Nutrition is one component associated with living a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to understand that 80% of your ability to lose weight, reduce body fat, have more energy, and feel healthier comes from your daily nutrition and the type of food/liquid you put into your body. The remaining 20% comes from the physical training that should be part of your normal daily routine. As a fitness coach, the topic of proper nutrition tends to be the toughest obstacle to assist people with since we are attempting to reverse years of bad nutrition habits. I always recommend people start improving their nutrition by making small changes in order to build momentum and develop good nutritional habits.
Here are five suggestions I recommend to people seeking to improve their nutrition:
1- ALWAYS eat breakfast! You need to ensure your body has fuel to burn in the morning which will help start your metabolic system, in turn giving you energy to start your day and be effective. If you are pressed for time to eat in the morning then prep your breakfast the night prior and make it something you can grab and eat on the go.
2- Stay fueled. Learn to feed your body three main meals a day with snacks in between. You never want to let your stomach be empty! By eating consistently throughout the day, you are allowing your metabolic system to function efficiently by giving your body nutrients, protein, and other sources of essential building blocks to ensure you can sustain energy, focus, and perform daily tasks. By not eating your body will begin to slow down its metabolic rate which means a reduction in energy levels, weight loss rate, body fat reduction rate, strength, and endurance. Ultimately this impacts your training performance which means a reduction in your success towards fitness and health goals.
3- DRINK WATER!! This is the only source of liquid your body needs. 60% of our body is water and several vital organs contain up to 80% of water. Your performance and energy level will depend greatly on keeping your body hydrated, to ensure your body gets electrolytes (salt) you can add a pinch of sea salt to your water (the taste is minimal).
4- Have a post workout meal or snack. During physical training you will be tearing muscle fibers. Your body has a replenishment window of 30-45 minutes called the “glycogen window.” During the time your glycogen window is open, those torn muscle fibers need recovery resources such as amino acids (from protein consumption) to repair, harden, and strengthen. It’s crucial that you provide your body with a natural source of food that is high in good carbs/protein; try a piece of seasoned chicken breast with veggies on the side, banana with natural peanut butter, natural juice shakes, or QUALITY protein shakes. The idea is to fuel your body with quality sources of fuel (food).
5- Stay away or MINIMIZE junk food! It is obvious; everyone knows that fried food, fast food, processed foods, frozen foods, and sugary snacks are not doing anything positive for the body. To keep this simple; the general rule when it comes to eating healthy is, if it comes from the earth and is a natural source of food then it is generally healthy for you to eat.
If you begin implementing the five suggestions provided above, you will see and feel progress in your body and health. You will also realize how simple changes in your daily nutrition can have a big impact on your health.