HOW YOUR DIET CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR FITNESS GOALS.

I’m sure you’ve given thought to how important diet is in regards to achieving your fitness goals! Your diet and what you put into your body can literally make or break a fitness program. Your body is very much like a computer, smart phone or vehicle. What you put into your system is what you get out of it. If you don’t take care of your body by eating healthy, on a daily basis, your body will not operate efficiently. It will eventually begin to break down. You have to feed your body quality fuel for optimal energy and performance.

If you ingest huge quantities of processed, junk food you will feel sluggish, lethargic and slow. The wrong foods will quickly derail your fitness goals and your body image plans… Also, If you over fill your tank by continually eating large portions you will feel lackluster and experience low energy.

If body fat reduction is your primary goal, 70% of that process rests with your diet and cardio exercise activity, while the other 30% involves adding lean muscle mass to your frame to stoke the fire. You want your metabolism to be operating at a very high level and to be ultra efficient in burning calories.

Here are 4 Principles to follow, which will aid in keeping your diet on track:

  1. Use the 40/30/30 ratio for each meal; 40% Carbohydrates, 30% Protein, 30% Fat and eat a little protein with each meal.
  2. Eat at least 3 small meals and 1 or 2 snacks every day. Eat a small meal every 2 ½ to 3 hours and
    keep in mind portion control and moderation are key. If you eat every few hours you will never be ravenous. A typical portion is whatever fits in the palm of your hand.
  3. Eat good carbohydrates versus bad carbohydrates and eat your carbohydrates strategically, while ingesting foods that are high in fiber. Eat the bulk of your carbohydrates in the morning or early afternoon hours so your body will strategically utilize them. Choose foods that are low to moderate on the GI index such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts versus high GI foods such as white bread, white rice, pretzels and rice cakes.
  4. Choose fresh produce and lean cuts of meats over processed and manmade foods. Reduce processed foods down to a bare minimum.

These are four straight forward principles that you can follow to ensure you are eating the right foods, at the right times in the right portions. Eating right prior to, or after a workout or sport event, is just as important and requires a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Good Pre-Workout Foods.
You want to make sure your pre-workout foods are low in fat content so they are more easily digestible so your body does not waste energy on digestion unnecessarily. Eat light with a snack versus a full blown heavy meal. In this way you will then have optimal energy for your workout or sport event. Here are some good pre-workout snacks:

Trail mix or a mix of raisons and almonds
Banana or apple with peanut butter
Lettuce wrap with a slice of turkey and dab of mustard
Oatmeal with a scoop of whey protein
Promax energy bar

Good Post-Workout Foods.
You want to make sure your post workout meal is high in complex carbohydrates and protein to refuel your muscles and replenish your glycogen (energy) stores. Eat carbohydrate-rich foods within 30 to 90 minutes after your workout. Because your blood flow is increased and your muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin immediately after your workout, you’ll get the best results if you consume recovery foods within this time frame. Don’t forget the protein… 10 grams to 20 grams is ideal in your post-workout snack or meal to help replenish glycogen stores more quickly, and to stimulate muscle growth and repair. Here are some good post workout meals:

Salmon, spinach and sweet potato
Egg white omelet with avocado
Tuna, brown rice and Vegetables
Protein shake or a high protein nutrition bar
Chicken and mixed vegetables
Promax energy bar

Lastly, don’t forget to rehydrate your body by drinking lots of fluids, preferably water, after your workout which will also help flush out toxins, waste product and lactic acid.

Make your diet work for you instead of against you! Eat foods that support your exercise and fitness goals. You will achieve your goals faster with much less effort and save yourself much redundant work in the process.

By Michael George

Michael George is an internationally recognized author, lifestyle coach and fitness expert transforming the health and fitness field with his innovative training philosophies and motivational voice.

 

INJURY PREVENTION.

We exercise for a myriad of reasons. Some of these include the reduction of body fat, weight management, mental health, to feel better or just for the overall positive health benefits. However, there are certain injury prevention protocols that should be followed. The last thing any of us wants is prolonged downtime in the form of a preventable injury.

Here are a few protocols to follow.

Always warm up prior to any exercise activity. Warming up is important as it prepares the body and the mind for physical exertion. Warming up the body increases circulation, helps ligaments, tendons and muscles loosen up and slowly moves you into the mindset of “Okay now it’s time to work out”.

I always suggest light stretching immediately after the warm-up with more intense stretching at the end of a good workout. Again it is important to get the body ready for exercise. Light stretching at the outset does this. Include stretches for the entire body with more emphasis on injury prone areas such as the hamstrings, groin area and the lower back. At the end of each workout, when your muscles are warmer and more pliable, you can move into deeper stretching, while focusing on lengthening by holding stretches longer.

It’s important to know the difference between muscles soreness, a minor twinge or strain and a more serious injury. Typical muscle soreness is normal and a condition you really want to work through. You do this by warming up, light stretching and participating in your workout with maybe light modifications to sore muscle groups.

If you feel a minor twinge or strain during your workout or during physical activity know that this is a common occurrence. Almost everyone strains or pulls a muscle or one time or another. Typically, you will feel a sharp pain followed by a dull ache. When this happens stop whatever you are doing and end your workout for the day. Use the PRICE acronym; prevention, rest, ice, compression, elevation are the typical protocol for most minor strains or pulls. Here is the PRICE protocol.

Prevention: Protect an injury from further damage. Do not put excess strain on the injured area until the pain is completely gone.

Rest: Give an injury time to heal. This is very important as many people try to return to their normal routine before the injury has healed properly and end up reinjuring the area, which in turn creates longer downtime.

Ice: Use ice (ice packs) to reduce the pain and inflammation for the first 3 to 5 days after an injury. A top orthopedist once told me if every one of his patients would ice an injury he would be out of business.

Compression: Wrap the injured area if need be to reduce swelling.

Elevation: Elevate the injury above the heart to reduce the flow of blood to the injured area and reduce the swelling as well.

A more serious injury such as a sharp, excruciating snap or pop with continued, localized pain requires greater attention. Injuries like a pulled groin muscle, bad ankle sprain or severe tendinitis need to be addressed immediately. Stop all exercise that affects an injured area and see a qualified orthopedist or doctor immediately. A qualified medical professional can advise you on the extent of the injury and the proper protocol to follow as well as your exercise guidelines.

Stay away from weekend warrior mania! I know it’s a blast to go out with the buddies on the weekends for that pickup game of hoops, flag football, tennis or mountain biking. It feels great to go back in time and participate in sporting activities you did in your youth. You just have to remember your current age and fitness condition and don’t try to turn back the clock in one day. There is nothing wrong with participating in sports; however, as you get older it becomes even more important to warm up properly and to do some light stretching before any sport or exercise activity. Injuries can and do happen so you don’t need to encourage them.

Lastly, make sure you always cool down after any exercise session or sporting event. Rehydrate and give your body some recuperation time. Improper cool down can result in greater lactic acid build up and onset muscle soreness. Dehydration and insufficient rest saps you of needed energy.

So go out and have fun. Be active, but also be smart about it.

By Michael George

Michael George is an internationally recognized author, lifestyle coach and fitness expert transforming the health and fitness field with his innovative training philosophies and motivational voice.