Your body needs good quality fuel and proper maintenance in order to function effectively, with nutrition and exercise meeting these criteria. Good health is all about balance and consistency, and when it comes to nutrition and fitness, you really can't have one without the other. If you don't eat well, your workouts will not be effective, and if you don't exercise, your physical goals will struggle to manifest. Let's take a look at the synergistic relationship between exercise and nutrition so you can meet your fitness goals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistent exercise and proper nutrition are beneficial in many ways. With the right combination of diet and exercise, you can maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduce the risk of developing certain forms of cancer among many other benefits. While this is all common knowledge, all too often, people emphasise either diet or exercise without giving proper attention to the other.
People workout for many different reasons, with some people wanting to lose fat and others wanting to gain muscle mass. Regardless of your fitness goals, what you eat has a huge influence on how effectively you train. A healthy carb intake will help provide you with consistent energy, while lean proteins will help support muscle development and repair. Heart-healthy fats and fluids are also essential before and after training, with nutrition and exercise working synergistically to enhance performance.
While no single food group is ideal before working out, experts recommend a meal that is low fat, low fibre, and moderate in carbs and protein. Your muscles rely on carbohydrates like breads, cereals and pasta, with fruits and vegetables also a great way to get quick energy. Protein intake is also needed for your muscles and blood cells to function effectively, with foods like meat and eggs helping to provide nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. Generally speaking, carbs are recommended prior to exercise, with proteins recommended after.
During exercise, it's absolutely vital to have access to fluids. While water is often enough to avoid getting dehydrated, sports drinks can be beneficial if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes or working out in hot, humid conditions. A good sports drink has about 15 grams of carbohydrate, 110 milligrams of sodium, and 30 milligrams of potassium in a single large serving. While this is great for high-impact exercise, anyone who wants to lose weight may want to stick to "light" sports drinks or water. Energy bars and gels can also be great for people who need to boost their energy levels during endurance exercise.
While it's important to pay attention to the foods you eat immediately before, during, and after exercise, this is only part of the story. Every comprehensive fitness plan needs to branch out into everyday life, with long-term fitness goals much easier to meet when nutrition is taken seriously. Even if you don't have time to work out all the time, you can enhance your personal fitness goals by eating well every day. While you can go a long way by saying no to processed foods and yes to common sense, it can be worthwhile speaking with a professional nutrition expert.
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