Ask A Washington DC Expert: Best Workout Recipes

April 17, 2013 9:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

DC is a phenomenal city for staying fit. With trails and a plethora of fitness facilities, Washingtonians like to feel the burn. In order to fuel your body for intense workouts of an hour or more, check out these recipes from Vida Fitness nutritionist Emily Baker. Emily incorporates healthy carbohydrates into her recipes as it’s the easiest way to fuel your system and allows the body to focus on burning those carbs and storing whatever protein you may be adding so you can build, or repair, hard-working muscles. Carbs are essential to keep your body going, especially for high-intensity workouts like weight or interval training.

Emily Baker, RD, LD, CSSD
Vida Fitness
1612 U St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(301) 655-8171

Emily Baker is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics with more than six years of nutritional counseling experience. She utilizes a structured approach of psychology and guidance to change the way that her clients view their relationship with food. Her clients are able to enjoy the food and drinks they love and are still able to meet their needs and goals. Prior to joining Vida Fitness, Emily worked with athletic teams, iron-man competitors, Olympic athletes and professional sports teams in the DC area.

Chunky Monkey Oatmeal

Your mother always said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Truer words were never spoken, especially for a fitness junkie. Eat a breakfast meal at least two hours in advance of your workout for the best impact. This recipe includes complex carbs that are a good source of fiber, protein and antioxidants in the 300-500 calorie range. The peanut butter just adds that extra protein to protect muscles.


  • 3/4 cup whole oats
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 3 tsp sweetener of your choice (Splenda, honey, agave, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter


  1. Cook the whole oats in water. In the meantime, slice the banana.
  2. Add the sweetener and peanut butter to the cooked oats and stir to incorporate.
  3. Mix in the banana and serve immediately.
  4. Try adding a few dark chocolate chips and some chopped nuts on top for a delicious, sweet and crunchy treat.

Related: Best Kettelbell Workouts in Washington, D.C.

Banana Berry Shake

For a post-workout recovery, you’ll want to grab a 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein in order to give your body the fuel it needs to repair muscles and to get your energy levels back up. This recipe can be used both after and during the workout. It’s high in protein and carbs and you’ll feel rewarded because it tastes just like a dessert.


  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 4 oz non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup  skim milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar-free banana pudding mix


  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until well incorporated. Serve cold, immediately.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is an ancient grain from South America that is quick and easy to make and packed with protein, making it essential in a post-workout recovery program. The recipe makes two to three servings, so you can make this ahead of time and have it ready when you’re finished with your fitness regime.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 8 spears of asparagus
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 15-oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup  quinoa
  • 1 cup  baby spinach leaves or arugula
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Juice from one fresh lemon


  1. Begin by slicing the yellow squash, zucchini and mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Dice the yellow onion.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add vegetables and spices.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the black beans and stewed tomatoes, reserving some of the stewed tomato juice.
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock and quinoa to the pan and stir to combine.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Quinoa should be firm, but not crunchy.
  6. Toss the mixture with fresh spinach in a bowl, add the lemon juice and serve. May also be served cold. For even more protein, add ground chicken or turkey.

Related: Ask A Local Trainer: Best Ways to Get Fit In Washington DC

Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture
Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at

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