What’s on your plate?

healthy food for fitness

They say abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym but to what extent does nutrition impact performance, body composition and general health over exercise? Well, the answer is, a lot.

You could train for hours and hours every day but if your nutrition is not right, you won’t be getting the best out of your workouts and you certainly won’t be seeing the results you expect. The macronutrient ratio is key – this is the ratio of carbs, protein and fat and is a highly individual thing, largely dependent on existing body composition and daily levels of activity.

Broadly speaking, you want to be reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet and increasing protein. This will enable the body’s organs to function more efficiently and will reduce the blood sugar spikes and dips characterised by a carbohydrate-heavy diet. What’s more, protein aids recovery, builds muscle and reduces fat. It also more satiating and reduces the likelihood of snacking in between meals.

It goes without saying that a diet high in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals obtained from fruit, vegetables, fish, lean meat, eggs and other plant sources) will be far healthier than a diet which consists of processed foods. Keeping foods in their simple form (i.e, non-processed and natural) will go a long way to providing you with the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet and will also aid metabolism. Processed foods are harder for the body to digest and to extract micronutrients from than natural foods.

By eating a natural diet, energy levels will also increase by default, as well as the motivation to exercise. A varied diet rich in different colours of fruit and vegetables will almost guarantee to cover all the vitamins your body needs – supplements aren’t usually necessary if you maintain a healthy and varied natural diet.

The key thing to remember is that while you might be exercising well or training hard, you won’t be achieving the full benefits of your efforts if you don’t indulge in a healthy eating plan.