About a month ago, I joined a new gym and signed up for my very first personal training session. I hadn’t really done any exercise for 3 months, but I breezed into the session thinking it’d be a ‘getting to know you’ kinda thing – a brisk run on the treadmill followed by 20 squats and something with a kettlebell, maybe.
I was wrong.
An hour later I was standing at the top of the stairs outside the gym, wondering if it’d be easier to throw myself down them rather than use my completely useless jelly legs. I spent 20 minutes sitting in the changing room, convincing myself I didn’t need to vomit. It took me 45 minutes to walk the usual 10 back to my studio. I was broken.
It didn’t deter me, though (although that second session took a real Rocky-style pep talk) – I’m 4 sessions in now, and my PT and I understand each other. He’s great at pushing me without making me feel like I want to die, and I already feel stronger and fitter. He also gives me excellent nutrition advice, which is never linked to weight loss because I’ve told him I’m interested in strengthening, not shrinking. And one of the main things he tells me is that carbs are hugely important in a healthy diet, especially if you’re exercising.
When I was invited to take part in the New York Bakery Co’s #BuildUpBagel campaign, I thought it’d be a great chance for some carb-loving. Because who doesn’t love carbs? Whether you’re exercising or not, losing weight or not, carbs are really important to a healthy diet and you shouldn’t cut them out, ever.
I’m generally not a fan of ~healthy living gurus~ (my Deliciously Ella cookbook is now used to keep my bin lid closed…), but #BuildUpBagel is fronted by ‘The Body Coach’ aka Joe Wicks, and his advice is really spot on. I hate that so much ‘healthy lifestyle’ advice is wrapped up in weight loss language, but Joe’s tips include ‘step off the scales’, ‘ditch the fad diets’ and ‘listen to your body’, all of which are really inclusive, encouraging ways to get fitter.
So, back to the carbs. My PT sessions are at 10am on Wednesdays, so after a swim and a shower I come out of the gym at 12pm, ravenous and ready to refuel. My trainer has given me a good basis for creating my post-workout meals – protein to rebuild, healthy fats to strengthen and carbs to energise. With that formula in mind, I created two Build Up Bagels to get me going again after a tough session.
Turkey, avocado and tomato
For this recipe, I toast a plain bagel, smash some avocado with salt, pepper and a little lemon, slice some tomato and stack it all up with turkey on the top. The turkey provides a protein boost while the avocado brings those healthy fats, and the tomato ensures it’s all really fresh and delicious.
Peanut butter, banana and maple syrup
After a tough time in the gym, I often crave a sugar hit to get me going again. This is a great healthy (ish) version that gives me the boost without the refined rubbish. For this recipe, I toast a Cinnamon and Raisin bagel then spread with peanut butter (I love this one with sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds), top with sliced banana and drizzle with pure maple syrup.
I like mixing up my post-work out meals, so the #BuildUpBagel campaign is a great source of inspiration. And anything that helps stop the demonisation of carbs is fine by me!
What do you eat after exercise?