The Importance of Nutrition
It is January 22nd 2013, you’ve made it more than halfway through the first month of the New Year, and you have stayed true to your New Year’s resolution. You have been making it into the studio two, maybe even three times a week, hit the cardio consistently (but not too much) and you are feeling pretty good about the dedication you have taken in the whole pursuit of “New Year, New You.”
Well let’s think about that, have you taken a look at your di…uh your nutrition lately? Do you get a proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats? Are you eating regularly, not skipping breakfast and timing your protein and carb intake before and after workouts, because you are taking protein, right? If your answer was no to any of the above questions then you, my friend, might need to take a look at your meal plan and eating habits.
Now, before I get into the short nitty gritty of it, if your goal is not to lose more body fat, develop stronger muscles, and live a healthier lifestyle, then do not read any further. You are happy where you are! Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I want you to picture the studio upon entrance. You wipe your feet, pass the cardio machines on your left, the office and directly across from the pictures of your lovely trainers, there is a board with articles, diagrams, pictures and probably the most important piece of advice you’ll ever see. It is printed simply on regular paper with pink background and blue writing and it says “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” This article seems to agree; it points out that exercise alone did not reduce or even maintain the weights of those with a BMI between 25-29. This article, talking about caloric expenditure and intake, seems to agree as well.
What does it all mean? That if you really want to see a difference on that scale, feel the new clothes you bought for vacation fit less tightly or gain a better physique for yourself, you need to do a daily checklist.
v Do you eat breakfast daily?
v Do you eat regularly and enough?
v Do you get enough protein and (gasp) carbs?
v Do you time intake of protein and carbs before and after workouts?
v Do you drink enough water?
These five small things can make a huge difference in your weight loss and physique goals. Interestingly enough, these small differences do signal an important lifestyle change and reflect the mantra: “I will take the extra time to take care of my health.”
In kindergarten and grade school the idea of breakfast being the more important meal of the day was drilled into our heads, usually it meant cereal or other sugar and carbohydrate laden things, but the idea holds true. Breakfast is the meal that starts us off on the right foot. While research as to the reason why is conflicting as usual, most professionals can agree that skipping breakfast is not ideal in the long run. This long-term study shows the effects over time, the results…not good. Other research gives us a glimpse into the reasons for weight gain for habitual breakfast skippers.
Eating regularly is, fortunately, more simple to explain and understand. When large expanses of time pass between meals we feel the effects of hunger more intensely and so look to eat more than our body actually needs in one sitting, usually it is of food with a higher fat content and generally not so good for us. By timing meals to be closer together we can control the amount of food we want to eat as we will not feel the effects of hunger/starvation.
Protein is a major building block in the human body, it acts as a fuel source and is a key factor in muscle synthesis. Weight loss and fat reduction is the result of building more muscles so you should make sure you are getting enough protein each day. Here is a quick an easy way to find out if you are getting enough protein for females and here is another for both males and females. Think about where you fall and where you need to adjust your protein intake to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
Water is water, it is so easy for us to forget about it but it is probably one of the most important things you are NOT thinking about in your meal plan. Water does a host of things for the human body that you can read about on this site. Daily recommendations for water intake are 8 cups or 64 fluid ounces, or two 32 ounces Nalgene bottles. That is before adding working out in whatever fashion you do, so if you workout regularly you want to increase that number. Really think about all of the points outlined here and what you can do to incorporate some or all of these things - you might be surprised to see your body respond differently to the workouts you have been doing.
If you have questions about types of proteins to supplement with or what kind of carbohydrates or meals would be better than others, feel free to ask me in the studio or shoot an email to the studio email.