To reach your full potential with an effective exercise program, your nutritional intake must become an integral part of the whole process. The types of foods you eat as well as when you eat them are key to recovery and regeneration after exercise, providing energy throughout the day , as well as overall health and vitality. Developing good nutritional habits doesn’t have to be difficult if you start by following a few simple guidelines. Follow these Nutritional Commandments and you will be well on your way to gaining lean muscle and dropping excess bodyfat.
1. Eat a balanced diet – I know it sounds so simple but how many of us actually do this? Aim to consume an ideal proportion of carbohydrates (40%), proteins (30%), and fats (30% primarily from good unsaturated sources) on a daily basis. Try to eat each meal in these proportions to regulate blood sugar levels and properly fuel the body prior to and after exercise. Aim to consume carbohydrates from unrefined sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic whole grains. Choose high quality proteins such seafood, chicken, beans and lean cuts of red meat. Fats should be consumed from primarily unsaturated sources such as nuts, olive oil, as well as fish and seafood.
2. Jumpstart your day with a good breakfast – It’s true what they say… Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Always try to get the day started off right with a nutritious and balanced meal, as this will provide your mind and body with the energy it needs. Skipping breakfast can cause the body to go into a state of starvation that slows the metabolism making it more difficult to burn fat. Never deprive your body of nutrients when it needs them. Organic oatmeal with fresh berries or a protein smoothie is a great way to start your day.
3. Water, Water, Water – The fact that water makes up over 80% of your total body composition, makes it the most important nutrient you can consume. Proper metabolic function and regulation of appetite and body temperature are a few of the main purposes this fluid serves. Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest ways to detoxify the body allowing one to burn fat more efficiently. Aim to drink at least 8 tall glasses a day and even more on days when you are exercising. DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES – especially if you are trying to get leaner. As opposed to coffee, soda, and fruit juices, let water be your main beverage of choice on a daily basis. Try to carry a water bottle with you so you can sip periodically throughout the day.
4. Consume protein with every meal – This not only helps to keep the diet balanced, but also helps to maintain strong bones and joints, enhance recovery after exercise, and helps to regulate hunger and blood sugar levels throughout the day. Nuts, lean meats, seafood, and protein supplements are great choices.
5. Eat raw, whole foods whenever possible – To increase shelf life and production volume, numerous types of foods are processed or refined. This reduces the nutritional value of the food and can be quite toxic to the body. When making food choices, think of the way life used to be 100 years ago and consume raw, whole, and natural sources. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, beans and lentils should serve as the foundation of your food choices. Avoid foods that come in a box or can as they usually contain large amounts of preservatives, additives, and artificial flavoring. If it’s man-made, forget about it!
Those are just a few tips to get you started, in part 2 we’ll take a look at some more guidelines that will help you look and feel awesome.
What does your daily nutrition look like? What do you struggle with the most? Drop a comment below!