Eating well is crucial to fitness, but what exactly does the phrase “eat well” mean? For different people with different body compositions and goals it means different things. While there are many schools of thought about what constitutes a healthy diet and what foods should be consumed for the ultimate workout results, there are several common questions about nutrition that can be answered from a general standpoint.
#1: How should I change my diet?
If you are new to nutrition and fitness, you are probably wondering what is wrong with the way you currently eat. For starters, there is no need to overhaul your entire eating habits, but it’s important to discuss your current diet with a fitness coach to identify any deficiencies in the diet. The most common deficiencies we find are in protein, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. Many who are just starting to be conscious about their diet also intake too much sugar. Adding a bit more protein, vegetables, good fats and drinking plenty of water while also reducing sugar is a good place to start.
#2: Should I be counting calories?
Having a general awareness of the food that you put into your body is the main thing to develop when improving your dietary habits. Counting calories makes logical sense in the most basic way: the more calories you put in the more you have to burn to avoid weight gain; however that is simply not how humans eat. Counting calories is also not a precise science. A handy guide to consider is using your very own hand to determine portion sizes:
- The palm of your hand holds the amount of protein you need
- The size of your fist is how large your vegetable serving should be
- A cupped hand represents how many carbs you should intake
- Your thumb is the size of your fat portion
#3: Are carbs bad for me?
This really depends on your lifestyle. If you are invested in your health and looking to start or continue with a regular fitness routine, carbs play a complex role in your diet. The idea that a low-carb diet is the key to weight loss may work for some people, but long-term eating too few carbs while maintaining an active lifestyle can have negative consequences on different bodily functions. Your metabolism can slow down, levels of cortisol (stress hormone) increase while testosterone (muscle-building hormone) decreases.
Bottom line, there are good carbs you should incorporate into your diet, such as carbs from whole grains, fruit, sweet potatoes, beans, and legumes. Unprocessed carbs in moderation are part of a healthy diet.
#4: What is the best diet to follow?
This question implies that there is one diet out there that works for everyone when in reality, the human body can adapt to various kinds of diets. The best diet for you must meet your needs. Things to consider when discussing diet with your nutritionist or coach include your physiology, your dietary preferences and any restrictions you may have for health or moral reasons, your budget, and the time you have to work with to prepare foods.
#5: How much weight loss before I see health benefits?
Proper nutrition and exercise are the key to healthy and consistent weight loss. To start seeing any kind of health benefits, gradual weight loss is best. Even losing as little as 5% of body fat can improve your blood pressure, cholesterol levels blood sugar and triglycerides, reducing your chances of developing chronic diseases that come from obesity.
At PumpFit club we are passionate about helping others find their own passion for personal fitness and good health. Come visit us today and try a free pump in our Fort Lauderdale location!