Exercise and nutrition are both large components of healthy living. But, neither is the same for everyone – nor does it need to be in order for someone to be ‘healthy’. The reality is ‘health’ looks different on everyone and there’s many ways to go about it. To show this, we’re starting a Pre/Post Workout Nutrition Series with some real-life examples of people telling what works specifically for their lifestyle. Here you’ll learn what types of workouts they do, what they eat before and after, why they do so, and what this whole ‘healthy living’ thing means to them individually. Our series will start with one of our newest sponsored athletes, Emma Ferreira, and how she fuels her intense CrossFit workouts.

Image by Lindsay Kagalis

Emma Ferreira is a 22 year old Crossfit Athlete with a competitive Lacrosse background. Now working out 2x a day consisting of 3 hours sessions each and coaching full time, she prioritizes her diet to give her the fuel she needs in order to feel and perform her best. Training for the upcoming Granite Games, her diet and training must stay on point right now – keep scrolling to find out just how she eats to maintain peak performance.

With such a busy schedule Emma utilizes a meal prep company, Healthy Meals Direct, that gives her access to pre-packaged meals and bulk foods that fit her dietary preferences. While this isn’t necessary to eat healthy, it can definitely come in handy if you have a hectic schedule while having goals to reach. (Not a competitive athlete and on a budget to reach your diet goals? Check out our guide to meal prepping and stop by Cornucopia to get all your organic ingredients needed.)

Typical Pre-Workout Meal:

“So since there are 2 sessions per day, I technically have 2 “pre-workout” meals…before my AM session is usually: egg whites and broccoli with oatmeal, strawberries and some avocado. This meal consists of 20g protein, 70g carbs and 8g fat. And of course on my way to the gym I pick up a Starbucks coffee. Either black coffee (iced or hot) or an almond milk cappuccino. So delicious!”

“My pre-workout meal before my PM session is usually my post AM session meal. Since my session are only about 3-4 hours apart, I only have 1 meal in between. So, this meal consists of 20g protein, 100g of high glycemic carb and no fat or veggies. High glycemic carbs are the sugary, fast-digesting carbs. This meal is usually grilled chicken with either honey nut cherrios, cinnamon toast crunch or potato bread.” Emma notes that she agrees sugar is definitely not the best for you, as tons of studies have shown recently, but she is eating for performance purposes. This style of diet plan is called RP Strength and allows her to obtain the quick energy she needs to maintain short periods between training sessions. When doing single-session days, she abstains from these sugary carbs and consumes “only healthy carbs throughout the day such as sweet potatoes, whole grains or oatmeal.”

Typical Post-Workout Meal:

No longer needing fast digesting carbs to fuel another workout, Emma sticks to her healthy sources and re-introduces fats following her PM training session. “My post PM workout meal is slightly different. This meal is usually ground beef (which is about 20g protein), 1 serving of veggies, either broccoli or zucchini, avocado for 8g of fat and sweet potato fries for my carb.”

Emma’s Outlook on Healthy Living:

Focus on how you feel not how you look – “My personal definition of healthy has nothing to do with looks – To be healthy means to feel great, to feel strong, to be fit. I was never and still am not in this crossfit world the super skinny, shredded athlete. I’ve learned that looks never matter, to always go by [how you] feel. If you fuel your body properly, love what you do and enjoy the journey, you are HEALTHY and will soon realize you will look great too.”

Prioritize eating properly to fuel your body – “My best advice for eating healthy and to stay on track is most importantly make sure you are eating enough. For a while I was afraid of eating carbs! YES, AFRAID! I know so many girls out there are too. I cannot stress enough how much better I feel throughout workouts, how much better I look and how much more healthier I am by eating the right amount. If you are unsure on your macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) and how much you should be consuming daily I definitely recommend a consultant like RP Strength.”