You are what you eat. What you put into your body is crucial to what you get out of your body.
So if you have set goals this year to achieve a healthier lifestyle, weight loss or you’ve set your sights on training for that 5k, full marathon or the next ironman triathlon; don’t let your fitness goals be squashed by confusion around nutrition or fad diet claims.
“A lot of the time people are just not sure if what they’re eating is the right thing,” says Dr. Meaghan McCollum, ND whose practice focuses on sports medicine and other modalities. “If people feel uneducated about nutrition and start doing their own research there is a lot of conflicting information out there...I think that a lot of people are getting confused and overwhelmed by all of the information that is available.”
An advocate of whole foods like many other local practitioners (MD’s, ND’s, nutritionists and RHN’s) McCollum says she isn’t a strict person when it come to nutritional consults. When people share what they’ve heard about some sort of fad diet or they think they should be eating a strict number of calories a day, she simply tries to encourage people to eat a balanced whole foods diet made up of carbs, proteins and fats.
“I think we’ve come to a place where food has become something that is absurdly complicated,” says Kori Hagel, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Life Coach with Inliv. “And it doesn’t need to be so complicated.”
A firm believer that each individual body requires something different, Hagel approaches nutrition and fitness through a holistic approach focused on a lifestyle mentality versus an on-again off-again diet mentality.
A common belief both health practitioners hold is the belief that it really depends on an individual persons’ goals and what they are personally trying to accomplish. An agreement that no matter what the goal is that a balanced whole foods diet provides more nutritional impact, and ultimately success towards achieving an individual’s fitness goals than a diet of processed and heavily prepackaged foods would provide.
“What we put into our bodies is so important to what we get out of our bodies. I think that if we could become more able to listen to our bodies and intuitively be able to eat,” says Hagel. “As each individual body requires something different.”
“Nutritional requirements vary by individuals as some people don’t tolerate food very well during their sport or exercise,” added McCollum.
Ultimately the nutritional lesson is that we are all different, we all respond differently and have different reactions to foods.
Remember, you are what you eat. When in doubt of what to eat, how much to eat before, during, or after training, or for events that partnering with a local practitioner can provide many benefits to help you achieve the right nutrition formula for quality performance.
Practitioner Tips for Optimal Fitness Nutrition:
- Increase in exercise = Increase in calories - Remember if you’ve increased your physical activity don’t forget to increase your calorie intake to accommodate for exercise, which provides your body with the calories it needs to stay an optimized fuel burning source of positive energy.
- Drink adequate fluids - Two hours before intense exercise ensure to drink 8-16 oz of water and 4 to 8oz of water for every 15 minutes during exercise. If you are exercising for more than 1 hour you many need to consider an electrolyte replenishing drink.
- Listen to your body - After you eat food listen to your body. If you don’t feel good after eating something, maybe you shouldn’t be eating that particular food or at that particular time.
- Easily pronounceable ingredients - If you can’t pronounce or understand the ingredients in food labels maybe you should consider not eating that food. You may even consider not eating a packaged food that contains more than 5 ingredients.
- Eat whole foods - Eat whole foods that come from plants, not foods that are processed in plants. Eat food that comes in mother natures own packaging.
- Best grocery store shopping tips - Shop only from the perimeter of the grocery store isles not from the inside aisles where the prepackaged processed foods are stocked.
- Eat plenty of proteins - Proteins help to repair and build new muscles. Eat a variety of plant based protein such as legumes, beans, soy, dairy and alternatives. You could also include lean animal based protein if that is part of your diet.
- Eat healthy fats - Eat healthy plant based fats that have not been damaged by heat and processing. Some choices may include avocado, flax seeds, oily fish and hemp seeds.
- Eat whole grain complex carbohydrates – Restore the energy you have used up by eating complex carbohydrates. Yes, the good kind of carb’s provide fiber and sustained energy that is needed for both workouts and post work out to help you through your day.
- Eat lots of green leafy vegetables – Besides providing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; green leafy vegetable bring more oxygen into the body to give you more energy.