We’ve finished up our January nutrition challenge, but we don’t want to go back into old habits, but ensure we keep building good nutritional practices. Here are some great questions I got in December about diet and nutrition: “As far as workouts go, how much should I eat, and when?” Let’s break this down into pre and post workout nutrition. Post workout nutrition is the most important. Strength training and high intensity conditioning works on the principle of breaking the body down, so recovery is critical. Aim to get at least 15-20 grams of protein post workout (depending on your size) and 3-4 times that amount in carbs (depending on the intensity of the workout-ie if it’s bike sprints, you’ve earned your carbs-go for 4 time the amount of protein). Starchy carbs (like yams or potatoes) are great when you’ve had a particularly grueling conditioning session.Pre workout nutrition is more important in the morning, when your glycogen (stored sugar in the muscles and liver) levels in the liver are lower, and blood sugar is lower. It’s hard to perform high intensity exercise with lower fuel levels. You should have a small amount of protein and some quick digesting carbs (like fruit) pre workout to start the rebuilding process immediately and to keep you from “bonking”. You can find more specifics in my blog post here.“How does stress play into my nutrition?” A lot! Physiologically, remember that the big stress hormone is cortisol, which is among other things, a fat storing hormone. It also makes us want to eat more, so this is a real double whammy. Physiologically, stress causes us to eat foods that make us feel good and are easy- things like comfort foods, fast foods, easy snacks and sweets.Stress-induced overeating is never a good thing. Do your best to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, exercise regularly and eat enough healthy foods. Yes-eat enough! Cutting back on calories may work for weight loss short term, but not enough food is a stressor to the body, and can result in elevated cortisol levels.