While daily physical activity is an essential part of our wellbeing, you can’t reap all of its benefits unless you pair it with a good diet. You truly are what you eat, and you can’t make much progress unless you clean up your habits and turn to healthy, quality food to sustain you. Regardless of what your fitness goal might be, nutrition is essential, and we’re here to show you why and to offer some tips on how you can improve your diet.
There’s no way to out-exercise a bad diet
If you want to be fit, you need to eat well—there’s no way around it. A lot of people justify eating that large hamburger because they plan to exercise later, but in reality, that’s simply not how things work. Junk food has a lot of calories in it, and even if you were to run for a full hour on the treadmill, it’s unlikely you’d lose enough to cover one meal. Besides, it’s not just about the calorie loss, it’s the fact that you’re not supplying your body with anything useful—far too many carbs, far too much fat, and far too much sodium. You’re not getting any of the vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants that you need, and it’s likely that you’re still going to stay hungry at the end of it. In truth, fitness is about the combination of a good diet and a sustainable workout routine that you can stick to every day.
Food and fast metabolism
Proper nutrition can actually speed up your metabolism and make it easier to maintain your weight. Things like green tea, hot peppers, apples, yogurt, fish, whole grains, and black coffee are natural metabolism boosters that will make your workouts more effective and speed up your weight loss with ease. Sugary snacks and other junk, on the other hand, tend to slow it down and make us feel heavy and sluggish.
Get into the habit of eating cooked meals
The best way to avoid harmful additives and too many calories is to eat simple, homemade meals. There’s nothing healthier than some cooked veggies served with skinless chicken because you don’t have to worry about added salt, fat, or carbs. Of course, not all of us have time to cook, and sometimes you just want to go for an easy, immediately-available option. In that case, it’s a good idea to find places that make good healthy fast food with quality ingredients that you can eat without any guilt. It’s also a good idea to cook in advance—make a big batch on Sunday evening that you can divide into several containers. Keep these in the fridge and then open one when it’s lunch-time.
Protein for muscle-building
Even if weight loss isn’t your focus and you just want to become stronger, food is still essential. Protein is the building block of muscles, and every professional bodybuilder and athlete knows that you need to up your intake if you want to bulk up. Those who wish to look lean rather than bulky still need a lot of protein, but they should cut down on carbs and fat to make sure the muscles are actually visible. Foods like eggs, chicken breast, Greek yogurt, salmon, and cottage cheese can satisfy your nutritional needs for protein, but you can also rely on shakes. Simply find a few good recipes and whip up a nice shake to drink as your post-workout snack.
Finding the right balance
To reiterate—you can’t have either one or the other. Fitness requires the commitment to both eat well and exercise, but this doesn’t need to be all that difficult. In fact, making it easy for yourself is the key! The whole point is to cook delicious healthy meals that you truly enjoy eating and to have fun workouts that make you feel strong and motivated. Make a lifestyle change that you’ll stick to every day of your life rather than focusing only on temporary progress.
Educating yourself about nutrition is one of the most important parts of living a healthy life. Eat good food, supplement the habit with regular workouts, and you’ll soon be in the best shape of your life!