Nutrition And Fitness: More Connected Than You Think
See how deeply nutrition impacts our well-being.
Today, physical appearance and abilities, emotional well-being and objective measurement are some of the many contexts we’ve associated with fitness. Considered together, we use them to paint a picture of one’s personal health. But no matter how you look at it, being fit isn’t something you can achieve and check off your list. On the contrary, following a health regimen is a lifelong journey where one can always improve and maximize results. And what better way to do that than by understanding nutrition and its importance?
Impact of nutrition on the body
‘You can’t out-exercise a bad diet’ – We’ve all heard this phrase; it’s the bottom line when it comes to having a healthy body. Good nutritional habits have a far greater impact on body composition than any other component. It’s only when a combination of exercise and healthy food are implemented that successful physical transformation happens. Nutrition preserves health, increases physical performance, builds muscle mass, boosts power and reduces your body’s recovery time.
Warding off illnesses
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates.
Though centuries old, the quote above acknowledges the importance of healthy eating and how nutrients in various foods have healing properties. The more fit you are, the more dedicatedly you can follow your fitness regime. What you eat plays a big role in how well your body can wage war against invading pathogens. Your immune system is best prepared to take action against bacteria and viruses when you choose foods that provide a steady stream of key nutrients. This, in turn, gauges your fitness level. On the other hand, a poor diet can cause various illnesses that can prevent you from adhering to your workout routine.
Role of nutrition in physical fitness
One of the most commonly asked questions thrown around fitness is “What percentage of my fitness goals will be a result of working out, and what percentage will be a result of eating right?” And the answer is always either a 60-20 or 70-30 ratio, or the vaguer “both are 100% important”. Hmm!
Let’s take quantitative relations out of the equation for a second and apply some logic to exercise and nutrition. The average joe may perform 3-4 weight training sessions and 3-4 cardio workouts per week. This gives 6-8 opportunities to make a positive change in your body through exercise. That same person eats 3-4 healthy meals per day. If aware of the value of meal spacing, he or she may eat 5 to 6 times per day. That means there are around 21-35 chances per week to directly and positively impact fat burning and muscle building goals through nutrition.
Nutrition boosts mental wellness
The benefits of monitoring your nutrition go way beyond your physical well-being. It is a key factor in preventing age-related decline in cognition and improving overall neuropsychological function. The increased synthesis of neurotrophic factors in the body and the resulting neurogenesis in various brain structures is mainly responsible for these effects. Proper nourishment also has antidepressant effects and has been found to serve as both a means to prevent and treat addictions. Overall, the right nutritional intake makes one feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have a sharp memory and feel more relaxed and positive about oneself – which is the definition of mental fitness.
Timing of your pre and post-workout meal is key
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a fitness veteran, fueling your body with the right nutrients before exercise gives you the energy you need to perform better. Eating before and after exercise has been the subject of much research and debate in recent decades. Considerable debate surrounds the timing, types of meals & supplements and maximizing dietary response to training. But almost all studies agree that pre-workout nutrition is vital in providing the substrates necessary to fuel a workout, repair damaged tissues, and replenish the body’s energy reserves between sets. What’s more, the body tries to rebuild its glucose stores and regrow those muscle proteins post workout. Consuming the right nutrients soon after exercising can help your body ‘heal’ faster.
The term ‘fitness’ holds different interpretations for different people. For the unhealthy, a wide range of workouts is crucial for leading a happy, disease-free life. For the average enthusiast, running, walking, or swimming are ways to keep in shape. For the fitness freaks, hitting the gym four to five times a week is more than just a hobby; it’s a religion. While for any sportsperson, a hard-core exercise regimen that pushes them to their absolute limits is THE WAY to achieve career success.
But no matter what category you might belong to, in the end, nutrition can help you maintain a healthy fitness regimen. These two aspects of your life are more connected than you think!