Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Latest Craving {energy}

In early 2003, I put away all my coaching items; and exited the gym one last time. I'd spent 16 years in the world of gymnastics- 10 as a gymnast and 6 as a coach. And one of the things I remember thinking was, "I'm actually going to have to intentionally exercise now."

For all those years, exercising was my playtime and then my job. From that last gymnastics class on, my love-hate relationship with exercise began. Aerobic videos, strength training, Pilates, running, or pretending that chasing my kids was all the exercise I needed- I felt like I was on a hunt for the workout that didn't feel like drudgery.

In April of this year, my search came to an end. Enter Bikram Yoga. Ninety minutes of an exercise practice that combines strength training, flexibility, and cardiovascular workout done in a room with a heat of 105° and a 40% humidity (the heat helps you sweat off toxins and helps your body do the practice)- yeah, baby! After the first class, I was in love. I was thrilled to find that lost feeling of actually looking forward to my workouts. And won't even bore you with my ravings about how it's taken away all the pain from old gymnastics injuries, how it makes my body feel younger, or how I no longer have to be on my daily asthma can ask me in person if you really want to hear about all of that.

Because the point of this post isn't about what exercise you or I personally enjoy, it's about my new little energy craving. Like any other exercise, I'm not supposed to have a full stomach when entering the yoga room. I've learned that the hard way, having to excuse myself from class to go make face-to-face friends with the studio's toilet. Okay, TMI. But the dilemma for me personally was how to have enough energy to get through class if I haven't eaten beforehand. So I started thinking about what I could take that was natural, wouldn't fill me up, and would do the job. I thought about how my midwives had me keep honey on hand during labor in case I needed an energy boost. I thought about how chia seeds have long been called "runner's food" for their ability to help provide stamina and endurance. So I knew I wanted those:

And I thought about nuts and seeds which have protein that gives you a more lasting pick-up. So I thought I'd add some nut butter:

I tested my theory a few different times and was thrilled with the results. I hardly had to put anything on my stomach and I could tell the difference in the energy level that I was able to maintain through class. But it doesn't just have to be for yoga. Do you get up early to run or exercise in some other way? I'm not a nutritionist, but I know how these little bad boys have helped me.

Energy Boosters

2 Tbsp. local raw honey
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. your favorite nut/seed butter (I love using sunbutter)

Mix all the ingredients together. Spoon four mounds onto a small plate covered with wax or parchment paper. Eat one or two of them shortly before your next workout.

Now, this isn't recipe you'll be making for your Christmas party, it's definitely got all the potent sweetness of the honey. But give them a shot before your next workout, and tell me if you don't notice an energy difference.

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