One key to Pilates success is balance: achieving stability between the effort your body puts out and what your body takes in. To achieve full advantage of Pilates, thoughtfully consider what, when, and how you consume nutrition. While there’s no special diet for a successful workout, there are some things to consider as you incorporate the Pilates approach to life.
Timing Your Meal Before Your Pilates Class
It’s important to think about what you eat before you enter into a Pilates session. The balance you’re looking for is having the energy to invest in the time for exercise, but not feeling bloated or full while you are working or focusing on your movement.
If you need a meal before a Pilates session, be sure to complete it one to two hours ahead of your scheduled workout time. Any closer to your Pilates session and your body will struggle between digesting your meal adequately and providing your body support to exercise. Prefer a snack before a Pilates workout? Eat something 30-45 minutes before a session to get a boost of energy and not be distracted by hunger.
Enjoy Your Food Just Like You Enjoy Your Pilates Workouts!
Aim to achieve balance in what you eat. The focus isn’t to count calories or undertake an extreme diet change; it’s about applying the Pilates philosophy to your meals and encouraging a healthy relationship and enjoyment of food!
Try to get an equal mix of calories from protein, vegetables, fat, and carbohydrates. It’s also important to eat only when hungry and to stop when feeling satisfied. Enjoy a meal each morning, eat every few hours at regular intervals, and aim for unprocessed foods whenever possible. Select foods that don’t include artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives and try to avoid full-fat, canned foods, and prepackaged meals.
After your Pilates session aim for a snack of low fat yogurt, apples or oranges or a meal that includes chicken, fish, and beans to recharge and rebuild your muscles plus achieve sustained energy for the remainder of the day.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Staying well hydrated is truly a key to wellness success. Dehydration is much more common than you may realize and can be caused by travel, exertion, stress, alcohol, caffeine and many more factors. The symptoms of dehydration are rough and include low energy, muscle cramps, hunger cravings, aches and pains, headaches, and general brain fog.
Make a deliberate decision to stay hydrated. Consider drinking half your bodyweight in ounces each day (so if you weigh 150 pounds, you would aim to drink 75 ounces, or approximately 9 cups of water each day). To make it easier to get into the habit, drink water as soon as you get up in the morning, with breakfast and throughout the morning, with lunch and during the afternoon, and with dinner.
Carry a good, quality water bottle with you to your Pilates session and wherever you go. Consider adding an electrolyte tablet or supplement if you are working out hard to ensure your body can retain all the goodness it needs.
Stop and Taste Your Food
As with your thoughtful approach to Pilates, slow down and savor your meals. Be mindful of what you’re eating and think about the many muscles and organs that are working to make it possible for you to enjoy the tastes and textures. Taking your time and savoring your meal not only makes it more enjoyable but also can help you avoid overeating.
Invariably, life gets full and busy. If you find yourself rushing a meal or cramming in something to eat, it’s a good sign you need to take the time to sit down and properly refuel your body. Whether it is a pre-planned dinner with a glass of red wine or a simple sandwich with water, being mindful and grateful for food and hydration is an important part of well being.
Get the most out of your Pilates session by taking in nutrition with balance, appreciation, and gratitude. You – and your body – will be glad you did!