No matter the reason for why you want to improve your general health and fitness levels, nutrition is a very important factor. You may want to become an elite athlete or maybe you simply want to improve yourself and your general well-being for a healthier and longer life.
You don’t need to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger to be considered healthy (but if that’s your ultimate goal, go for it) however, along the side of being healthy your physique will definitely be a lot more appealing. Living a longer and healthier life doesn’t have to be something that becomes uncomfortable to do. Suffering by immensely cutting calorie intake to lose fat doesn’t have to happen like most people think. Having a healthy lifestyle should be as enjoyable (if not more enjoyable) as living the life you’re already used to living.
Importance of Nutrition for Health and Fitness
Nutrition is vital! I know a lot of you believe that all you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to constantly exercise and not worry about your diet. You may be trying to exercise so much in order to disregard your diet with a simple “I’ll burn it off later” mentality.
While this mentality might work in your younger years, it is not something that your body can’t maintain for too long of a time. In fact, overworking your body for the sake of burning everything you eat will often led to injury even in young years. Regardless of your age, the body requires rest and the correct nutrients to keep itself in a healthy state.
I myself was once guilty of this mentality. It only lasted so long (not even over a year) until I injured myself from overexertion and had to take time off from exercising certain body parts. This led me to only set myself back in my goals. It was during this time that I realized how important my diet is and how important it is for me to eat the right foods so that I don’t have to focus on burning off all the “bad fats”.
Your Intake Affects your Goals
Setting an ultimate goal for yourself is a crucial step in your fitness journey. Your goal may be different from someone else’s goal but regardless of their goal or your goal, that simple goal is what gets you through the ups and downs of fitness.
Of course, there are a lot of other factors involved that will help you along your journey but your final goal is what matters in the end.
So how does the food you consume affect your goals?
- Good quality nourishment -> Closer to your goal
- Bad quality nourishment -> Further from your goal
In fact, even if you were to not exercise, as long as you consume the right amount of nutrients you’d be a lot more athletic than an average person who doesn’t maintain a healthy diet or exercise. But we already know all this and as you look around this website you’ll see that I’ll go a lot more into detail on diet plans as well as exercise regiments, habit strategies, etc.
But what if we’ve always been used to eating averagely unhealthy? What if in order to live a healthier lifestyle we have to completely change our habits? How are we supposed to do that? This leads me to my next point…
Improving Your Health Step-by-Step
Let’s be honest, you aren’t going to be able to completely change your diet and your eating habits from one day to another and maintain the healthy eating habits. You might be able to maintain your “healthier” lifestyle for a week or two but keeping yourself there will seem impossible.
The trick is simple, you have to take it slow. Don’t just change everything all at once, make a small change week by week. Start by cutting certain foods that you know aren’t good for you out of your diet but do it slowly. For example, those candy bars you like to snack on almost every day, start by reducing the amount of days you eat that candy bar for the first week or maybe two. After that, it will become easier for you cut it out of your habitual eating norm.
It does take some time to make healthy choices into actual habits so don’t be impatient. Once you make habits out of something positive, it simply becomes a norm to you rather than a choice. The same is true when you exercise, start slowly adding regiments to your daily routines. Eventually, you’ll be able to adapt your exercise time to your life and slowly turn it into a habit.
The Right Habits to Start
Nutrition, as said before, is extremely important for our fitness. To start off, you need to get yourself used to the right habits. These are some tips to look at to get you started:
- Push your vegetable and fruit intake: Make it a small focus to “eat the rainbow” when eating fruits and veggies. This means eating different colors of fruits and vegetables allowing you to have the benefits of the different minerals and vitamins that come within each of these. Every time you go grocery shopping make it a goal to buy a new fruit and/or veggie to try.
- Consume the right carbohydrates: There’s been a common misconception that carbohydrates are bad and that minimizing your carbohydrate intake is the best way to stay in good shape. However, carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Make sure that the carbs you are consuming consist of complex carbs such as: vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Complex carbs actually aid you in feeling full longer thus allowing you to eat less throughout the day. Keep carbs at about 30 to 65 percent of your daily calories.
- Keep protein included in your meals and snacks: Protein is an important factor in building and repairing muscle tissue and can also be an alternative source of energy when carbs are in short supply. Make it a goal to consume about 1 gram of protein for every 3 pounds you weigh. Foods rich in protein consist of chicken, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and more!
Consistency is Key!
The examples listed above are only a starter from the enormous amount of strategies to keep you healthy. However, none of this will do much if you don’t stay consistent! There will be no point in trying to keep yourself healthy if you’re doing it once a month. The key to being consistent is habits but in order to form habits you need to start off consistent so that you can force those habits to happen. In essence, it’s sort of a circle, the trick is to stay in that circle so that you don’t break your routine.
Once your routine is solidified, you don’t longer need to even think about it anymore to stay where you’re at. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who keeps a consistent healthy diet will be able to achieve their fitness goals within a reasonable amount of time. Keep up the good work, the simple fact that you’re here doing your research demonstrates initiative, keep it up and don’t give up!