Eating To Achieve Your Fitness Goals
In 2017, the most common new year's resolutions in the UK were to eat better and to exercise more. However, by the end of 2017, 6 in 10 Brits had failed to keep their resolutions. Now that we're at the midway point of the year, many of us Bristolians are in need of some extra help to stay on the fitness track. There is a clear link between nutrition and the success of training programs, regardless of whether they are focused on cardio or strength. How does what you eat and when you eat it affect your ability to achieve your fitness goals?
Training periodisation, breaking down your programme into different training phases, is well known by athletes of all levels. Nutritional periodisation involves adjusting the quantity and composition of your food intake according to your training demands at any given time. As the intensity of the training phases change, so should your nutritional intake. However, it should be noted that some foods should be eaten all year long. For example foods rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, E and zinc such as sweet potatoes, carrots and squash will improve immune function and reduce illness and fatigue. It is also wise to choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats.
Building A Base
During the summer, or any other time when you're lucky enough to go on holiday, you're likely to over-indulge. It's calculated that the average person on an all-inclusive holiday might enjoy more than 5,000 calories per day. Therefore the first step of your training and exercising is to cut down on carbs. This is because when glycogen stores (the way carbs are stored in your body) are depleted, your body will use fat stores to provide energy which subsequently burns fat and helps you to lose weight. Alongside cutting carbs, you should eat more protein as well as good fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Protein-rich foods include lean meat, poultry, fish, egg whites, yogurt, milk, tofu, pulses, nuts as well as pre-packaged boxes of protein supplements.
Once you have a good base, it is time to increase your training and change the way you eat. Although eating protein is still important for building and repairing muscle, when combined with carbs in a post-workout meal, protein increases the rate at which your muscles restore glycogen to pre-workout levels. However, in order to be able to train harder for longer, you will also need to increase the carbs in your diet to provide the energy your muscles need. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, quinoa, pasta, sweet potato and fruit.
Nutrition is key to achieving your fitness objectives, no matter what they are. Matching your nutrition to your training plan will maximise the benefits of your fitness regime.