In order for our bodies to function properly and stay healthy, it is important that we follow a good nutritious diet. Foods are made up of 6 classes of nutrients. These nutrients are macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and water. If you neglect to have the right combination of these 6 items, it will be very difficult to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve your weight loss goals!
If you have read any of my articles, you will see how I place such a big emphasis on the 3 macronutrients as they are the backbone to achieving your weight loss or fitness goals! With that being said, I will give you a brief description of the 6 classes of nutrients and explain why they are essential to live a healthy lifestyle.
Good Nutrition Provides The Building Blocks of Muscle
When you eat foods that contain protein, they are broken down in the body as amino acids. These amino acids are then used to build and repair any muscle tissue. This is great for those who are physically active or exercise regularly. This means you will be able to recover at a faster rate than if you were not to consume protein. Every tissue in your body is made up of protein and it is important to consume enough through your diet to replenish it. Protein is also needed to help your immune and nervous system.
Good Nutrition Provides Energy
The analogy I think of when discussing nutrition and our bodies is that of a race car. You need to put fuel in it every so often, change the oil and get new tires in order to maintain optimal performance. If you fail to do these things, eventually your body will break down and be worthless. However, if the right steps are taken, you will be well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle and reaping the benefits that come with this.
Foods such as carbohydrates give you energy to function properly throughout your day. In fact, muscle glycogen is an important element to helping you maintain your energy levels throughout your day. When carbs are ingested your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps the carbs to be stored in the muscles or as fat. Stored carbs in the body are also known as glycogen. Glycogen (stored carbohydrates) is important to have in your body before working out. They will be an energy supply and not only enable you to achieve better fat loss results, but also help your overall physique.
Good Nutrition and Fats?
One of the most common dieting myths is that fats will make you fat. First and Foremost, without fats you will not be able to survive. They are one of the three macronutrients. Stored fats are our main source of energy.
Fats yield 9 calories per gram. They also help to keep our body warm during cold weather. Fats lubricate joints which in terms, keeps your muscles loose and mobile for better workouts. Fats are also a dwelling spot for fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are stored in our body’s fat and can become toxic if too much is taken.
The common misconception I see is that most people do not know the difference between saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. For more information, check out my Truth About Fats Article.
It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. If you’re a regular runner, you know how much your legs and feet can take until you just need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s where injuries can happen.
This is likely the first thing you learned about strength training. When you lift weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. But without a proper period of rest for your immune system to repair and grow the muscle, you’re not going to get the benefit of your training. That’s why you need to vary the muscle groups you engage on staggered days.
In general, it takes your body almost two weeks of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.
Is your sleep data all over the place? Over-training could be the culprit. Too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness or on high alert making a good night’s sleep tough to achieve. A telltale sign is an increase in your resting heart rate. Taking those rest day can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a night of sound sleep.
During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. And then? You guessed it: injuries.
From a psychological standpoint, taking a rest period can rekindle your hunger for exercise and help prevent burnout. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.
So what can you do to get your mind set on rest? For starters, you’re going to have to make the mental adjustment to understanding and believing that you can take days off. It’s good for you, for all the reasons listed above.
Just like setting your daily steps goals, set your rest goals. Plot out a schedule and pick your weekly rest days; one or two days where you limit your activity to allow your body/muscles to recover. Use your tracker to limit your active minutes. If you’re a huge step-count achiever, give yourself a day where you limit even your walking to a weekly minimum. And don’t forget that active recovery is also hugely beneficial, and a standard routine of stretching or light yoga to improve flexibility and circulation can be especially valuable.
Of course, sleep is so important to your general rest and well-being, so use your tracer to improve your quality and amount of sleep. A solid pattern of sleep will help you be your best on your most active days.
We all know that exercise is important in our daily lives, but we may not know why or what exercise can do for us.
It’s important to remember that we have evolved from nomadic ancestors who spent all their time moving around in search of food and shelter, travelling large distances on a daily basis. Our bodies are designed and have evolved to be regularly active.
In the same way that a sports car is designed to go fast, we are designed to move. If the sports car is taken out once a week for a 3 mile round trip through a town centre then it would probably develop engine problems fairly quickly.
Over time people too develop problems if they sit down all day at a desk or in front of the TV and minimise the amount of exercise they do.