Fueling Your Strength Training Workout

Not only is what you eat important, but when you eat it is crucial—especially as an athlete. Eating the correct foods at the appropriate time before, during and after a workout will not only properly nourish and fuel you—you may also see gains in your performance. Fueling for strength training is slightly different than fueling for cardio-based workouts. Here are a few tips to follow in order to get the most out of your workout.

1 to 2 Hours Pre-Workout

To keep you from feeling hungry before a workout, without stomach discomfort, choose a mini-meal or snack that combines healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein.  Depending on your personal goals and needs, the amount of food required is unique to you. An example of such meal could be an amaranth porridge sprinkled with almond milk, nuts and seeds.

30 Minutes Pre-Workout

Your focus should be on simple carbohydrates right before your workout. Select foods that provide quick energy and are easily digested. Fruit is a perfect example of this, as a light, easily digestible and quick on-the-go option to consume while on the way to the gym. For easy pre-workout fuel try filling a date with coconut oil for a delicious and efficient pre-workout snack! Or for an energy boost on the go, try Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer.

During Your Workout

During your strength-training routine, the essential components to focus on are quick energy and electrolytes. If you are training less than an hour, you can stick to electrolytes as your focus. If your workouts are longer than 45 minutes to an hour, you may want to consume easily digestible carbohydrates. Most athletes find it easier to drink than to eat during a workout, so seek out carbohydrates in a gel or drink format. You can blend up fruit and dates to make a gel, or make a fresh fruit juice for a steady burst of energy. Vega Sport Endurance Gel was created for this purpose.

No matter the length of your workout, electrolytes are essential. As you sweat you lose minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride with water. When choosing an electrolyte replacement look for one without artificial colors, flavors or fillers, such as Electrolyte Hydrator.

Immediately Post-Workout

One of the biggest mistakes I see in action at the gym is people rushing to have their post-workout protein drink, thinking that it is the one-and-only essential macronutrient needed in order to build muscle. This is simply a myth.

Post-workout, your focus is to replenish lost glycogen stores in order for protein synthesis to occur. Simply put, you must consume simple carbohydrates first, then protein later, in order for muscle building and strengthening to occur.  Consuming a post-workout carbohydrate based drink is highly recommended due to the ease of digestibility and assimilation—less work on your body! To replenish your muscle glycogen fastest, consume a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Recovery Accelerator takes the guessing out of your post-workout meal, in a delicious drink that provides recovery support.

1 to 3 Hours Post-Workout 

A high protein meal is needed several hours post-workout—not directly after—as many assume. Some plant-based protein sources include clean plant-based protein power, such as quinoa, beans, lentils nuts and seeds. If you are having a post-workout meal, include dark leafy greens for added vitamin and antioxidant support. Fueling your body on a clean, plant-based diet is the key to forming strong muscles and supporting long-term health. Follow these essential tips while working out, to see and feel the difference in your workout—and in achieving results!

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Breakthrough Health and Fitness Plateaus

Have you been eating healthy and working out hard, yet find yourself stuck at a certain number on the scale or fitness level and cannot understand why? You may have hit a plateau. Here are a few effective things you can do to get out of it and reach that health and fitness goal you’re striving for!

Calories Count!

Don’t get me wrong, I am the last person to count calories, but they do come into handy when trying to break a plateau or lose the last 5 to 10 pounds. Even when eating a healthy, whole, plant-based diet, you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Pay attention to the types of calories you are eating. Fats can be a calorie culprit. 138 calories for a tablespoon of oil can easily add up. While it’s not healthy to cut out all fats (fat is essential for brain development, healthy skin and reducing inflammation), keep your eye on exactly how much you are consuming on a daily basis. Try consuming more plant-based fats, like nuts, seeds and avocados, which are more filling than other oils, and focus on eating mindfully.



You’re at the gym, day in and day out. Working harder than ever—yet you still can’t seem to lose weight. While there can be many factors at play, there are two main points to consider. First, are you taking breaks? If you’re over-training and not giving yourself active rests, your body may be producing too much cortisol (stress hormone) which will stop weight loss and strength gains in their tracks. Take breaks and switch up your routine. Try switching up your workout by trying new machines and repetitions, or attempt to do a functional workout like squats, push-ups and plank using your own body weight. If you need inspiration, find a good personal trainer to help you get more creative.


Getting enough rest and time to recover is essential when losing weight and breaking plateaus. Not getting quality sleep may lead to an increase of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain.

  1. Get into a healthy sleep routine. Using an eye mask or earplugs may come in handy if you live in a noisy area. 7 to 8 hours is an ideal range of sleep, depending on your own body chemistry.
  2. Hitting the sheets 10:30 p.m. or earlier, if possible, will allow your body to reach its natural delta-phase, which is deep, quality rest. You will feel more energetic and uplifted the following day—I promise!

Overall, it’s evident that breaking a plateau and reaching your goals takes planning and effort. Identifying which area of your routine may need a little more focus and planning is crucial. The combination of sleep, proper food intake and mixing up your exercise routine will allow you to bust through your plateau, reach your goal and thrive! Share your experiences below (before and after using these tips) and identify which element you found helped you best!

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  1. Kondracki NL. (2012). The Link Between Sleep and Weight Gain — Research Shows Poor Sleep Quality Raises Obesity and Chronic Disease RiskToday’s Dietitian 14 (6); 48.Accessed 8/20/13 from
  2. National Sleep Foundation (2013). How much sleep do adults need? Accessed 8/20/13 from

The Benefits of Outdoor Workouts

Are you ready to be the best version of you? Whether you’re a fitness guru, or a fresh face to world of health and movement, this column is your new home (gym). You can expect articles, photos and videos on sports nutrition, optimal weight and energy! As a certified nutritional practitioner and personal trainer who has worked with professional athletes, Olympians and celebrities, I’m ready to share my unique approach to health and fitness to help you thrive.

Summer is definitely my favorite time of year. A mixture of warmth and sunlight makes me want to spend every moment I can outdoors. Being able do outdoor workouts during the warmer months in Toronto definitely has its advantages, other than getting a nice glow!

Recently I took my regular cycling routine and turned it into a weekend endurance ride where I spend anywhere from 1 to 4 hours cycling. This has become very therapeutic for me in many ways, both riding in a group and riding alone.

Here are my top reasons to train outside, and a quick workout routine you can do anywhere!

outdoor workout

1. Fresh air

I truly believe and have experienced myself, that training outdoors and taking in fresh oxygen allows my body to train more efficiently. I find a huge difference in my energy levels when I work out outside (especially surrounded by trees) versus training in an air conditioned or heated gym. You can take advantage of fresh air and training outside by playing going to a park, lake or ocean and walk, jog, Frisbee or volleyball. The options are limitless! Be creative and find a friend, family member or partner and discover a type of movement you enjoy outdoors!

2. Group workouts

One thing I have recently seen pop-up in many communities is outdoor group workouts. I find that meeting a group to train is extremely motivating and empowering. You know what they say, “you are who you surround yourself with”. If that’s the case, surround yourself with active and healthy people to inspire you to be even better. 

There are endless opportunities to get outside and sweat for all levels. Look for group workouts in your city: outdoor yoga, park bootcamps, baseball, soccer, volleyball and more. Check out your local newspaper, gyms, yoga studios and social amateur athletic clubs.

outdoor workouts

3. Opportunity to DIY

If you’re not into group workouts, or would rather just gather a group of your close friends for a sweat session, use my go-to quick, efficient full-body routine you can do anywhere.

Perform each exercise for 10 to 12 reps all the way through, and repeat 3 to 4 times.

Warm up: Jumping Jacks or jogging (5 minutes)

  1. Squats: Squat down at a 90 degree angle, like you’re sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees do not go over your toes.
  2. Push-ups: Keep your core tight and have your chest graze the floor.
  3. Triceps dips: Using a bench or chair dip down with straight legs, to 90 degree bend in your elbow and push yourself back up to straight arms.
  4. Lunges: (10 per leg) Place your hands on your hips and lunge one leg forward to 90 degrees while your back leg and knee graze the ground.
  5. Burpees: Jump up with your arms reaching for the sky. Transition to hands on the ground, legs and feet back to a plank position. Optional push-up. Tuck legs back in towards elbows and jump back up to the sky!
  6. Plank and side planks: Hold as long as possible.
  7. Ab bicycle: Lying on your back with your hands behind your head, reach your opposite elbow to knee and then switch, for a total of 10-12 reps per side.

Don’t forget to stretch!

It’s time to get out and enjoy the weather, meet new people and switch up your training. I practice what I preach, and have seen positive results from training outdoors and hope to inspire you to do the same.

What’s your favorite activity to do outdoors?

Written by: Jessica Morris

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