Good morning and happy Friday! Today is my flex day, which means I’m off from my full-time job. However, I just know Future Husband is going to “lay down the law” and force me to work on our side business today for several hours. I feel so lazy, but he’s the boss of the business, and I’ve got to listen to him! 🙂 I can’t wait for the business to launch, and once we have everything in order, I’ll tell you all about it! Fitness and health-minded people are going to love it!
It’s still raining (I’m getting sick of saying that), and wind gusts broke my only umbrella last night. This crazy weather makes me crave a nice, warm bowl of oats.
And, last night at the grocery store, I stumbled upon this:
Kashi Pilaf contains the famous “7 Grains on a Mission” (buckwheat, triticale, rye, hard red winter wheat, barley, oats, and long grain brown rice) plus sesame seeds. It looked SO DELICIOUS, I decided it was unfair to relegate it to a side dish at dinner time…. in fact, it seemed like the perfect mix-in for breakfast!
I combined 1/4 cup dry oatmeal with 1/4 cup cooked Kashi Pilaf (I made a bunch last night), 1/2 cup milk, and 1 sliced banana. I cooked everything on low on the stovetop for about 5 minutes, and–viola!–Pilaf Oatmeal!
Topped with some brown sugar and pistachios, Pilaf Oatmeal was amazing! The pilaf gave the oatmeal a yummy, hearty chew. Plus, the 1/4 cup of pilaf adds 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. I heart whole grains!
Water, Water, Everywhere!
Since I’ve got water on the brain, I thought today’s discussion should focus on the importance of hydration.
Water is interesting because it does not provide any calories (and therefore energy), but it is absolutely vital to athletic performance. One reason is that water consumption helps our body maintain our core temperature, preventing us from overheating during exercise. After all, your working, pumping muscles produce a lot of heat. To get rid of this heat, we sweat. Sweating, of course, dehydrates the body, so it’s important to drink a lot of water while exercising, not just before or after.
Another important function of water is that it transports nutrients through your body and it helps remove wastes and toxins. Thus, you could be eating the perfect pre- and post-workout snacks, but if you are dehydrated, your body will have trouble getting the nutrients to the proper places.
Lastly, water helps lubricate the joints and your body tissues, which is super important for all athletes, but especially for runners.
Studies have found that a loss of two or more percent of one’s body weight due to sweating is linked to a drop in blood volume. When this occurs, the heart works harder to move blood through the bloodstream. This can also cause muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and even heat exhaustion or heat stroke (which I’ve had and it is NOT FUN).
It is very important that you don’t wait to drink water until you’re thirsty. Once your brain tells you that you are thirsty, you are already suffering from mild dehydration. Drink before, during, and after your exercise. I’ve mentioned several times that I run with a CamelBak, allowing me to carry 1.5 liters of water with me on each run. A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately 8 ounces of water every 10 minutes of exercise (recommendations vary, but that’s a good starting point).
There are two ways to tell if you aren’t drinking enough water during your workouts:
1) If you pee after your workout and your urine is more yellow than it is clear, you are dehydrated.
2) Weigh yourselves before and after your workout. Ideally, you should weight the same or more after a workout (because you’ve been pumping fluids into your body to replace the fluids you’ve lost through sweat). If you weight less, you need to drink more water (at least 16 ounces of additional fluid intake for every pound lost).
A side note: hyponatremia, also called water intoxication, is generally the result of drinking excessive amounts of plain water, which causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood. The early warning signs are often subtle and may be similar to dehydration and include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion. Water intoxication is only really a concern for extreme endurance events, and here’s some additional information on preventing hyponatremia.
Also, a word on sports drinks: water is zero-calorie. Sports drinks can contain 100-odd calories per 8 ounces. For most people, they do not need to replace lost calories during the average workout. However, sports drinks do replace sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes lost during extreme physical activity; so these nutrients and the extra calories may be beneficial for endurance events (like a marathon).
Well, I’m off to get my day started! Hopefully it will stop raining soon–I’d love to get my run in! Have a nice day!