Neck Pain from Sleeping (And Quick Fixes to Help You)
3Do Essential Oils for Weight Loss Actually Work?
43 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation
5Understanding Intermittent Fasting Benefits: More Than Just Weight Loss
How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence
The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career
7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone
This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need
HEALTH PROBLEM & DISORDER
Last Updated on January 17, 2019
8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life
Dr. Luis C. Almeida
An Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Lee University who has advised over a thousand students with questions relating to mental strengths. Read full profile
In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.
Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.
Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?
8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing
The Bottom Line
More Resources About Mindfulness
Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?
Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological
The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.
There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about. Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.
How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.
According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.
Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug
Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation. Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.
The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.
We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.
The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!
Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.
8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing
There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there. In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.
Are you ready for it? Let’s go!
1. Pray Daily
You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.
When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.
Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.
Pray. You won’t regret it.
2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts
A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.
By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.
Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.
If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.
This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:
How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed
3. Smile Often
Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.
Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.
Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.
The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.
4. Organize Your Working Desk
A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.
When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.
Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.
Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.
5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories
I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.
Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!
What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.
6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner
God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.
I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.
I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.
7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology
You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.
How do you do that? This is my formula:
First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.
If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.
If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.
If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.
Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?
8. Go Exercise
Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.
The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.
You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:
12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know
The Bottom Line
It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.
It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.
Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.