When people exercise without the benefit of expert advice, they may be breaking some fitness rules unwittingly. It is not just enough to run around all over the place. Exercise is a bit different from random physical activity. Fitness-oriented exercise needs to be done the right way so that you can get the right results. Again, if you are exercising you need to have goals.
You need to have limits and you need to have expectations from the exercise program. This is why you need to know the connection between nutrition & exercise. In simple terms, fitness nutrition is a matter of eating the right foods while you are exercising. Unfortunately, when it comes to nutrition and fitness, there is a lot of false information out there. For this reason, the first step is to dispel some of these myths provide the right information on fitness nutrition.
Some people will tell you that as long as you are exercising regularly, you can eat anything you like. This is not true for a number of reasons. Nutrition and exercise are connected in the sense that you need to eat well so that you can have the stamina and energy to exercise properly. Again, your exercise program needs to be structured the right way so that you can keep track of the amount of calories you burn during each exercise session. The problem with “eating anything” is that you may eat much more than your body needs. This will make you put on weight instead of losing weight. On the other hand, if you eat less than your body needs you may run into trouble. This will mean that you are stressing your system without giving it the fuel it requires.
Other popular misconceptions are general statements like “sugar is bad for you”, and “fat is bad is bad for you”. It will not be right for you to accept statements like the ones above because they are not really true. There are “good fats” and “bad fats”. There are also good forms of sugar and bad forms of sugar. If you know these things you will be in a better position to know what to eat and what to avoid. The truth of the matter is that Trans-fats are bad for you. On the other hand, you can get good fat from natural sources like avocados, peanuts and olives. Processed sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad for you. Most people know this already so it will help if they also know that sugar from natural sources like apples and bananas are great for you especially if you are exercising.
If you really want to apply nutrition fitness to your exercise program, you need to understand that there is a strong connection between protein, carbohydrate and exercise. When you exercise, you are burning energy. To do this successfully, you need to eat a high carbohydrate diet before exercising. Carbohydrate is the fuel you need for exercise. If you know this, you are half way there already. Again, carbohydrates are stored in the liver and in the muscles as glycogen. When you exercise, you use up some of your glycogen reserves. By eating foods rich in carbohydrate, you can top up your reserves of glycogen. It is also important to point out that low reserves of glycogen will result in poor performance and this will increase the risk of injury.
Protein is needed for muscle growth and muscle repair. Protein is also needed for the replacement of worn out tissues. It is vital to know these things because if you eat a protein rich diet before exercising, you may not have a successful exercise session because you are using the wrong tools. You also need to get enough vitamins in your diet because vitamins boost the immune system and help you recover fast in cases of injury.
Another vital aspect of fitness nutrition is that you need to know exactly what to eat and when to eat before an exercise session. In most cases, experts recommend that you eat about 2-3 hours before exercising. The reason is that it takes some time for your food to digest. There is no way you will exercise properly if you are slowed down by undigested food in your stomach. If you are going to run a marathon on Saturday morning for instance, you need to eat a carbohydrate-rich meal on Friday night. By Saturday morning, you can drink a little water and you are ready to perform. If you want to go jogging around 5:30 pm, you can just eat a banana or an orange and that will do. It goes without saying that you must have eaten lunch around 2:00-2:30 pm. Some great foods before a workout are apples, almonds, peanut butter and whey. These foods are great because they are natural and they contain all the right nutrients you need.
Finally, what you eat after exercising is even more important than what you eat before excising. This is because you need to replace lost reserves of fluid and glycogen. You can eat a delicious balanced diet after exercising without feeling guilty but do not over eat. The idea is to stay in shape and maintain a high level of fitness. This is can only be done by eating well and exercising properly.