Everyone is familiar with the fact that nutrition plays an important role in fitness – whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight or maintain yourself. You can push yourself and exercise all you want, but if your diet isn’t controlled, it’s likely you may not see the results you’re looking for.
For someone looking to lose weight, it’s important to follow a diet with a calorie deficit, i.e. less calories than one usually consumes in day. In case of weight gain, one would have to follow a calorie surplus, or consume excess calories than they would normally to maintain their weight.
What are the factors of nutrition to pay attention to?
While it seems easy to track nutrition in terms of calories, there are several other tiny factors that also come into play, like the nutrients being consumed in your meals – macro and micro
Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fat. These are the base of all our meals and what we look at first when it comes to choosing food that’s good for us and our development. People looking to lose and gain weight will always opt for nutrition plans that are high in protein. Protein helps repair and build muscles.
Carbohydrates are where our body gets its energy from, so these are also important for everyone. Of course, the carbs consumed by those looking to put on mass are higher than those who want to shed a few pounds.
Fats are important to regulate various metabolic processes, including the absorption of micronutrients. Contrary to popular belief, fats are an essential nutrient.
What matters is what type of fat you put into your body. Unsaturated fats are those that are naturally occurring, found in animal products, nuts, seeds, etc. These comprise omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are healthy for the heart.
Saturated fats are those that have been processed and can prove extremely harmful for the body. These are found in fried foods and processed meats. Preservatives are added to these foods, which are often developed from saturated fats.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, which are consumed in smaller doses. These nutrients facilitate various metabolic processes in the body and even improve them when taken as supplements.
Sure, it’s easy to track calories. However, we often lose sight of how much of what is going into our bodies. Having a free pass to consume more calories doesn’t mean you load up on cheeseburgers and potato chips. It is doubtful you will get the gains you’re looking for. Similarly, sticking to a high protein diet doesn’t mean you turn to the processed meats and frozen foods section of the supermarket.
While exercise is definitely important to improve quality of life, nutrition goes hand in hand with it. You cannot simply choose to work on one while completely ignoring the other. If you really want to see results, you need to make sure you follow a nutrition plan that complements your workout schedule. You cannot exercise a bad diet off. It just doesn’t work that way. Stick to natural, whole foods.
To find what plans work best for you, you may contact a nutrition expert in your area. Even if you think it’s unnecessary, it may end up being the best investment you make for your health.
Q. DO you track your daily calories?