What Makes Nutrition the Most Important Aspect of a Fitness Routine

Last updated on : July 01 2020

Woman wearing a watch writing fitness & nutrition goal at desk with breakfast croissant and cup of tea.

Fitness And Nutrition 

When you think about getting fit and healthy, improving your wellbeing, and living the best life you can live, your mind will probably travel to two main concepts; working out and exercising and eating well.

While we can all run, go to the gym, and hit our 10,000 steps per day, it seems to be much harder to focus on nutrition.

For example, is getting a meal deal from a local supermarket so unhealthy when it has lettuce and tomatoes with it? Which diet is the best, or can you eat what you want, as long as you exercise enough to burn it all off? Should you burn it all off? How many cheat days are too many cheat days?

Balancing and managing your nutrition is hard work, but today, I aim to make it a little easier.

We're going to dive into what makes nutrition so important, as well as ways you can get started on your journey to becoming the best, most balanced, and healthiest version of yourself.

So, Why is Nutrition Important?

The food you eat is one of the most important aspects of life. Imagine your mind and body is a vehicle. For it to go anywhere, you need to put fuel inside it. Put the wrong fuel in, and you'll mess up your engine. Put the right fuel in, and you'll be able to go places. Put in the most refined and researched fuel in, and you'll be able to do so much more.

The meals and liquids you consume will determine how well your body will run. Of course, it's not really about the foods, but rather what's in them, such as the minerals and vitamins, the fat, sugar and calorie content, and the type. Managing these stats and what you're putting into your body is called maintaining your nutrition.

In terms of fitness, managing your nutrition is all about setting goals for how much calories you're going to eat to help you meet your weight goals. Doing this well will help you reach your fitness goals more comfortably and accurately.

I know this all sounds basic so far, but that's because the concept of nutrition is. It's the actual science and the managing of the different levels, which is where it gets all complicated, but we'll get into that.

For example, if you were training for a marathon, you couldn't do it properly with exercise alone, you need to eat correctly too. If you eat junk food and drink fizzy drinks every day, your body won't get everything it needs to do what it does best.

It All Starts with Your Diet

Hand in hand with what I was saying above, even if you're working out every day and doing all the fitness-related things you need to do, you can't out-train a poor diet. Without proper food, you're always going to lock yourself into a particular way of life.

You can't out-train a poor diet because when you're working out, your body needs both macro and micronutrients to use as energy during the workout and to repair and strengthen cells after the session. If you're not eating the foods that provide this kind of nutrition, your body won't fix itself, and you'll be doing more harm than good in the long term.

When your body isn't repaired or strengthened, you'll feel tired and won't want to go to the gym, and you'll start slacking off, or your performance won't be as good as it should be, and then you'll have to deal with the whole mental aspect of knowing you're not performing your best. In the long-term, you may even be setting yourself up for injury, which will set you back even more.

Taking Your Fitness to the Next Level

Your nutrition plans are essential for giving you what you need to keep going and do what you need to do. Taking full control of your nutrition means you can enrich and enhance your diet to take your fitness goals and aspirations to an above-average level.

The chances are you've heard of superfoods or 'fitness foods", and these kinds of food are right when you're looking to reach a state of peak performance. While you should always aim for great overall nutrition, here we're thinking about the foods you can use to give yourself the boost to be even better.

For example, eating healthy snacks, such as oats or a banana, before a workout can be ideal for helping boost your body in terms of the energy you'll need to push your limits. You can then follow up your workout with a post-workout snack to help boost your body's repair and strengthen processes, such as a snack with muscle protein.

Work on Your Metabolism

You've heard of metabolism, and just so we're on the same page, it's the process of your body turning the food and drink you consume into the energy it can use to do things like working out. If you have a slow metabolism, your body takes its time turning food into energy, meaning it can be stored as fat and makes you feel bloated.

If you have a fast metabolism, your body is very efficient at turning food into energy, which is ideal when you're trying to stay healthy because far fewer foods in your body will go to waste. However, eating certain foods can help increase your metabolism over time.

These include foods like hot peppers, whole grains, and yogurts, while drinks like coffee, green teas, and cold water can also help boost your metabolism and help your body perform to its optimal efficiency. Fruits like apples, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish are also ideal.

Don't Be Too Harsh on Yourself

Some people's approach to nutrition is that you shouldn't eat certain foods ever and become strict with their plan. However, it's vital to remember that you need to enjoy the process of managing your nutrition and being kind to yourself. If you're strict and aggressive, this can have a severe effect on your mental health and outlook towards keeping fit and healthy.

Imagine if you just ate a flavorless porridge for every meal, every single day. Sure, for a select number of people, but for most, it's not. The body needs diversity, and it needs to enjoy what it's eating. The brain has a chemical need to eat certain foods to release dopamine and endorphins that contribute to bringing happiness and fulfillment into your life, so avoiding foods that bring this because they're unhealthy is going to make you miserable.

Chances are you'll probably crash at some point when the managing becomes unsustainable, and you'll binge and lose any progress you've made in a short amount of time. A piece of chocolate now and then is not going to set you back, so be kind and enjoy the process for the best results.

These ideas lead us very nicely onto my final point;

It's All About Finding Balance

As you've probably noticed in this article, I've been very reluctant to give specific advice about the foods you should be eating and how much of it. The truth is, no matter what anyone says, there's no hard and fast rule that you should follow. Everybody has a different body, so what works for someone else might not work for you.

Part of managing your nutrition is finding the balance that works for you.

The great thing about nutrition is the fact that you can feel the benefits when you get it right, which is why tracking your diet and exercising routine, basically combining your fitness and nutrition plans, is essential.

Say you've been trying out a new goal of eating 2,500 calories per day and x amount of protein and fat and sugars and then combining that with a new kind of workout. If you track it for a week and you feel terrific, and everything is going well, then the chances are you've found something that works, so stick with it.

Of course, you can also change it up and try new things, which is why it's essential to do your research. Try the approaches of other people and take the bits that work and leave behind the methods that don't serve you. Try experimenting yourself to see if you find something new. The more educated and diverse you can be, the closer you'll be to getting it right.

What's more, managing your nutrition isn't a process that has some kind of end. Your body is continually changing and evolving as you get fitter and get older, and your goals and aspirations will change as you go. Your nutrition plans will change to meet these needs, and so you'll need to keep improving, keep trying new things, and keep educating yourself.

Conclusion

Two girls doing the plank exercise

Remember, exercising and nutrition are not two separate things, and you can't do one without the other. They are two sides of the same coin. Work on both. Develop competent, healthy habits, and understand the importance it has on your performance, and you'll soon see yourself taking off in ways you could never expect.

About the Author

Michael Dehoyos is a lifestyle influencer and editor at Origin Writings and Nextcoursework. He assists people in unlocking their full potential, becoming increasingly mindful of how they live their lives, and aims to help them fulfill their dreams and reach their goals.

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