When you start an exercise program you need to review what kind of eating habits you have. Are those habits helping me to thrive in my daily activities and my workout schedule? Does my food intake have the nutrients my body needs to perform?
It is important that as part of your healthy fitness goals, you include learning basic nutrition information to improve the chances of achieving your weight loss, fat loss, maintaining weight, or feeling more energized goal; in addition to understanding the importance of the quality of the food we are consuming.
“Unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States: about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.1 Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.” (Hhs.gov, 2017)
The 2008 Physical Activity Guideline for American reinforces the benefits of good health and the decrease of risk of developing chronic disease by staying physically active and participating in structured exercise on a regular basis (U.S Department of Health & Human Resources 2008). It is recommended to have at least 150 minutes weekly of physical activity. As your Personal Trainer I understand that exercising is beyond esthetics. For me getting leaner is a side effect (every good one). Exercising does much more for you, for example improves your overall health, mood, stress management, increase your energy, self-esteem, and improve sleep.
Ways of becoming more active are:
- Aerobic activities (walking, jogging, swimming, etc.) are any activity that gets your blood pumping and engages large muscle groups.
- Strength training (weight lifting) is any activity that involves the use of resistance to get your bones stronger.
- Balance and stretching activities (Yoga, Pilates, etc.) are any activity that involves stretching and balance exercises to help you improve the range of motion of your joints and muscles.
A well-balanced exercise prescription is needed to prevent injury and make sure your overall health is being improved by using the best exercises and programing that suits your fitness level.
Reviewing and improving (if needed) your eating habits is key to support your exercise program. Unfortunately, many people start a new exercise program but because their eating patterns are not in line with their needs, they do not achieve the changes they are expecting for.
So how to review and make sure you are not sabotaging yourself?
1. Identify what is a healthy eating pattern
The Dietary Guideline 2015-2020 identifies eating healthy as choosing a variety of food to meet nutrients needs within calorie limits. Chose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts. (health.gov). We can identify nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, whole fruits, grains, dairy and soy beverages, nuts, seeds, legumes, seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs. For instance, try reducing added sugar, preservatives, saturated fat, and sodium in your daily meals.
2. How many daily calories do I need
One of the first step you will do with me as your personal trainer is identifying how many calories you need. A calorie is the energy release by food that gives you the fuel to perform.
Think about this: You are buying the last model (very expensive) car and the salesman is telling you that the car needs to be fueled with the premium gas. Are you going to fuel it with regular gas? If you that chances are the car won’t long you too long or perform as should. The same with your body, it is you very expensive, special edition body and needs the best fuel to perform.
3. Know your food nutrients
Not all calories are equal. Therefore, knowing your macronutrient (carbs, protein, and fat) will help you in building an effective meal that supports your fitness goal. A general rule on building your meal is having colorful plate with carbohydrates, lean protein, and a healthy fat. Aim for a well-balanced amount of those 3 nutrients.