Nutrition is one simple word that describes various, and sometimes contradictory, beliefs, practices and processes.
Regardless of the course your nutrition has taken, there are many small things that you can do daily to ensure you are better supporting your health, fitness and overall well being. So, whether your goal is to feel more energized, bulk up, lean out or simply eat cleaner, there is one common denominator to your success:
Remember that nothing happens overnight, and that the most sustainable changes to your nutrition will be slow moving. You may experience boosts in energy before you see significant changes to your physique. Or fend off fatigue, notice clearer skin or sustain more regular sleep before your hard work is reflected in your physical body and performance.
That is the beauty of baby steps, so have confidence in the process.
If you are both new to fitness and a nutritional novice, no worries. We have you covered.
Check out these 7 nutrition tips that are sure to support the progress of your health and fitness journeys alike.
- Identify the foods that make you feel good.
There is no blueprint to nutrition. The foods that make you feel refreshed, energized and ready to rock may very well be different from the foods that do the same for your peers. To successfully identify what foods best support your body, you must consciously practice mindful eating.
When thinking about what foods make you feel good, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What foods weigh you down in the morning and what foods keep you fresh and focused in the earliest hours of the day?
- Do any foods cause bloating or intestinal irritation?
- What foods are fuel for you? What foods have you found to be a catalyst to your workout?
- What foods disrupt your digestive processes?
Once you sift through each of these questions, you can begin to piece together the palette that not only makes you feel your very best, but you can be confident that the foods you consume are aligned with your fitness goals.
- Protein. Protein. Protein.
Potentially the most prominent link between your nutrition and physical performance is protein.
Protein is both praised and neglected in the world of fitness due to its reputation as a bulking agent. This simply isn’t true. Just because you are trying to build muscle doesn’t mean you should over-consume protein. Similarly, just because you are trying to lean out does not mean that you should skip out on this essential nutritional component.
It is important to learn how much protein you should consume. Your daily intake should consider your biological sex, goals, physcial exertion and the type of diet that you adhere to. Once you better understand the amount of protein that best supports your body, you can begin to explore the many ways that you can get sufficient protein into your diet.
If you are a beginner in the fitness scene and battle the protein scaries, remember that protein is essential. It doesn’t matter that you are just starting out. Protein is the key to feeling energized, experiencing maximum caloric burn, building muscle mass, and losing weight, amongst other things.
The most influential baby step that you can do for your protein intake is to introduce a high-quality protein supplement. Whether you are looking for a plant-based protein powder or a whey protein isolate, your fitness is best supported by the addition of this type of supplement to your diet.
- Set realistic goals.
This nutritional tip is often easier said than done, but it is invaluable to your fitness growth.
If you are struggling with poor eating behaviors and unhealthy consumption habits, it is important to apply a practical approach to your journey.
So if you are a frequent late night ice cream indulger, going cold turkey may not be the most sustainable effort. If you are truly trying to break the habit, limit yourself to one to two ice cream entranced evenings a week. Once you successfully hit that target, you can move your goal a little bit further in the right direction.
How does this affect your fitness? Well, similar to your fitness goals, your nutrition goals should be equally as consistent and practical. If you move the nutritional needle too far in one direction, your physical wellbeing may be disrupted. The same goes for drastic changes to your fitness. If you go from working out just one day a week to 6 days a week, your nutritional radar will likely enter a state of confusion.
- Be forgiving.
Be gentle and loving of just how human you are. This means to practice personal forgiveness in the moments where your nutritional goals are put on the back burner.
We all have our bad days. We all battle cravings, temptations and social pressures. Which is why it is so important to remember that traveling down the beaten nutritional path is no big deal, as long as you do the work to get back on track.
Burger and fries at lunch? No biggie. Remind yourself it was one meal and that you plan to break a serious sweat later in the day.
- Take your vitamins.
This nutritional tip is as simple as they come…. Make room for multivitamins.
The human body is a powerhouse, yes. However, we are incapable of consuming all of the essential nutrients that the body requires to function optimally on a daily basis.
This is where multivatimas come into play.
It is critical that you find multivitamins that are tailored to your biological composition, considering that the nutritional demands of the biological female and male bodies are very different.
By taking comprehensive multivitamins daily, you are supporting your body on a nutritionally granular level. This sets your physical body up for success on the fitness side of things.
- Identify and dismantle disordered eating.
Disordered eating can look like many things, and while there is no rulebook for how to disrupt and correct disordered eating behaviors, there are steps you can take to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
The first is to identify the complexity and roots of your eating behaviors to the best of your ability.
Once you do so, you can begin to incorporate practices into your daily routine that offset your disordered eating patterns. For many people, this “offset” is fitness.
When you find a passion and purpose behind physical exercise, you learn more about your body, from what it demands to what health and fitness lifestyle it prefers.
So take the time to investigate your eating behaviors while simultaneously gauging how an active fitness regimen affects them.
- Sneak those veggies in.
You knew this tip was coming….
Eat. Your. Veggies.
No matter the diet you adhere to, vegetables are a staple. Be sure you are getting enough on a daily basis and aim for the dark leafy greens. If you are not a fan of spinach and her sisters, throw them in a smoothie, bake them with seasonings or saute and add them to your favorite cooked dish.
By doing so, you are providing your body with essential nutrients that are required to exert yourself physically. If you are working out multiple times a week, sneaking a diverse selection of vegetables into your diet should be a priority.