Here is an article I wrote a few years back, and I still rotate through these options as my nighttime snacks! I wanted to share this with you as I always receive questions about what we can eat for snacks, especially at night, that will support our us health and performance goals (and help us achieve a body we are proud of!)…Here we go!
“I do great all day but the nighttime kills me”
It is 8pm and it’s just getting dark. You had a long day at work (or school) and are planning to wind down for the night. As you sit down to read your favorite novel it hits…the dreaded hunger pangs.
It is too late and you are too tired to construct a quality mini-meal / snack, or so you think. So you make your way to the pantry for a quick “grab and go.” Since you are pretty health conscious, you don’t have the double stuffed Oreos, Little Debbie Honey Buns or other sugar infused garbage that plague many pantries, but you still have the “healthier processed options” for emergencies (please notice the quotes).
You snag a low fat yogurt granola bar (the fat is replaced by a high amount of sugar), an extra-large hand full of M&M trail mix and pop a few multigrain crackers. After spiking your blood sugar to an epic level, and consuming nearly triple the calories you thought you had, you lie down for the night but find it hard to fall asleep.
The high sugar content not only provided you with the excess calorie to keep your dreams of a lean, athletic body far from the near future, but you created a physiological state that promoted a night of restlessness…unwanted fat mass and insomnia, the perfect combo to keep you from achieving your health and performance goals!
So what was the problem with the situation above?
Maybe you just can’t control yourself from snagging the easy, not so “healthy” options.
Maybe you aren’t quite sure what would make a quality nighttime snack.
Or maybe you feel that the choices that are healthy are too hard to whip up, especially at night when you are tired.
As I always say, if it is not there you can’t have it, and if it is there you will.
With that in mind, below are 3 easy, healthy and delicious options that make great nighttime mini-meals that can be put together in less than five minutes. Stock your fridge and pantry with these ingredients, rid them of the other stuff, and you will set yourself up for a much healthier nighttime feast (or any other time of day!!).
1) Cottage Cheese / Greek Yogurt and Berries
1 cup low fat cottage cheese or plain low fat Greek yogurt
½ to 1 cup berries (blueberries, strawberries, mixed, etc.)
1 to 2 tsp flaxseed
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
½ to 1 scoop protein powder (optional for taste and added protein)
Small handful nuts (optional for added calorie and healthy fats; either eat on the side or add in)
Instructions: mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy…ya, it’s that easy!
2) Power Protein Shake
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Breakfast to kick off Sunday ➡️ Carrot Cake Shake – freeze 1 cup of carrots, add 2-3 handfuls of spinach, 1 scoop protein powder, small handful walnuts, small handful raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 8-10oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blend. ➖ On the side I had a piece of Ezekiel toast with natural jam, a small handful of mixed nuts, and green beans with hot sauce…I know the last part is a bit odd but had it once in a pinch and is now a staple when I have a shake…spicy and sweet I guess! #healthyliving #healthybreakfast #healthyfood #deliciousfood #breakfast #proteinshake #protein #ezekielbread #coffee #nutrition #nutritious #healthylifestyle #healthyeating #fit #theathleticway
(shake only…not all the other stuff!)
4 to 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
1 large handful spinach or kale
½ to 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, mixed, etc.) or 1 small frozen banana (freeze without skin)
¼ cup nuts
1 scoop protein powder (favorite flavor)
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
Instructions: Add ingredients in a blender and blend to desired thickness (the personal sized Ninja, Nutribullet or Magic Bullet work well!). Can add shaved coconut, cocoa nibs or flaxseed for a bit more crunch…just make sure it works into your caloric goals.
3) “Pumpkin Pie” Bowl
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I have to admit, my nutrition hasn't been as "spot on" as it usually is. We have had a lot of treats around the house from the Easter holiday, and recently one of the AWESOME!!! TOP Fitness athletes made a special treat for my wife (which is absolutely delicious!).•• So needless to say I've been munching on some things in greater amounts than I usually do. But this morning I made sure to throw together my "pumpkin pie bowls" so later tonight I have something a bit more conducive to my fitness and aesthetic goals to snack on. ••Not to say I won't eat the rest of the treats, just not all at once now! ••Having good options prepared and readily available is key and is one of the biggest pieces of advice I give to my athletes in order to help them reach their goals. #foodprep #foodprepping #healthysnack #healthysnacks #healthytreats #nutrition #athlete #theathleticway
(Again, just the bottom pick of the ingredients for the pumpkin pie bowl!)
1 cup pure pumpkin (about one half can 15oz can)
1 tbsp flaxseed
1 scoop protein powder
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
1 to 2 pinches coconut flakes
Instructions: Combine pumpkin, protein powder, flaxseed, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Top with coconut flakes and enjoy.
Fix Your Nighttime Snacking!
There you have it, 3 quick and easy options that will not only fulfill your health and performance needs, but will satisfy your sweet tooth!
Try these out and let me know what you think. Share your favorite mini-meal / snack options below and remember when nighttime hunger hits, taking less than five minutes to put together one of these options will help you ward off a future of the morning jiggles!…
When someone looks like they train regularly, you know, the guy or gal who is lean, muscular and confident, the fact is that they probably do!
When it comes to achieving health, fitness and performance goals, and looking like you have been working for it, one of the most important factors is training frequency.
This doesn’t mean you have to get in and crush a grueling training session 6-7 days per week, but it does mean you should train hard (and smart of course!) 2-4 times per week and supplement that with less intense sessions 1-2 times per week.
Even when you are away from your regular schedule, be that on vacation or when you get busy with work, school or sports, you need keep up with your training to continue to progress and even more importantly, prevent digression. And in between days of high intensity training, getting in a solid session that increases blood flow and your heart rate is encouraged.
It is during these times that a quality at home (at school, hotel, etc.) training program is key.
You won’t always be able to make it to your training facility / the gym, and when this happens you have two options.
You can say, “Screw it,” and forgo your training (and risk losing ground), or you can complete a session that requires you to go nowhere, use next to nothing and take 30 to 45 minutes out of your day…tops!
I’d encourage you to go for the second option, that is if you actually want to reach your goals.
And with that, below is your guide for setting up an at home training program that requires only a foam roller, a TRX or pair of bands and either a slideboard, paper plates / furniture movers / pair of socks…simple and effective.
I have put together 3 at home programs for you. Really it is one at home program with 3 different levels. I would complete the level 1 program first and as you feel good with the exercises in that level, move on to level 2 and finally on to level 3.
The thing that you will notice is that the programs are not some super fancy, elaborate thingamajig…it is all about doing the basics and doing them with great intention that will help catapult your health, fitness and performance.
Before you look through the programs though, read the following as it will allow you to better complete the programs.
Soft Tissue, Stretch, Mobility, Activation and Movement Prep
Like any good program, you should dedicate a few minutes to soft tissue work and then to stretching, mobilizing and getting the body prepared for the upcoming session…so this is first in the programs.
Sets and Reps, or Time and Reps
Depending on how you want to attack your session, you can complete it one of two ways.
You can go through each of the training blocks completing the designated sets and reps, or you can go through the exercises completing the designated reps as many times as possible within a set period of time (5-8 minutes).
Attacking the session with the timed blocks is known as escalating density training (EDT). The goal of EDT is to try and complete more rounds with each subsequent training session. This in turn enhances the metabolic effect of the session…it gets your heart a pumpin’ a bit more!
Slow Down the Tempo
Because the programs are designed to only use your bodyweight, a TRX or bands, and some form of low friction training (slideboard, furniture sliders, paper plates, socks, etc.) you will need to manipulate tempo of the movements to increase the challenge.
By slowing the tempo of the movements down and utilizing pauses you will increase the time under tension, and therefore the strength and growth potential of the exercise.
When you see 321 this means that you are to complete the movement with a 3 second eccentric (lowering), pause for 2 seconds at the bottom, and come back to the beginning of the movement in 1 second (the concentric portion). For a lunge this would be lowering into the lunge in 3 seconds, holding the bottom of the lunge for 2 seconds and returning to the standing position in 1 second.
Go for Speed
On the opposite side of slowing down the tempo of the movement, you can speed it up. As you will see in level one, the bodyweight squat is to be completed as a speed squat. And with all three levels, the mountain climber is to be completed as fast as possible with perfect form.
Speeding up the movement changes the challenge of the movement and creates a slightly different stimulus than a typical tempo.
Beyond Level 3
While the level 3 program is the most advanced program provided with this article, if you feel that the program is no longer a challenge, you can go back through the levels and switch many of the movements to more explosive, athletic movements.
For example, instead of squats you can perform squat jumps. Or instead of push ups you can perform explosive push ups where the hands leave the ground…you can go for the clap if you want it!
Also, if you do have dumbbells or kettle bells available, you can absolutely go ahead and load the movements that you are solid with. If you have resistance that is just a bonus!
What To Do Now
So you’ve made it here! Here are the programs.
When you are short on time, can’t make it to the gym or find yourself away on vacation or travel for work, attack these sessions as if they are your main training session…because they are! Perform the most difficult level of training that you can complete perfectly.
Go through the session as quickly as possible, or completing as many rounds as possible (EDT). You want these sessions to leave you feeling fatigued and like you completed a sufficient amount of quality work…you don’t need to be sprawled out on your back after though!
Now if you are using these sessions as a supplement to your main training sessions (let’s say you train 3-4 times per week at a higher intensity), you can approach these sessions with a little less intensity.
Instead, focus on moving through the blocks still as quickly as possible, but with the goal of getting your blood flowing, heart rate up, but not inducing so much fatigue.
You can have a little burn going, but you shouldn’t feel like you are close to technical or muscular failure during the exercises.
In this case these sessions are there to support your recovery between your main sessions, as well as burn off a little extra calorie, and keep the body moving to lose some extra fat and achieve/maintain a lean physique.
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After a 24 hour period that included about 7 hours of driving, I had to get in a little movement. ➖ Because tomorrow is a intensive training session the goal was to move, sweat and tap into my aerobic conditioning system a little without inducing fatigue. ➡️ For this reason I chose to perform movements that less stable and higher skilled movements so I could not go quite as intense. 🎯 If you want to try this: using a suspension training system set the clock for 20 minutes and perform 10 reps of each the overhead squat, single arm row, rear foot elevated split squat and push up. ➡️ Go through as many rounds as possible maintaining perfect form. #offdays #offday #athomeworkout #athome #trx #trxworkout #conditioning #cardio #strength #stability #squats #row #pushups #pushup #athlete #athletic #athletes #theathleticway
So there you have it, your complete guide to at home training with a few example training programs.
If you have found this article helpful, please do your friends and family a favor and pass it along!