Pilates Classes tend to be in the evenings to fit in with peoples working lives. But people still struggle, getting home from work, school or all the evenings clubs that our kids go to!! So getting to class and eating before you do can be a challenge.
My clients find they don’t eat till after class which after an 8pm class can be late! Or some even eat beforehand but then struggle in class.
So, what the best thing to do and eat, I caught up with Nutritionist Judy Merrick.
How many hours / minutes before a class would it best to eat, so that it doesn’t affect your Pilates workout?
It’s a tricky question because every person is different, every person’s day is going to be different. Therefore their “fuelling” needs are going to be different. However it is best not to eat within an hour, preferably two hours, of doing a Pilates workout. Certainly it’s not a good idea to have a heavy meal before a class. But I suppose it depends largely on the time of your Pilates class and whether or not you have time to eat before or after a class. Ideally we would not eat anything after 7pm so that means that students of your evening classes should really be eating before rather than after their class. However, if like me, you come straight to your class from work, then that is not going to be possible. I think the important thing is to plan in advance and either have or take something with you to eat before your class, or have something very light, quick, easy and ready for you when you get home after a class. Healthy eating is really just about planning and organisation.
What sort of healthy tea would be good before a workout?
Nothing too heavy, here are some examples,
• A nice homemade soup would be ideal. With perhaps some sourdough or rye toast, or some ryvitas.
• Scrambled egg – mix in some veggies such as tomato, mushroom, rocket, spinach
• Or a vegetable omelette/frittata
• A light salad, with perhaps some chicken or fish
If you’re going to your class straight from work, how about taking a veggie based smoothie that you can have at about 5pm to keep you going till after your class.
What sort of meal would be good after a workout?
It depends on the time. If it’s after 7 – and for most of your evening class student’s it will be – the answer is to eat as little and as lightly as possible. Particularly if you’re getting home after your class at 8.30 or 9.30pm. It’s definitely not the time to be having a heavy meal. So something light and easy on the digestion – more of a snack really. Soup is ideal but make a big pot of it at the weekend so it there ready for you. All you have to do is heat up a portion.
• Homemade soup – try not to bulk it up with lots of bread
• A boiled egg with a couple of rice cakes or ryvitas, or scrambled eggs as above
• Some smoked salmon or mackerel with some tomatoes and watercress
• A couple of slices of chicken and some tomatoes, rocket, watercress
• Cottage or goats cheese on rice cakes, oatcakes or ryvitas
• Protein roll-ups Protein “roll-ups” – slices of smoked salmon, roast beef, parma ham wrapped around steamed and cooled asparagus spears, tender-stem broccoli spears, or green beans
If the class is in the middle of the evening what would be a good healthy snack to have before a pilates class?
Nothing that’s going to repeat on you! A few ideas!
• A couple of oatcakes spread with almond or cashew nut butter, and perhaps topped with some sliced apple or mashed banana. Click here to find out all about Oatcakes! and cook prefect Oatcakes.
• A couple of slices of cooked chicken and a couple of cherry tomatoes
• Half a mashed avocado on a couple of rice cakes
• Veggie smoothie with some protein powder or teaspoon of nut butter
• An apple or pear and a handful of nuts or seeds
• Protein “roll-ups” – see above
• A hard boiled egg
What foods are best to avoid before & after a Pilates Class?
Before a class:
• Avoid anything that’s likely to repeat on you or cause wind!! Again, that’s going to be a personal thing but usual culprits are onions, garlic, beans, lentils, oily fish, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts
• Too much fruit can cause fermentation in the gut that can also cause wind
• Avoid anything too heavy that takes a long time to digest, such as red meat or heavy carbs. These may cause you digestive pain or discomfort
• Avoid high sugar, high carb foods as these are likely to cause a spike and subsequent crash in blood sugar levels
After a class:
• Again, after an evening class it’s important to keep it light (see suggestions above)
• So avoid anything too heavy, or anything that will undo all the good work that you’ve done during the class.
• Avoid high sugar, high carbs as these are likely to ferment in your gut overnight and cause bloating and gas
• Drink plenty of water
So it’s all about being organised and preparing our food in advance. That way we can get the best out of our Pilates classes and feel great too. Judy truly believes that the food we eat can have a profound effect, positive or negative, on our physical, mental and emotional well-being, and she enjoys working with people to help restore vitality and balance. Her approach is practical and down to earth, and she believes that the key to good health is not in faddy or extreme diets but in eating good quality, real food.
Judy Merrick is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Naturopath practicing in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. She studied for 4 years and graduated in Nutrition and Naturopathy from the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London.
Registered Nutritional Therapist, Naturopath
Dip CNM, mBANT, CNHC
Tel: 07847 209204