In a lightning-fast world, there are few certainties. With influencers, “health experts”, and everyone under the sun constantly giving us advice about the best diet, how we are eating wrong, and much more, it can be incredibly difficult to figure out what’s right for you. We get that.
So, here’s a guide to things that really matter when it comes to nutrition and fitness. Things that have stood the test of time.
How important is our diet for fitness?
Let’s think about it this way. Our bodies are constantly active throughout the day. From the moment we lift our heads up from the pillow till the moment where we fall right back down onto the same pillow to sleep and in fact during sleep as well, we are constantly spending energy.
And remember the first thing we learned about energy in school? ‘Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it can only transform from one form to another.’ So, all that energy we expend, we have to get it from somewhere right? Enter, our diet.
Everything and anything we eat or drink fuels every single function our bodies perform. From breathing, walking, sleeping (yes, sleeping as well), and much more, we need nutrition for everything.
Now think about how much energy we expend in our fitness journeys. From the 2 km jogs, we go on for fun to the dream marathon we want to run, there’s one fundamental thing we need. Energy.
In essence, what we eat, how much we eat, and how often we eat usually determine how far along we get in our fitness journey. And we haven’t even hit the tracks yet.
Eat Well. Your Body Needs It.
The word diet triggers a series of images in our heads, right? Maybe we thought of a salad bowl or maybe we thought of a single smoothie, our concepts of a diet are varied. But, the key to remember is that your body needs enough fuel.
Any diet that asks you to starve yourself or drastically reduce your intake is probably not worth it. Our bodies need food and quite a lot of it. The key is to eat the right kind of food in the right quantity. Skimping on food can reduce the amount of energy that our bodies have to draw upon when under strain. It can increase our risk of injuries and also lead to a loss in muscle mass.
The Carbs Need Some Care as Well
Carbohydrates, a taboo concept in the world of diets. The idea of completely shunning carbs is something that has drifted into popular culture. But, as with most things that are widely accepted, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Carbohydrates are what give us the energy to sustain our activities throughout the day. In short, they’re really important. However, eating the right carbohydrates is the important part of this process.
Simple carbohydrates, like the ones found in sweets or in processed foods are detrimental to fitness. However, complex carbs, found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can be a great source of energy throughout the day for our bodies.
Project Protein: Build Strength and Stamina
If we humans were a lego toy, protein would be the bricks through which every part of us would be constructed. Proteins help our body repair any strain or damage caused by exercise, they are what help in building muscle mass, and they can also be a backup energy source for our bodies on the days we really need it.
There’s a trick to get the right kind of protein as well! In general, sources of lean protein like fish, yoghurt, cottage cheese, beans, lentils, and more are better for our body than sources like red meat t
hat come with saturated fats.
The amount of protein our body needs vary based on body weight and level of activity. As a rule of thumb, nutritionists suggest we consume 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
Focus on the F Word: Fats
Fats are quite important for our body. They act as a backup energy source and are helpful in allowing your body to absorb essential vitamins. In fact, vitamins like A,D,E,and K need a certain amount of fat to be absorbed and be effective.
Unsaturated fats are the healthiest option in the wide gallery of fats. They improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and provide numerous other benefits. Healthy sources include olive oil, nuts, avocados, and a few seeds.
Pehle Aap: What You Eat Pre-Exercise Matters
Fuel up. While we prepare for a strenuous day in the gym or an intensive run across the neighborhood, it’s important to have the right food in the belly. Having a combination of lean protein along complex carbs is probably the best way to go.
The timing matters too. Eating about an hour to couple of hours before any kind of workout is advisable. Our body needs time to process what we consume and convert it into energy.
While these are a few dos and don’ts in our diets that we believe will improve the chances of leadoing a healthier lifestyle, there’s an element of customization involved as well. This, however, comes with time. As you go along in your journey, you’ll realize what works for you and what doesn’t.
Making micro adjustments and tailoring it to meet the needs of your body means that no matter what’s on your plate, you’ll always know what’s on your plate!