Pre- and Post-Workout Food for Maximum Results

When it comes to ejercicio, las comidas you eat before and after a workout can maximize the results of your exercise routine. Coach Yarixa Ferrao, a certified personal trainer who has appeared on MTV’s I Used to Be Fat, tells Las Fabulosas how to get the best workout results from your food.

Your Morning Workout

Pre-Workout Food: Consuming protein before workouts has many benefits. “Amino acids, which make up protein, repair and recover muscle for muscle gain. And muscle gain means burning fat,” says Ferrao. Protein will also help keep you full for longer while burning more fat and increasing lean body mass. For faster fat loss, Ferrao recommends starting with a cup of green tea or an organic, grass-fed whey protein shake, 10-30 minutes prior to working out.

Post-Workout Food: For a filling morning protein kick, consume one or two hardboiled eggs or eggs over easy. If your body is craving more, a fuller breakfast can also include healthy oatmeal and fruit. “Body awareness is key, so go with what it craves,” says Ferrao.

Your Afternoon Workout

Pre-Workout Food: Performance-wise, your body will usually work best with a quick energy-boosting carbohydrate such as rice, a muscle-building protein such as chicken, and a little fat like coconut oil or an avocado slice two hours prior to a workout, says Ferrao.

Other combination meals include a protein shake with a can of wild tuna and garlic spread; asparagus wrapped with ham slices; and corn or rice cakes with almond butter or ham slices.

Post-Workout Food: “You don’t need to eat the minute you stop working out,” says Ferrao. “Wait until your body signals hunger and is ready to receive nutrients.” After your workout, Ferrao recommends another protein shake combined with almond milk or coconut water. You can also add some berries or almond butter for a more filling drink. “For weight loss and to drop body fat while gaining lean muscle, eat foods that energize you during the day without depleting or taking away energy at night, at least two hours prior to bed time,” says Ferrao. This can include a protein, veggie and a carbohydrate such as rice or potatoes. “This allows the body to be hormonally balanced and in sync with your daily activities.”

Fun Winter Exercise for Kids

For many moms, the holiday hustle and bustle means less time at the gym and possibly extra inches on your waistline. And exercise for kids also plummets come winter due to additional winter breaks from school, chilly temperatures and indulgent holiday treats also make it harder to stay healthy and fit. Try these three simple winter activities to help the whole family get moving and beat winter weight woes.

Invierno Fit-Family Tip No. 1:  Indoor fun and games

A good old fashioned game of hide and seek -- especially if you can keep everyone heading up and down the stairs -- is a great way to sneak in a little cardio. A vigorous heart-pumping dance off is another active way to work up an indoor-sweat. Clear the furniture, put on some high-energy tunes and get moving. Work-in intervals of different moves, like jumps, squats or toe touches, based on breaks and choruses in the songs playing.  

Invierno Fit-Family Tip No. 2:  Stretch and Sweat

Have your kids join you for some downward dog -- yoga is a fantastic way to be active and find calm -- you just need a mat and an instructional video or audio. There are tons of online yoga videos to stream and most cable providers’ On-Demand sections offer free workouts. Melt away your stress, stay trim and recharge together.

Invierno Fit-Family Tip No. 3:  Housework-out

Moms know you can easily break a sweat sweeping, mopping, and dusting. Set a list of three tasks the kids need to accomplish within a set amount of time -- the ticking clock will ensure they get their motors running. And while you and the fam may want to stay warm inside, shoveling snow from walkways to build a snowman is another great way for kids to help out and stay fit while having some winter fun.

One-pot Winter Wonders

Want to make an easy meal for your family? Ana Frias, the Latina blogger behind the great website, Fit, Fun & Delish, has created three meals that are sure to keep everyone warm and happy this winter. The best part is that they only require one pot!

Perfect for chilly nights, this comfort food recipe is a traditional Mexican soup that Frias often cooks up for her family. 


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

  • 7-ounce package of Mexican pasta. Shells, alphabet, or fideo (or vermicelli noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • A dash of kosher salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • A dash of black pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)


  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the pasta until slightly browned. About 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the broth, tomato sauce, beef bouillon, cilantro, pepper and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium low; simmer until the noodles are tender, about 15 minutes.

Sloppy Joes
Although Frias likes to cook many dishes that honor her Mexican heritage, she serves this delicioso American classic to her family using lean ground beef and low-sugar ketchup. By adding a side of salad, she’s modified this one-pot dish into a healthy meal.


  • 1 pound ground beef, 96% lean
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. When the beef is halfway cooked, add the celery, pepper and onion.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well (this is an optional step).
  4. When the beef is cooked all the way through, drain the juices, if any (I usually let it cook until all of the juice is gone. Since the meat is so lean it won’t have much fat juice to drain).
  5. Add the liquid mixture and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook until the meat has a consistency you like for serving on toasted buns.

Cochinita Pibil
Give the cheese and sour cream a break and head to southern Mexico for inspiration. In the Yucatan, you will find recipes for a savory, slowly roasted pork.


  • 2 pounds of boneless pork loin roast cubed into beef stew size (fat trimmed off)
  • 3.5 ounces achiote (annato condiment found in the Hispanic section of grocery stores)
  • 1 coke or 1 beer (“I use beer on mine,” says Frias)
  • 1 cube of beef bouillon
  • Add salt and pepper to taste if needed


  1. Put all ingredients in pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours or until the meat is very soft and pulls apart easily with a fork. Make sure to keep stirring so that it doesn’t get stuck at the bottom and the achiote dissolves all the way.
  3. Shred meat. Add it back to the pot and cook for a little while longer. Add a little water if necessary to keep the meat juicy.
  4. Heat the corn tortillas and enjoy!
“I like to add pickled red onions, salsa, and a squirt of lime juice to my tacos,” says Frias.

Snack Smarter: Energy Boosters

Running low on energía? Everyone seems to lack extra power in the winter months and in turn spend more hours indoors on the couch and less time exercising. The good news is that a few bites of these delicious energy boosters can instantly give you extra oomph. Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, the founder of Hispanic Nutrition, shares energizing foods that will leave you ready and raring to go.

Fruit for thought

Keeping your immune system strong will help you stay motivated, there’s nothing like a winter cold to keep you on the couch and off the treadmill. Klinger suggests, “Snacks consisting of oranges, grapefruits and strawberries are fabulous choices to keep your body strong for winter with the added bonus of powerful vitamin C.” Since about 90 percent of strawberries come from California, they are available year round and are very high in antioxidants. Bonus: The low-sugar berries are a great choice for diabetics.

Get amped with avocado

Avocados can be a deliciously rich snack that provides energy, fiber and good fat. “Mash up the avocado with low-fat sour cream to use as a spread on crackers or pretzels.” Klinger suggests. “You will get extra energy from the dairy in addition to the delectable fruit of the tree.”

Power up with protein

The best sources of energy are snacks that are high in protein. Your body will be craving carbs and other high fat foods during the holidays, which can make you sluggish. “Instead try yogurt or low-fat cheeses as a snack especially after a workout,” explains Klinger. “Another option is a handful of nuts, a great source of heart healthy protein.”

Remember, just because these quick bites have energy enhancing potential, doesn’t mean you should pack on the helpings. When choosing a snack, portion control is important based on your activity level -- so hit the gym or go for a jog before or after you indulge!

‘Tis the Season for Tradiciones

Whenever a holiday brings la familia together, Latinos are there to celebrate it. Christmas festivities are no exception. Not only is it the holy time to celebrate El Niño Divino, but it’s also an opportunity to get dressed up, eat good food, cantar las novenas, forgive past grudges, buy good gifts and, yes, dance into the wee hours. And it’s not just family we celebrate with. We’re known to invite friends, co-workers and acquaintances with nowhere else to go. Though the family traditions may vary from country to country or state to state, the common thread is a festive spirit. Here are three Latinas who share their favorite holiday traditions.

“It's not about gifts, it's about having the house packed with relatives.” – Ivette Manners

Our main priority is spending all of Christmas Day together. Everyone comes over early, and we open small gifts together. We play music all day, tells stories -- Cubans love to tell stories -- and eat. In fact, we graze all day long, until my mom prepares a huge dinner. My mom makes Pernil, which is our version of American Turkey and what we have for every celebration, including birthdays and Easter. After dinner, we make the rounds to neighbors’ homes to wish each other a Merry Christmas. It’s a family tradition that my parents brought over from Cuba, where they were born, but we carry on today.

“I’m making sure that we keep the old recipes and old rituals going.” – Robyn Moreno

My Swedish husband and I started our own "new/hybrid" family tradition where we host a Glögg and tamale Christmas party. To celebrate his Swedish side, we make spiced mulled wine and gingerbread cookies. And to honor my Mexican-American background, we serve savory tamales. We discovered that the foods actually all go together quite well. It’s a great way to both honor and blend our heritage, especially for our new "Swexican" daughter! I also make luminarias every year and place them in the driveway. It’s a beautiful Christmas tradition that reminds me of growing up in the southwest.

For me, the holidays are way more about familia than regalos. Spending time with family cooking, relaxing, laughing and dancing always brings back the feeling of being home. I vividly remember running around with my primos, the smell of my abuela‘s kitchen making champurrado and laughing at my Dad badly dressed up as Santa, than I do any presents that I ever received.

“I make it a point to serve those less fortunate on Christmas.” – Marlene Robles

When I was growing up in Colombia in the 1960s, no one ever bought expensive gifts for Christmas. All the kids received were candies, and that was enough for us. The aunt who raised me taught her seven children and me to think of others during Christmas. Was there a neighbor who didn’t have enough money for el pavo asado? Was there someone sickly who needed compañia? She taught me to see the abundance in our lives and how lucky we were to have each other.

Today, I volunteer with my local church on Christmas, and make visits to the elderly and homebound who would otherwise be alone during the holiday. With all of the joy and peace that they give me, I draw more Christmas Spirit from them than from anything else.

The holidays are a special time to spend with family and those in need, and the rich family traditions that these three women carry on year after year reflect their holiday spirit and heritage in a wonderfully festive way.

Having the familia over for the holidays? Here are a few quick tips on getting tu casa ready for holiday guests.