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:
- Use the 40/30/30 ratio for each meal; 40% Carbohydrates, 30% Protein, 30% Fat and eat a little protein with each meal.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.