Let’s face it; professional athletes are dedicated individuals who follow and maintain a strict nutrition plan according to their body type to ensure optimal performance by filling their bodies with proper fuel to perform, but how about the average person? The primal key to perform at an optimal level as the professional athletes do, is not only master, but to maintain the daily fundamentals. The average individual must also have a proper workout and nutrition plan to reach his or her own optimal performance level–the level of one’s training, techniques for recovery, and the nutrition quality. There is no room for slacking for one who strives to meet goals and see results. The proper food one fuels his or her body with is essential to supporting one’s fitness performance. Without the proper nutrients, one is more likely to feel less energy, get sick, feel weak and will become more prone to a number of injuries. In order for your body to perform at its peak to gain optimal results to the best of its ability, it is highly important to give the body all of the proper and necessary tools to function and recover well.
A healthy balanced diet along with a regular exercise routine are the keys to success in one’s fitness and wellness journey. There are many different ways to fuel your body properly in order to reach the level of success you want for your body and your overall short and long term health. As delicate and complex the human body is, it is necessary to put into thought and action what your body needs for pre and post workout as well as throughout a normal day.
The human body’s inner doctor needs a variety of proper fuel to perform at its best:
- Slow release energy (key to sustaining endurance)
- Protein (essential for training and muscle recovery)
- Healthy oils (aids in recovery)
- Hydration (key to healthy skin, organs and overall well being)
- Antioxidants (help in repairing and restoring cells prior, during and post workout)
- Whole food nutrients (essential for energy increase and a boost in metabolism)
Carbohydrates (Slow Release Energy)
Carbs can be the body’s best friend. Carbohydrates are naturally broken down into glucose–the main source for sustaining endurance. Although there are many different forms of carbohydrates, food such as whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc) and vegetables offer energy that is slowly released and can ultimately enhance your fitness performance. When glucose levels drop significantly, this plays a large role in the potential of your exercise, which can be negatively affected.
Protein is essential to an individual’s daily diet in order to reach peak performance levels. Protein intake allows for optimal training and aids in muscle recovery. The amount of protein one should take typically depends on the person, his or her goals, the intensity of the workout and the length span of the workout. Whether you maintain a plant based/vegan diet or you consider yourself a vegetarian or pescatarian, or if you normally eat animal based meat products (which should always be eaten in moderation) protein is still essential to a daily diet in order to perform even remotely well. The correct amount of protein is needed for muscle and tissue restoration and repair during and after your training. The adequate ratio of protein to bodyweight is 1g of a type of protein for every 2 ¼ pound of weight you obtain.
To put your brain on full blast and give your body what it needs, healthy fats are also essential to one’s daily diet. These (good) fatty oils aid in recovery and help nourish cells for increased performance. The tissue repair for muscles will not occur if not properly recovered. Proper post training nutrition, adequate sleep and supplementation are all necessary in supporting optimal performance; however, certain fats can have a very beneficial effect on the body and provide the optimal muscle recovery your body has been searching for. Muscular recovery is dependant on the regulation of oxygen, the immune system, cardiovascular health, restoration of hormones and so much more. Without healthy fat from oils, some of these processes may not perform to the best of their ability. Along with the repairing of cells and the synthesizing of protein, healthy fats from oils are essential in the aiding of muscular recovery during and post workout.
The body is made up of about 60% of water. During any fitness performance that involves training the body at an active state, fluid is lost, therefore reducing one’s overall performance and endurance primarily due to urine and excessive sweating. It is vital to replace this reduction of fluid by filling your body with water, electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Water is a crucial fundamental aspect or “secret” to healthy skin, proper hormone function, joint health, internal organs, muscle tissue, mood and other activity. Hydrating your body with water throughout the entire day is essential towards achieving one’s fitness goals. To prevent dehydration, it is important to fill your body will adequate amounts of liquid. An estimate that is suitable for the average person is roughly one gallon daily for men and about ¾ of a gallon for females. Water intake typically depends on several aspects such as activity level, intensity of the workout performed, the climate, and your personal preferences.
Antioxidants are abundantly found in foods that are rich in vitamins C, A, and E. These vitamins and minerals are especially beneficial for recovery post-exercise as well as aiding in muscular repair. A very common component of biochemical reactions is oxidation. Imbalances can lead to oxidative stress, and foods rich in antioxidants can help soak up free radicals while managing and reducing stress on the body and in the mind. Foods such as berries, leafy greens and fibrous foods are antioxidant rich, nutrient dense and have a positive effect on the body specifically on the nitric oxide system.
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Food is Fuel.” Well, it’s true. Whole, natural, nutrient dense foods are important in giving the body high efficient energy and ramping up the body’s metabolism. The term “nutrient dense’ refers to nutrients that provide the body with efficient energy to perform well. Filling your body with the proper nutrients fuels your muscles, combats fatigue and improves your overall fitness performance. These whole food vitamins can be found in foods such as spinach, whole grains, lentils, nuts, avocados, starchy vegetables etc. These, along with many other foods that support nerve functioning are vital for hemoglobin formation, are responsible for the the transportation of of oxygen through the body and into the cells of the muscles and keep blood sugar levels consistent. Whole foods are considered endurance enhancing foods Every individual should focus on fueling the body with healthful sources of a balanced diet which will evidently enable you to power through intense exercises, keep your body and mind on track and leave you feeling your best.
Ultimately, fueling your body before, during, and after exercise are each efficient in their own way and require different types of food to fill your body with. Proper nutrition is critical in order to reach optimal performance and leads to building muscle, burning fat and speeds up the repair, recover and restoration process of muscular tissues. The food we eat plays a very important role in our daily life with the way we feel emotionally and mentally and the way we look physically. Nutrition, whether proper or poor, has a significant impact on every individual’s fitness regime. As one uses whole natural food to fill his or her body as medicine and fuel, performance levels will drastically improve.