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Wellness Challenge Feature #3: "The Real Life Approach to Performance Nutrition" with Jana

Hi Stax!

I'm Jana, a fitness enthusiast and lover of all things food, I support my clients to improve their relationship with food, their body, and movement. I am lucky enough to work with an incredibly talented team of registered dietitians who each have specialized areas of practice at Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.

As a retired high-level athlete, I had the chance to experience the impact that nutrition can have on sport performance, body composition, and recovery. I have since completed the Advanced Sport Nutrition Certification through the Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Sports Institute. As my career progressed, I further specialized to bring a fun and balanced approach to nutrition. I work mainly with athletes, recovering dieters, mental health clients and individuals struggling with eating disorders.

I am currently working towards my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology to further my abilities to support my clients using a whole person approach.

My philosophy: Supporting athletes and exercise enthusiasts to use nutrition as their competitive edge while maintaining a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and the body.

I believe that the healthiest life is one that can honestly enjoy!

So let's dive into performance nutrition!

Performance nutrition, or sports nutrition, refers to how we use food to fuel ourselves towards our fitness related goals.

However, contrary to popular belief, it really does'nt have to be that hard and

there is no "perfect" way to do it!

The real life approach to performance nutrition means finding what makes you feel your best and works for you.

Here are the key elements that are essential for peak performance:

1. Your Everyday Fuelling

Before changing nutrition patterns around your workouts, make sure you are eat a balanced diet (including protein, carbohydrates, fats, and lots of colourful foods) throughout the day ensuring you eat enough to keep your energy up. Also, please remember to eat foods you enjoy. There is so much more to food than simply fuelling. All foods have a place in your life and should be something we enjoy, not dread!

2. Hydration

Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go (in your car, on your desk, in your workout bag, etc) to ensure you get enough water throughout your day.

Don't get me wrong, I encourage enjoying your coffee, tea, wine, or cocktail of choice moderately, but let's ensure the water is happening too! If you are dehydrated before you even start your workout, you will not perform your best or get the same benefits from all that hard work.

3. Pre-Workout Nutrition

Everyone is totally different with this one, so by all means, if what you are doing already feels like it is working, then keep doing it!

If you are struggling with energy during your workouts then let's talk.

Depending on the timing of your exercise, you may be having a full meal or an intentional snack to support your energy needs. If you are having a full meal before your exercise, you will want to eat about 2-4 hours beforehand to allow enough time for digestion and energy production. This meal should include an easily digestible protein, a substantial source of carbohydrate, lower fats, and lower fibre. This helps support faster digestion as fibre and fats are slower to digest. Fat and fibre are essential to an overall healthy diet so they should not be limited outside of your pre and post workout fuelling.

Here are some meal ideas that I find work great before (2-4 hours) workouts:

- Cooked rice, soya sauce, miso-glazed cod, and green peas

- Bagel with 2 scrambled eggs, a little shredded cheese, and an orange

- Tuna melt with roasted veggies

- Quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes, hummus, beets, guacamole, shredded carrots & chicken

If you are exercising after work or more than 4 hours after your last meal, you may need a substantial snack including carbohydrates for energy. Here are some of my faves:

- Crackers and hummus

- Apple and nut butter

- Homemade granola bar or energy balls

- Half a sandwich

If you are a hungry all the time person like me, you might want a little top up of energy right before your movement of choice! Make sure to choose a simple energy snack you actually like! Here are some of my faves:

- Fruit or dried fruit

- Crackers such as graham crackers or arrowroot crackers

- Fruit snacks or jujubes (my personal favs)

4. Post-Workout Recovery

Intentional recovery is essential to performance improvements and ensuring adequate energy for movement next time!

The keys to good recovery after a high intensity workout include:

- Timing - Ideally, you do want to consume your post workout refuel as soon as possible after the workout. Especially if your goal is strength increase or muscle gain, shoot for within 30 minutes after your workout.

- Include a protein source - Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder, meat, fish, eggs, beans, legumes... whatever works for you!

- Don't be scared of Carbs - Replenishing your muscles with carbohydrates supports better energy, less muscle fatigue, and you will head into your next activity feeling more recovered and ready to go.

- Hydration - It's back again! Re-hydrate with water after your workout, even if you drank water during your workout.

If you want to know more specifics about your ideal recovery meal or snack, check out :

And remember...even if you are working towards changes in your body composition, you do not want to skimp on the recovery meal!

If you are looking for more nutrion information, check out these links from the blog posts on the Health Stand Nutrition website.

Back to the Basics of Sport Nutrition :

Three tips for Improving Your Body Confidence

Fuelling Ideas for Outdoor Activities

Thanks so much for following along, if you're interested in connecting further, my contact info is below!


Jana Spindler, BSc RD

Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Counsellor


Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.

Phone: (403) 262-3466

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