More than ever, people now realize the importance of staying fit. However, many fail to recognize the value of nutrition in achieving their fitness goals.
Look at it this way: if you are getting junk into your body system, you don’t expect to attain your fitness goals as fast as someone who takes weight loss supplemental shakes. If anything, you would be cheating yourself on good health and fitness. Also, when you don’t pay attention to your nutrition, you’ll need to engage in more rigorous workouts for extended periods to achieve your fitness objectives.
No doubt, there’s a strong connection between nutrition and fitness. Yes, working out is vital to achieving fitness, but so does nutrition. Essentially, according to research, a combo of both will help you reach your fitness goals faster than either one alone. Just eating the right foods can help you become healthier, happier, and more energized to engage in more workout activities effectively. So if you want to get the most out of your workout sessions, improving your diet is key.
What Is Nutrition, And What Is Its Importance To Physical Fitness?
Nutrition is when a living organism consumes food substances of nutritional value to achieve growth and good health. The food substances we consume might not necessarily be in the natural form for an individual – they could be supplements. But such foods and supplements must contain the necessary nutrients required by the body to function optimally. Some vital nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, fats, etc.
These nutrients are essential for your body growth, maintenance, and running your daily activities. Also, the consumption of these nutrients varies among individuals in various age groups. Over or under-consuming these nutrients also negatively impacts an individual’s overall health and fitness. To maintain proper fitness and achieve healthy living, you need the right supply of diet for your body.
The Primary Nutrients Your Body Needs
By now, you should know that a healthy and fit lifestyle is greatly dependent on nutrition. So, supplying your body with the proper nourishment is as important as working out in the gym.
To achieve your fitness goals, you need to feed your body with the appropriate nutrients. There are many classes of nutrients your body needs. However, three are more prominent than others. They are carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for the brain and body. When carbohydrates are eaten and digested, they are converted into glucose released into the bloodstream. Excess glucose in the body is converted into glycogen, a storage form.
In cases when the blood glucose level begins to drop below the average level, glycogen is converted back to glucose. Carbohydrates are essential for optimal body performance and the growth of muscles. The body requirement for carbohydrates varies across individuals based on body weight, genetics, daily activities, etc.
Ideally, there are different cars of various sizes from different manufacturers with various fuel consumption. When the fuel tank runs dry, the car will not run. Similarly, your brain and other body parts will not function well when your body is low on fuel (carbohydrates).
Whenever protein is mentioned in the fitness arena, one thing comes to mind – gaining lean muscle mass. Proteins are needed for just about all body functions; functioning of organs, immune function, tissue growth and repair, muscle growth, and cell repair.
Studies have shown that the body needs about 0.8 to 3 grams of protein per kg bodyweight to perform optimally. When protein foods are ingested, they are broken down into amino acids, which are then released into the bloodstream. Amino acids are responsible for many functions and processes, including building muscles, transporting nutrients, ensuring tissue growth, serving as an energy source, etc. Therefore, it’d help to eat enough proteins if gaining more muscles is part of your fitness goals.
There are a few misconceptions about fats, but it is crucial to know they are an essential aspect of the nutrient for a healthy human. Also, they play an important part in the fitness journey.
Fats are just another form of fuel, only reserved for later use. They are crucial components of joints, hormones, organ functions, and even the digestion of some other nutrients. The body needs at least 0.5 to 0.8 grams of fat per kg body weight.
To Eat Or Not To Eat Carbs While Trying To Stay Fit?
When people are working out to lose weight or stay fit, a common thing they do is eliminate carbohydrates from their diet completely. To be frank, that is not the way to go.
Remember, carbohydrates are turned into glucose, the primary source of energy that the body runs on. So, when you cut carbs completely from your diet, how do you want your body to perform maximum functions? You would only end up becoming low on energy, irritable, and then sluggish. People who feel these ways can’t achieve their fitness goals.
Sure, eating too many carbs can increase body weight since excess carbs are converted into fats. So you have to supply your body with carbohydrates in the correct quantity to carry out its functions. It is all about moderation.
For instance, if you’ll be having a workout and a physically demanding day right after, you should consider taking a lot of carbs before getting your day started. Similarly, on days you need to relax or do not have many physically demanding activities, you do not need to ingest many carbs.
Should You Take Coffee, Or Not?
This is a popular question among those aiming to stay fit. The truth is that coffee contains nutrients beneficial to your health and fitness. Coffee contains caffeine and antioxidants.
Several studies have also shown caffeine is a natural stimulant that increases our metabolic rates. This is one of the reasons some athletes drink coffee before engaging in workouts. Low to moderate doses of coffee is known to improve athletic performances.
When you drink black coffee about 30 minutes before exercising, your endurance level will increase, and you’ll be able to exercise for a longer period. Coffee can also help improve your mental focus and energy levels. Your workout session will be more effective and productive when you think clearly.
Why Is Nutrition Important In Fitness?
Your nutrition should be your number one priority to achieve your fitness goal, here’s why:
- There Is No Medicine Like A Nutrient-Packed Diet
There’s this saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Have you ever wondered how this is possible? The simple logic is that the apple contains a series of nutrients, including antioxidants, that will help fight against diseases and illness. These antioxidants are also present in other foods and vegetables and protect your cells from potential free radical damage.
In the same vein, when you consume nutrient-packed diets, you are not only doing your body good, you are also keeping the doctor away. And that itself is a form of fitness. Plus, when you combine excellent and appropriate diets with your workout sessions, you can easily reach your fitness goals.
For instance, quercetin, a powerful antioxidant present in many foods like berries, broccoli, onions, and apples, is a potent antioxidant with numerous health benefits. Many athletes have realized the potency of quercetin and used it as a supplement to help reduce muscle inflammation during intense workouts.
A study published by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that quercetin supplementation will significantly improve athletic performance and increase metabolic rate and lean body mass among athletes.
There’s also a molecule called capsaicin present in red peppers. This molecule effectively enhances the rate at which the body burns fat. When you eat diets packed with these nutrients, you’re on the right track to reaching your fitness goals.
- It Burns Your Fats Naturally
For many people, when asked how they plan to burn their fats, the response will probably be using one of the on-sale fat burners. But, do you know that the best fat burners would probably not come in a packaged form but rather by eating foods containing certain compounds?
According to nutrition research, we can increase the rate of fat burning by eating natural foods. Eating these foods that will stimulate and enhance the burning of fats will help you get your body rid of fats more effectively. Also, these foods will be a great supplement to your existing workout routines. Some of the foods are:
- Green tea (caffeine, active component)
- Coffee (caffeine)
- Hot peppers (capsaicin)
- Apples (fiber, aiding component)
- Fatty fish (omega-3- fatty acids)
- Whole grains (fiber and iron)
- Nuts and seeds (essential fatty acids)
Nutrition plays a huge role in reaching your fitness goals – that’s a fact. Therefore, you should make a habit of eating the proper diet in addition to working out. It’d be best to remember that everything is all about moderation. So you need to understand your body’s needs at a particular time. Remember also to take a lot of fluids and get enough sleep.
Nutrition and fitness go hand-in-hand. Find out all you need to know about using nutrition to achieve your fitness goal.