Last week we looked at some tips to kickstart your fitness routine. This week we will look at an essential component for reaching your fitness goals: nutrition.
Whatever your fitness goals might be⏤whether you’re trying to build strength, improve your cardiovascular system, lose weight, or gain muscle⏤you’ll need to integrate a nutritional plan to help you reach your goals because what you eat is very important in providing the necessary nutrients and energy for your body to function optimally and support your exercise routine.
Get a baseline by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy (calories) that a person’s body burns at rest to carry out essential functions such as breathing and maintaining organ function. Your BMR is calculated using your age, height, and weight. You can calculate your BMR here.
Once you have calculated your BMR, you can use it as a baseline to estimate your daily calorie requirements based on your activity level. This is known as Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
Sedentary: BMR x 1.2
Lightly active: BMR x 1.375
Moderately active: BMR x 1.55
Very active: BMR x 1.725
Super active: BMR x 1.9
Once you have your TDEE, you will have a reasonable estimate of your daily calorie requirements for the day and you can start to make adjustments if needed, depending on your goals. It’s important to note that these formulas provide estimates, and individual BMR and TDEE can vary based on factors such as genetics, hormones, and health status.
Get smart. Knowledge of nutrition can help you to make better choices when it comes to food options. You can learn to read food labels, understand different cooking methods, and recognise the impact of different foods on your overall health. Avoid fad or calorie restrictive diets that can be difficult to sustain. Instead, take a long-term approach that incorporates a balanced healthy diet. Build your knowledge level and experiment with what works for you and your lifestyle.
Slow things down. When you eat slowly, your brain has time to register the feelings of fullness and satiety, which can prevent overeating and lead to a healthier body composition. Additionally, chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly can improve digestion, as it allows your stomach to properly break down and absorb the nutrients from your food.
Get prepped by making some meals in advance or measuring out portions in advance. Meal prep offers a range of benefits for improving nutrition, with portion control being one of the most significant advantages, as it allows you to portion out your meals in advance and avoid overeating. Additionally, meal prep enables you to choose healthier ingredients and create balanced meals, reducing the likelihood of reaching for unhealthy fast food or snacks.
Stay hydrated. Water helps with digestion by breaking down food and facilitating the absorption of nutrients, which allows the body to efficiently absorb the essential vitamins and minerals needed for proper bodily function. Additionally, drinking enough water helps regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration during exercise. As a general guideline, aim for around 2 litres a day.
Get your timing right. Regardless of how many meals you are consuming throughout the day, try to spread them out evenly. A balanced breakfast can set the tone for the rest of the day. Timing meals and snacks around exercise can also be particularly important. Pre-workout nutrition can help you sustain energy levels throughout your workout, while post-workout nutrition can help replenish and rebuild the body.
Get rest. Getting enough sleep is an often overlooked component of improving or optimising your nutrition. Sleep can aid in proper nutrition and overall health. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, leading to increased appetite and overeating. Additionally, lack of sleep can lead to decreased energy levels and motivation, which can make it more difficult to stick to a healthy diet. Sleep can also aid in muscle recovery and repair after exercise, which can lead to improved physical performance and overall fitness.