You cannot talk about physical fitness without also discussing proper nutrition. Their relationship to each other is integral both in the optimal functioning of your body, and in realizing any health and fitness goals that you have developed for yourself.
The Nutrition Plan
Reaching your fitness goals is sort of like putting all of these jigsaw puzzle pieces together, of which the nutrition plan is one of the puzzle pieces. Finding a nutritious way of eating that is sustainable and satisfying is the most important part of the puzzle!
There certainly isn’t a one size fits all approach to nutrition. Outlined below is the method that works for me. I have been eating this way for over 6 years. It is not a fad diet. It is a way of eating that you can maintain for life as long as you display a little discipline.
Changing the way that you eat is a process in much the same way as developing a solid fitness routine is a process. That is, it doesn’t happen overnight! Eating healthy happens one choice at a time.
The Weight Loss Equation
Losing weight is a simple enough equation. Burn more calories than you consume, and you lose weight. On the other hand, consume more calories than you burn, and you gain weight.
So where do you begin among all of the gimmicky diet plans? To be sure, different things are going to work for different people, but here is some sound advice for achieving a lean and toned physique!
Keeping a food journal is essential, particularly if you are just beginning on a new path and healthier lifestyle. A lot of people will state as a matter of fact that they eat pretty healthy. When I probe a little deeper and ask them what that means, the answers become somewhat muddled. Eating healthy means different things to different people.
A lot of people are initially opposed to keeping a food journal. It sounds like work! Well yeah, I’ve never said anywhere in this blog that weight loss or fitness is easy. Nothing worthwhile is.
The important thing is that you need to know exactly where you’re starting from. If you haven’t seriously kept a food journal before, I guarantee that you don’t exactly know what eating healthy means. Come back and tell me exactly what your daily intake of carbohydrate percentage is and I’ll know that you’re serious about getting into optimal health, and serious about managing your weight and body fat percentage.
My series “Keep A Food Journal With Myfitnesspal” will point you in the right direction to begin making life-changing decisions.
Figuring out exactly what it is that you’re eating will help you sort out the many variables that lie in the way of your goals. You’ll have the tools and the information that you’ll need in order to find the caloric range that’s right for you, and recognize other factors involved such as age, gender, weight, height and general fitness.
Make Smart Choices
We truly are the sum of our choices. The first choice that you can implement today is to begin by eliminating sweetened beverages from your daily caloric intake.
My personal training clients and the readers of this blog have presented some very good questions on a variety of nutritional topics. Below are some links to the answers that I’ve provided them and posted here in order to help anyone else who has the same questions.
Problem Areas: How To Lose Underarm Fat, Belly Fat, Butt Fat, and Thigh Fat – This article explains the best strategy for dealing with undesirable body fat.
Hardgainer: How A Skinny Guy Can Get Muscles – For many people, putting on weight is an issue. This article is a how-to guide for a beefier physique.
Get Ripped: The Truth About 6 Pack Abs – Are 6 pack abs the holy grail of fitness? If this is the goal that you’re after, then this article is a must read on how to reach your goal!
Eat Whole Foods With Natural Ingredients!
DO: Eat lean proteins (poultry, fish, other white meats and beans), fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and berries!
Here are some articles that provide guidance for making healthy choices:
Protein Substitutes – Whether you are a vegetarian or are looking to add more variety to your diet, this article explains many different types of protein sources.
Healthy Snacks: Hummus and Carrots – A look at one of my favorite, healthy snacks.
Spinach vs. Lettuce – Salads don’t need to be boring! Find out how to make a delicious meal even more healthy by using spinach instead of lettuce. Can you also think of ways to add protein substitutes to your salad?
I Think They’re Nuts: Raw Almonds vs. Dry Roasted Almonds – See what I have to say about this nutritious and delicious whole foods snack!
Why Use Protein Powder – This article explains the benefits for men and women of using protein powder in your nutrition plan.
Avoid Processed Foods
A whole foods approach is a way of eating that you can maintain for the rest of your life. Whenever possible, eat foods that have one ingredient. That ingredient should be the name of the food. Examples include turkey, broccoli, and avocado.
Do your best to stay away from food that comes in boxes and have ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
Processed foods wreck your body’s natural metabolism!
The chemicals in processed foods affect the way your body digests, spike insulin levels, and leave you with lower energy levels and feeling hungrier sooner! Items labeled diet are misleading. They might be lower in calories through artificial means; however, due to the ways they affect natural insulin levels, they alter your normal digestive processes.
Here are a few of the recipes that I’ve written about on this blog. Check out my recipes page for even more nutritious recipes.
- Slow Cooked Chili
- Grilled Asparagus
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Beets With Balsamic Glaze
- Steamed Acorn Squash
- Sauteed Kale With Tahini Sauce
- Slow Cooked Lemon Pepper Cornish Hens
- Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake
- Chocolate Peppermint Protein Shake
- Vanilla Latte Protein Shake
Ideally, you’ll get everything you need from a whole foods plan, but I realize that there is this thing called reality! It’s OK to include some cheat meals into your nutrition plan.
For even more information on nutrition, check out the nutrition category on my blog!