Do you ever have those days where it feels like you’re just not on your A-game in the studio? Perhaps you’re feeling like something is off in your practice, especially when it comes to your core. Well, perhaps it’s time you started to shift your attention elsewhere for solutions.
We know that there’s a strong link between nutrition and physical performance in sport, and that’s no different when it comes to Pilates. So, read on for a few nutritional tweaks to consider for your practice.
Look at what you eat BEFORE Pilates – Eating the wrong foods before Pilates can leave you bloated, making it challenging and sometimes uncomfortable and difficult to engage your powerhouse. Although food intolerance is down to every individual, there are a few common food types that can cause irritation, bloating and even gas. Plant-based foods such as grains and beans are known to cause bloating, as well as dairy products, foods high in sugar and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Take some time to find out what works for you (and what doesn’t) so you can be mindful of your meals next time.
Eat slowly – As a Pilates student you’re probably no stranger to mindfulness, and we’d encourage everybody to take this mind-set to the dinner table. Just like most Pilates exercises start by aligning yourself and engaging the right muscles, as digestion is best performed in sequence. Break down your food slowly – taking your time to chew before swallowing. If you don’t chew your food properly, your digestive system won’t be able to break it down. Undigested food takes more space in your stomach than digested food and creates bloating, thus slowing down the entire digestive process. So if you find yourself frantically scoffing sugary energy bars before class, it’s a sign you need to take a break, sit down, and properly refuel.
Recover and refuel – Once you’ve finished your workout, even if you’re not hungry, it’s important to replenish the energy you have just burned. If your goal is weight loss, then a nutrient rich meal within 1 hour of your workout is essential as the meal will be more efficiently digested. If your goal is to improve strength, then protein is key. Either way, your food choices post-pilates should aim to repair your tired muscles and replenish your energy stores. For a hit of protein and some low GI carbohydrates try a small bowl of Greek yoghurt with a couple of spoons of natural muesli containing nuts and fruit. Or if you’re after something savoury, a small can of tuna, mixed bean salad and some chopped veggies can do just the trick.