You want to get fit? Think about what you eat

You want to get fit? Think about what you eat

By now, you will probably have heard the saying that “abs are built in the kitchen.” It’s a catchy take on the theory that fitness is achieved with 30% exercise and 70% diet (or even 20/80 for some people). Although there are hardly any notable studies on the ratio, it’s a formula that has worked for many over the years. What does this mean? The time you spend at the gym could be pointless if you don’t make wise decisions when it comes to the food you put in your body.

I know, not so fun…but not to worry here are a few tips to put you on the right track!

 

1.Stop counting calories


… and count macronutrients instead. When people change the way they eat to lose weight, they often go on calorie-deficit diets. 1. You can get really hungry and grumpy if you go too far and even if it works in some cases it is an unsustainable way to loose weight. Why? As soon as you “eat normally” again the weight typically comes back fast.

To have a healthier relationship with food, Women’s Health Magazine suggests counting macronutrients. These are the main food groups that the body requires to function efficiently. Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are the three macronutrients that you need to balance to maximize energy and reach fitness goals. I hear a lot of “I can  eat whatever they want as long as it’s within my calorie limit” –  “I can eat two slices of a 600-calorie cake if that’s all I eat all day.” BAD BAD IDEA.  All calories are not the same. You will be starving very fast and deprive your body of essential nutrients required to thrive on a daily basis.

Without enough food, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Tony Gentilcore emphasizes that you won’t have enough energy to exercise and get fit. In fact, an active person’s diet will allow for more food – provided that it’s healthy – because they use up energy more efficiently.

 

2.Think protein,fat and carbohydrates

 

To maximize fat loss, focusing on these three nutritional elements is essential.

Protein is the king of macronutrients. It’s responsible for muscle building and repair which you need if you do strength workouts. You can find protein in poultry, fish, milk, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. For vegetarians who don’t get enough protein from their diet, taking protein in powdered form is a good way to reach your quota.

Fat is one of the macronutrients that has been wildly misunderstood throughout the years. However, there’s healthy fat which does not make you balloon in weight. Self.com explains that the good kind of fat helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugar. On the other hand, trans fat do the opposite and can even harm your heart health. Instead of eating deep fried or processed food, opt for healthy sources such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and fish.

Lastly, a healthy diet does not shy away from carbohydrates. I know carbs have bad rep lately but note that they come in two types – a BAD one  and a GOOD one : simple and complex. Simple or fast carbs can be found in sugar, white bread, cereals, soda, flour and most processed food. See a pattern? These types of food are not good for you and can be very fattening. Eating fast carbs regularly can even affect your performance during exercise or any other physical activity. In fact, one notable example is the soccer star Lionel Messi. The Argentine international was banned from eating pizza by his dietician because it’s high in fast carbs which, ironically, can slow a player down. I know we are not trying to be an elite athlete here but it shows how a balanced diet can impact physical activity. Messi’s diet consists of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil for healthy fat, and lots of water. A nutritious mix is key to increase energy levels and achieve fitness goals.

If you want some tips on eating healthy on a budget, check out Aqua Spin’s post on this topic last February. Budget, body type, time, or any other excuse to not work out or eat healthy are only limitations that we set for ourselves. If you really want to get healthy and get fit, forget those excuses and get moving!

 

TheSportyBookworm

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