Whether you’re trying to lose weight or encourage muscle growth, proper nutrition is key to optimal athletic performance. By eating well, you can work longer and harder while being about to achieve your fitness goals faster.
Want to know the secrets to how you can improve your health with good nutrition?
Silicon Valley Athletics offer a free monthly seminar from a registered dietitian. He focuses solely on nutrition and is equipped to understand individual needs. He also can account for cultural differences. While we study the basics through our research and continuing education, clients often need a deeper look. A lot of us lack the know-how of getting there and staying there approach. Like fitness, to get there and stay there requires a deep understanding of nutrition from a clinical perspective. We find the best results happen when an individual hyper-focuses on a specific area. We are experts in movement and building the body. Dietitians focus on building the body through nutrition, can guide those with medical conditions, and can prescribe food to prevent or treat disease.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition
More than just a way to fill your stomach, incorporating food with proper nutrition into your fitness plan is key to meeting your fitness goals. Nutrition is a foundational pillar of your body’s health, supporting positive mood, energy levels, muscle growth, organ function, and more. All of these factors help you achieve athletic performance milestones.
Not convinced? Here are some of the many reasons why nutrition is important:
- Holistic Well-being: Beyond the confines of calorie and macronutrient counting, good nutrition offers profound holistic benefits to your body. By incorporating a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the right foods you can improve your mental health and sleep, as well as strengthen your immune system.
- Energy for Daily Living: If your body is a machine, then food is the fuel you need to power your day-to-day activity. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats play distinct roles in providing the energy needed for your body to perform its functions.
- Preventing Chronic Diseases: Beyond immediate fitness goals, good nutrition plays a vital role in preventing chronic diseases. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats contributes to heart health, helps regulate blood pressure, and reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes and certain cancers.
- Body Composition and Lean Muscle: If your fitness journey involves improving body composition by reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass, nutrition is key. By incorporating a balanced diet into your regular exercise routine, you can support a healthy weight while preserving muscle tissue.
- Enhanced Athletic Performance: If you’re engaged in sports and other athletic pursuits, good nutrition is essential. From hydration to maintaining an optimal electrolyte balance, nutrition directly impacts your ability to perform at your best.
Lifestyle, Not Diet
You’ve likely heard of dozens of fad diets that will supposedly help you maintain or lose body weight. What do they all tend to have in common? A lack of balance and sustainability.
Instead, the best diet plan isn’t anything but a fad diet. Shift your perspective from the idea of short-term dieting to a more sustainable lifestyle that nourishes your whole body.
The key to good nutrition is to build long-lasting habits. Focus on incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your daily routine rather than restrictive eating patterns. A well-rounded approach ensures you receive the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for optimal health.
Rebuild Muscle With Lean Proteins
When you think of healthy foods, lean proteins might be the first thing that comes to mind. Nutritionally, protein is vital for muscle recovery and repair, as well as bone, joint, and ligament health.
We recommend eating between 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Given that a kilo is a litter over 2 lbs, that means a 150-pound person should eat 82 to 136 grams each day. However, keep in mind that the less active you are, the less protein you need. Someone with this lifestyle may only need to have just under 1 gram of protein per kilogram each day (0.8 kg).
Packed with protein, vitamins, and essential amino acids that support muscle repair and growth, eggs are an undeniable nutrition powerhouse. Additionally, eggs are rich in vitamins like B12, which supports nerve function, and choline, an essential nutrient for brain health.
There are several good protein-packed dairy choices to choose from, such as hard cheese (think cheddar) and milk, but our top recommendation is Greek Yogurt. Being a fermented foot, this dairy product brings gut-friendly probiotics to the table. These probiotics, often associated with digestive health, contribute to gut health, increasing immune function and nutrient absorption.
It can be hard to properly balance your omega-3 and omega-6 ratios, but seafood like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are an excellent way to boost your omega-3 content. Omega-3s play a vital role in supporting heart health by reducing inflammation, improving blood vessel function, and lowering blood pressure.
Did you know that peas have the highest protein content of any vegetable? This makes them an excellent protein source for anyone on a vegetarian diet. Beyond their protein content, peas offer a range of essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins (including vitamin K and vitamin C), and minerals (including manganese and folate).
While any meat will give you protein, lean meats like chicken, turkey, and lean beef are the healthiest nutritional choices. The substantial amount of protein in these options is unmatched for muscle repair, growth, and cellular function. These meats also provide important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins, which support energy metabolism, immune function, and the formation of red blood cells.
Don’t Cut Out Carbs
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not your nutritional enemy. Sure, they can be bad in large quantities, but the same can be said for both fats and proteins. In reality, the correct amount of complex carbohydrates is essential for high-intensity exercise, as they fuel your brain and muscles.
If you practice daily, light-intensity workouts, we recommend eating between 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrates for every kilogram of body weight. If you weighed around 150 lbs, that would equate to 200-340 grams a day. For more intense workouts, you may need to eat between 6 to 10 carbs per kilo of body weight to get enough carbohydrates and achieve full energy levels.
Brown rice is a fantastic gluten-free fiber option. The fiber content in this food improves your blood sugar and digestive health. Additionally, brown rice provides essential minerals such as magnesium and manganese.
A fantastic vegan option, Quinoa boasts both fiber and protein. On top of that, it offers considerable magnesium, phosphorus, and folate.
This category includes wheat, barley, and oats. Whole wheat, for instance, whether in bread or pasta, retains the bran, germ, and endosperm, preserving a full nutrient profile. Barley, another whole grain, contributes fiber and important vitamins and minerals. Oats are also renowned for their beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels.
While normal potatoes are also a good complex carbohydrate, we recommend sweet potatoes even more. These tubers are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and a robust immune system.
The best way to get natural sugars, fruits are also full of helpful fiber and antioxidants. The combination of fiber and sugar helps to mitigate the impact on blood sugar levels. The antioxidants, such as vitamin C and various phytochemicals, help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Don’t Shun Fats
Fat has also been demonized over the years, but the right balance is once again key. Fat provides invaluable energy and aids in vitamin absorption. In fact, vitamins like A, D, E, and K need fat to be used effectively by your body, showing just how crucial fats are when you want to enhance athletic performance.
Overall, we recommend that fats constitute around 20-35% of your daily calorie intake. More specifically, you can benefit from 0.5-1 grams of fat per kilogram of body weight. For someone who weighs 150 lbs, this is equal to 34-68 grams of fat per day.
When it comes to healthy fats, Avocados are king for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. They offer a wealth of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which contribute to improved cholesterol levels. Avocados are also rich in various vitamins and minerals, including potassium.
Nuts are a unique powerhouse of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. There are many different beneficial nuts out there. Almonds, for instance, provide a good source of vitamin E, supporting skin health, while the omega-3s in walnuts benefit heart health and brain function. Pistachios, too, offer a combination of protein, fiber, and potassium.
Great nutrition in a small package, seeds are a fantastic source of healthy fats. Flaxseeds are a fantastic source of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), while Chia seeds are high in fiber, providing digestive benefits and contributing to feelings of fullness.
Fats are essential for tasty cooking, but some are more healthy than others. Over butter, canola oil, and other options, olive oil is the most healthy choice for your diet. The fats in this oil have been associated with lower rates of heart disease and improved cholesterol levels. Plus, olive oil also contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, giving it anti-inflammatory properties.
Food As a Component of Your Workout Routine
Incorporating food into your workout routine can boost your results and increase progress toward your fitness goals. Here are our tips for how you can get the best results with proper nutrition:
Before Your Workout
For the most part, mild exercise won’t impact your energy levels. However, if you work out for more than an hour per day, we recommend eating right before you exercise. This helps you avoid GI issues and other discomfort.
Try to eat 1-3 hours prior to your workout. That way, you’ll achieve the best energy levels with minimal negative impact on your body.
After Your Workout
Eating within 15 minutes after your workout allows you to restore nutrients and energy levels as soon as possible. Eating foods high in protein is especially beneficial, as they provide the essential amino acids that repair and build muscle.
Remember to Stay Hydrated
Before, during, and after your workout, it’s important to stay hydrated. Opt for a nutrient-packed smoothie or some refreshing water.
Improve Your Nutrition With A Health Trainer Today
Improve your fitness goal today by connecting with the best health trainers in the South Bay Area. Silicon Valley Athletics offers trainers who are certified experts in creating training that boosts your weight loss goals. Our entire team of dedicated trainers is ready to take you to the next level.
So, if you want to boost your fitness progress, you can get started on our website, or contact us at (408) 469-9405. Find a program that works for your budget using our pricing table, or try a trial session with one of our trainers today!