In a city filled with directors, producers and agents who make their living on how people look, there is a handful of people who actually care about how you feel on the inside. Those people are called nutritionists. Enter nutritionist and fitness trainer extraordinaire Roxy “Balboa” Richardson, co-owner of Function 5 Fitness and former professional Muay Thai fighter.
How long have you been with Function 5 fitness?
I’m the owner of Function 5 Fitness and opened this business two years ago. I began working as a personal trainer in 2005 and have been passionate about getting people healthy and fit every since. My passion for nutrition has been a long, well-researched quest for top athletic performance and health. I also saw that my clients did not get results in the gym unless I addressed nutrition with them. So in 2010, I took my training to the next level and became a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist. Today, I focus on holistic wellness though functional, fun training and real food nutrition and the results speak for themselves. My clients get amazing results without counting calories, starving themselves or wasting time on those boring cardio machines.
What would you recommend eating before a workout? After?
I always recommend a diet of real food. Real food consists of meat, fish, poultry or eggs, veggies, fruit and nuts that are unprocessed and preferably well sourced and organic. I recommend my clients eat a meal comprised of protein, veggies and good fat two to three hours before a workout. There is no need to “carb-load” pre-workout or take fancy supplements. An example of a meal would be a piece of salmon on a green salad with lots of veggies, avocado and olive oil dressing. Immediately after a hard workout is a good time to replenish glucose stores with a piece of fruit. I usually recommend a banana because it’s portable. You will also want to get in a meal with protein within one hour of a workout, like one that includes chicken or steak. On hard workout days, I suggest adding a sweet potato to the post-workout meal in addition to veggies. Nutrient timing is key to maximize muscle building and replenish glucose stores. You don’t want to wait too long after a workout for a meal.
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Any snacks you would recommend?
I recommend people eat three good-sized meals a day and a post-workout meal or snack on workout days. It’s a myth that you need to eat five to six meals a day for fat loss. However, many clients when they first come to me have some metabolic issues from eating a high-carb, low-fat diet filled with processed foods and they need some snacks while they transition to a real food diet and restructure their bodies to be fat-burning machines. In that case, I recommend snacking on protein and fat-based snacks like nuts, jerky, hard-boiled eggs or deli meat slices. Chopped-up veggies like celery and cucumbers work well if you want to “munch” on something.
What are some things people should stay away from?
Everyone should avoid all grains, dairy, legumes and processed vegetable oils (canola, corn, soy, safflower, etc.). All of those foods are inflammatory and will hinder health goals and fat loss. I tell my clients to get their carbs from veggies, which are more nutritious and not inflammatory. The worst on my list are wheat and soy. I advise my clients to remove those from their diet first. Gluten serves no helpful purpose in anyone’s diet and will definitely have a negative affect on any fitness or health goal. Sugar is obviously something people need to avoid and consume in moderation, but everyone knows that now.
Do you have any favorite recipes that you’d be willing to share?
I’ve actually written entire blogs on this topic about how to eat simply. It’s so important for people to realize that health is simple, not easy. Lately, I’ve been getting all of my produce from Farm Fresh to You – it’s a local company that delivers fresh, seasonal, organic produce to you in a box weekly. It’s affordable and makes cooking fun because I look up recipes for new items I get weekly and become more creative. My favorite cooking tool lately is my wok. I toss some onions and coconut oil in the wok, throw in chopped-up chicken or skirt steak and season with garlic, gluten-free soy sauce and red pepper, sauté for three to four minutes and then add veggies (carrots, peppers, broccoli, kale, mushrooms – basically whatever came in my produce box that looks good to sauté). Then put the lid on for five minutes and it’s done. The whole process takes me 15 minutes from prep time to ready and I have a hot meal that is so healthy and delicious and will be great for leftovers the next day, if there is any left.
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Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.