Why Your Diet Will Make or Break Your Personal Fitness GoalsBy DuBose Fitness
If you exercise, it’s fair to assume that you have set personal fitness goals. Whether those goals are to lose weight, to gain muscle mass or just to improve your overall health, it’s important that you make the most of your time in the gym.
Unfortunately, many people overlook one very important aspect of personal fitness: nutrition!
Your diet can make or break your personal fitness goals. What you put into your body is just as important as the intensity and frequency of your workout.
Nutrition and Exercise Go Hand in Hand
No matter your exercise goals, your body depends on the nutrients you provide through food. Your muscles, your cardiovascular system and even your joints rely upon a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins to perform at their best and to prevent injury.
Prior to exercise, most bodies need to be fueled by foods high in slow-digesting carbohydrates. Whole grains are an example. These carbs will provide the energy you need to perform at your best. It’s also recommended that you consume quick-digesting proteins. That’s true whether you’re trying to build muscle mass or lose weight. Healthy fats are also essential to your joint health and brain function.
Following your workout, you’ll need to provide your body fuel to recover. Exercise uses your body’s reserves of glycogen, so carbs are essential post-workout. Your muscles break down while you exercise so slow-digesting protein is also imperative. Finally, it’s critical that you rehydrate your body! Water is one of the most important post-workout “nutrients.”
Depending upon your fitness goals, it may be beneficial to fuel your body during your workout, too! If you have any questions about whether that’s appropriate for you, just ask your personal trainer. Of course, sipping water while you exercise is a must.
So What Foods Do I Eat?
Again, your diet will depend largely upon your fitness goals. For instance, a bodybuilder will have much different nutritional requirements than, say, a distance runner.
First and foremost, to get the most out of your workouts it’s essential that you eat whole, fresh foods throughout the day. Avoid processed sugars and processed oils like vegetable oil, choosing tropical and olive oils instead. Eat plenty of lean protein, and sip water and herbal teas throughout the day.
Why? Because exercise does not “cancel” out the foods you eat! Many people make the assumption that working out will undo the damage done by sugary, fatty and high calorie foods. Not so! The foods you eat should fuel your body with energy and provide all the resources you need to fuel your workout and recover afterward.
Diet and Exercise is a Process
When you first begin your exercise program, it can be easy to get discouraged. Some people don’t see results immediately, and adopt a “forget it” mentality, resulting in either giving up on exercise or giving up on eating healthy foods.
Don’t get discouraged! Remember that your fitness plan is a process. There’s a learning curve, and you’re not going to see results immediately. Stick with it! You’ll see results, we promise!
If you do find yourself becoming discouraged, don’t hesitate to ask your personal trainer or your doctor for guidance. Sometimes plateaus in progress can be overcome by something as simple as switching up your breakfast.
How Do I Match My Diet to My Fitness Goals?
This is a common question, and it’s a very good one! Matching your nutritional requirements to your specific fitness goals can be tricky, so it’s usually best to get a little guidance.
Set an appointment with your doctor or sit down with your personal trainer. Based on your lifestyle, your current health and your long-term goals, you can work together to develop a nutritional plan that’s convenient and effective for you. Be prepared to talk about any dietary considerations like veganism, and any health issues may have.
You’ll find that, as you get into the routine of your new fitness program, your new nutritional needs will become second nature. Before long your diet and exercise routine will naturally work together to reach your fitness goals!