We recently caught up with Joe Garcia, a marketing professional who spent 10 years at Equinox as a personal trainer. Though he doesn’t work at a gym anymore, Garcia still advises and trains friends when he hits the gym. His workout routine involves Crossfit training, power lifting and dead lifts, among other things. He’s very focused on matching his diet and exercise routine to his seasonal fitness goals. Garcia gave us the scoop on the best methods for doing this.
Garcia says that his diet changes depending on the season – for example, he eats less carbs in the summer when his goals include being lighter and leaner and moving faster. Garcia also advocates taking supplements and eating clean, which means “monitoring your diet completely, understanding what you’re putting into your body and what works for you … being smart about how you consume food, making sure that it fits your goals.”
But sometimes we hear people say, “I work out, so I can eat whatever I want.” So we asked Garcia what he thinks about frequently indulging in, for example, a giant cupcake.
“Look, I’m a sucker for cupcakes,” Garcia laughs. “But I’m very conscious of when, how and why I’m eating it.”
Garcia further advised individuals who are new to fitness who haven’t yet learned how to eat for their fitness goal – whether it’s losing weight, putting on muscle or looking a certain way – should do some research and check out tips for eating healthy, improving diet and even increasing metabolism. But he stresses that eating is only part of it:
“Eating should always be fun, it shouldn’t be stressful. Not everyone comes in with this idea of understanding how to eat. So going online is always a good way to find out information on how to eat,” he said.
So, can you eat whatever you want?
“You can eat whatever you want if you’re satisfied with that result. Everything that you do in the gym is based on results, so if you don’t really care about the results that you get between your diet and working out, then you can eat whatever you want,” Garcia tells us.
On eating out
Garcia says that you can definitely eat out, but it’s important to be smart about your choices:
“I always tell people if you’re going to eat out, just plan it out. Plan and know where you’re going to eat, and know what’s on the menu, and prepare yourself.”
He suggests drinking a protein shake or eating a small meal beforehand if healthy menu options are limited.
Pre- and post-workout eating
Garcia stressed the importance of pre-workout protein shakes or other sources of protein:
“You always want to have enough fuel for your body to perform during your exercise for that time period, you don’t want your body using up the muscles because you can definitely cannibalize muscle during that training,” he says.
Garcia advises to eat no sooner than 30 minutes before working out. On one hand, you don’t want to train on a full stomach; on the other, you need time for the protein to get into your bloodstream.
He also suggests drinking a post-workout shake in a window of 30 minutes after your fitness session for full muscle-building benefits, or later if you’re trying to lose weight.
Garcia says that one of the biggest misconceptions about food is that you can’t eat fat and be healthy. In fact, he says it’s better to pay attention to the amount of calories in what you’re eating, and to take in healthy fats from foods like nuts, avocados and fish. Like before, he stresses that it’s all about your fitness goals and being calculated in what you eat.