When it comes to your health and fitness, there’s no denying that regular exercise is important. However, the food you eat is even more critical – and it’s a much more efficient way of getting on top of your fitness issues.
Why is this the case? Well, think about the amount of energy you have to use to burn off calories. The average person might burn just over 350 calories running at five mph for half an hour. But, when they go home and have a couple of cheese sandwiches, they will consume over 520 calories. It takes around five minutes to eat those sandwiches, and you will have to run for more than 45 minutes to negate them.
As you can see, no matter how much you are working out, the food you eat will have far more impact on your chances of success. So, in today’s guide, we’re going to go through several easy ways to address your nutrition and calorie intake. It will stand you in good stead and give you an excellent platform to achieve – and exceed – your health and fitness goals.
Your first step is to understand the basics of nutrition. You have to know about food groups, vitamins, and the impact they have on your body before coming up with any new outlook on your eating habits. Healthy and fit people tend to eat whole food, for example – such as apples, green veggies, oatmeal and brown rice. They also limit the amount of some of the food groups they consume and eat more from other food groups. For example, in a weight loss program, you might reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat while upping the levels of protein. However, as you start to exercise more, it might be necessary to up your carb levels to give you the extra energy you need. There are plenty of guides to nutrition online or in books – make sure you read up on the subject to ensure success.
Work out your best foods
People that are in excellent shape and eat well tend to draw from a smaller menu of foods. They eat similar things every day, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are good reasons for limiting your menu choices. First of all, it is easier to track your calorie intake when you know the best foods for your situation. Also, a good diet is all about finding better habits – and taste is just as much of a habit as anything else. Finally, when you understand how food affects your body, you begin to recognize those effects. You will know that certain foods bloat your stomach, for example, or make you feel tired. So, the reduction of menu choices will be an automatic process. But, you will get ahead of the game by working out the best foods to eat before you even get started.
Don’t starve yourself
There’s a good reason why fad diets never work. It’s because when you start a fad diet, you feel like you are missing out on life’s little luxuries and treats. It’s not a lifestyle change – it’s a temporary fix. It is going to be hard to maintain one of these diets for the rest of your life, and starve yourself completely from rewards. In short, it’s unsustainable. So, don’t starve yourself from certain foodstuffs – and seek out healthier alternatives. There are a growing number of options out there. For example, there are healthier cookies from Hampton Creek or the sugar free granola bars that you can get from your local health food store. Yes, it’s important to cut down on your snacking and avoiding red zone foods. But, it’s just not plausible that you will never eat any of them again. The occasional treat can be a reward for all the hard work you are putting into your new regime.
Rely on water
Everyone should understand the importance of drinking enough water. You need around eight glasses a day to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water has many other benefits, too. It keeps your body functioning in the right way, which enables you to work out better and for longer. It also fills up your stomach, so can be a great help with things like portion control and avoiding big snacks between mealtimes.
Never skip breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. After a full night’s sleep, your body needs the right nutrition to give you the best possible start to the day. And, one of the most common characteristics of a fit and healthy person is a hearty breakfast. There are some simple reasons why. First of all, a good breakfast will see you through to your next meal without the need for snacks. It will also stave off those hunger pangs that can cause you to make poor eating choices. So, consider waking up a half hour early and ensure you eat a balanced breakfast. It will help you get the results you need and kickstart your new fit and healthy life.
Eat smaller meals more often
You might think that sticking to three meals a day is the way to go. However, the super fit amongst us would disagree. Small, more regular meals can be a far more effective way to lose weight and maintain your nutrition than eating three meals during the day. One of the biggest reasons why this is the case is due to the chemicals in your body. When you don’t have anything to eat for more than three hours, your body produces a stress hormone known as cortisol. One of the effects of cortisol is that it sends a signal to the brain that increases the amount of fat in your abdominal region. So, keep those cortisol levels down by eating smaller amounts more regularly – you will see yourself making a lot more progress.
We hope you get something out of this guide and can begin to see how you can eat your way to a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
Featured image – flickr