By Sensei Robbie Alexander, NSCA-CPT
Based on several factors, your diet accounts for 50-70% of most health and fitness goals, from fat loss and muscle gain to more impressive athletic performances. Looking to experience more results from your training while naturally boosting your immune system? Make a few minor adjustments in the way you shop for food and you will begin to see more dynamically positive results.
Why the 50-70% number? Consider the last time you pushed yourself at work or were preparing for an exam or planning and preparing for an event on an empty stomach because you were pressed for time. Fueling your body and preparing it for life’s challenges is simple, but like most things, takes a little planning to get it just right. With that in mind, when was the last time you compared nutritional information on food labels? The better question is, are you reading them correctly and according to your individual body type, body composition and goals? Let’s review what you should consider when planning and shopping for your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks every week.
It’s All Relative
Contrary to what you’ve most likely been programmed to think, nutritional guidelines are not a binary, written in stone, one size fits all law that everyone must obey. If that were the case, then the suggested food servings for a 5-foot-4, 150-pound, sedentary woman would be the same for a 6-foot-2, 200-pound, competitive athletic man. Right?
Beyond just trying to stop your stomach from growling, why do you eat what you eat? How much carbs, fats and proteins should you be consuming at each meal? Is your goal to perform better for an athletic event or do you wish to boost your metabolism by gaining muscle weight? Is your desire to become active for the first time and to lose 30 pounds of fat? Are you a teenager or are you pushing your 90th Birthday? Want to become a runner, a fighter, lifter, obstacle course racer or all of the above? Do you train five hours a day or are you lucky if you get in a couple hours per week? Consider these factors before reading labels. Nutritional success is more than just a calories in, calories out battle. It is more about you supplying the nutritional needs for the goals you are shooting for.
Your macronutrient intake should be determined by your lifestyle and functional goals. Getting a nice juicy bacon burger at the end of the week may be just what your body needs in order for you to accomplish your fitness goals. Research that and prepare for an interesting shock.
When reading labels, keep in mind the fact that in order to accomplish more training goals as well as develop a more efficient body, read the ingredients more than just the serving sizes and nutritional percentages since, at the cellular level, you are exactly what you eat. Get those goals!
Remember, real health begins with inner wealth.
You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness or nutritional program to determine if it is right for your needs. This publication offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read in this article. The use of any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.