We'd like to take some time to focus on one of the most common pieces of advice that we see so many people neglecting. Sure, many people hit the gym, get on a decent workout regiment and kick a few bad habits to the side in the pursuit of personal wellness, but it seems like most people rarely put the same energy into maintaining well-balanced nutrition and diets. Be it the convenience of other foods, personal taste or any of the countless excuses that enter the mix, the fact remains we'd see many more results if we paired our physical programs with smarter eating.
Food is Fuel
Simply put, food is fuel. What does your body run on these days? Are you trying to take your workouts to the next level on a tank full of sweets, leftover pizza and that boxed wine from a few days back? Are you trying to make gains while scarfing down processed foods, high fructose corn syrup and ingredients you can't pronounce?
It's incredible how far a little effort can go in this department. Even if the thought of micros and macros is too intimidating, you can still start small and work lean proteins, fresh produce and natural vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet. Set yourself up for success and target one meal per day. If you can apply healthy eating habits to breakfast more often than not, chances are you can begin shaping other meals too. Without getting too nerdy and scientific, physical activity and diet play a tremendous role in how your body metabolizes food (translating food into energy), stores fat and builds muscle. If you're not giving your gut quality fuel, you can't expect optimal results.
Recovery through Nutrition
Ever heard the term pre-workout? Post-workout? It's not rocket science but it is spot on. The body uses nutrients differently at different times throughout a workout. If you hope to grow leaner, stronger and more fit, it's vital you understand this concept.
As you put your body through intentional strain and tension (aka working out) it begins to break down muscle fibers and build anew. The "micro tears" in the muscles and the natural response to reconstruct on top of them is the basic process by which we gain muscle mass, tone and definition. As such, it's super important that as you fuel your body with foods, you consider which are most helpful in times of muscle recovery. This will help you build endurance and resilience over time. Amino acids and fats, for instance, are key players at this stage.
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In the world of fitness, there's no cheating the system. The corners you cut and the components you neglect impact you and you alone. If you're religious about the gym but still eat like the dorm days or you're simply not seeing the results you had in mind, examine your diet. Peak performance is only accessible to those who are disciplined in mind, body and spirit. Never underestimate how a committed nutrtion plan can condition the mental and physical side to follow suit.