The Wellness Column represents the point of view and opinions of the interviewees. Those opinions are not necessarily those of the CBC or the YMCA of Sudbury.

Knowing what to eat and when to eat when you are working out depends on many factors, says YMCA trainer and CBC Sudbury wellness column contributor Brian Woods.

For example, don't eat too much of anything before you work out.

"If you consume the same amount of calories that you burn, then it defeats the purpose of the workout," he said.

"[Eat] just a small amount of carbohydrates — 100 calories, half a slice of toast."

People can train their bodies to not eat too much and get into a fat burning mode more quickly, he added.

And here's a tidbit that may come as a surprise to some: a long fast each day can also help maintain your weight.

"I'm on an intermittent fasting routine," Woods continued.

"I skip breakfast, have a high-protein, high-fat brunch and no snacks until supper time," said Woods.

He eats just two meals a day, and "I don't have any dips or peaks of energy during the day." 

The insulin connection

Learning to follow a similar regime can take about a month or two of adjustment, Woods noted.

Woods said he isn't a fan of protein shakes.

"I can see that they may work for some people, [but] I would prefer to prepare my real food ahead of time."  

Woods frowns on snacking — unless one is diabetic.

"It is terrible advice."

Snacks often involve reaching for a quick carbohydrate fix, and that means insulin levels are raised throughout the day.

"Grazing and snacking mentality is advice I would not follow," Woods said.

Does he ever treat himself on this strict regime?

"I do have some red wine for dinner each night," he said. "[I] can't avoid that, it is not all bad."

Brian Wood's recipe ideas:

Bone-broth soup

Brown soup bones in pan using sufficient avocado oil to coat and prevent sticking.

Add roughly sliced onions and celery to the stock. Add any preferred spice, including several bay leaves.

Simmer for 72 hours or more, topping up with water as required, but reduce as necessary to intensify flavor.

Add salt, pepper or any favourite spices or other vegetables to taste and cook until vegetables are ready.

Woods said he cooked some pre-made Chinese dim sum meat balls, added them to the stock, along with some fresh, chopped green onions.

Stewed Chicken:

Lightly sauté chicken (like drumsticks) in a large frying pan, using organic avocado oil and butter.

Add a 50-50 mixture of milk and water to cover chicken.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add a dash of sage and or rosemary to taste.

Add veggies of choice, such as dried mushrooms, diced peas and carrots, or even spinach.

Simmer until the meat and vegetables are cooked to desired tenderness.

Chicken Stew, Day 2:

Fry some curry powder in butter and added salt, ginger and coconut cream.

Add the curry mixture to the chicken stew and simmer for 30 minutes.