If nutrition and your weight is on your mind, you’re not alone. In fact, this is a question asked by many of our members!
Whether our members are asking to lose weight, gain weight or maintain their current weight, how important is nutrition for your health and wellness journey? The answer is, extremely!
Nutrition actually amounts to about 80% of the effort. In fact, if you start eating right for your goals, even without exercise, you’ll be able to see some changes in your body and yes, even your mind.
Let’s talk about the different benefits healthy nutrition can bring to your life.
Feeling better in general
Eating good foods boosts your energy levels. We need to start viewing food as a fuel source rather than something that makes us “fat” or “skinny”. Food is there to fuel all the systems of our body - our immune system, endocrine system (hormones), cardiovascular system (heart), reproductive system, brain and every cell reaction in the body uses what we put into our body to make us function every day.
If you don’t fuel your body correctly for what your body needs, you can end up with gut issues, poor looking and feeling skin, your hormones may be all out of whack, you can have issues with sleep and you may get sick often. If you meet your body's needs with the right healthy foods, your body will look and feel amazing!
Better quality sleep
All of your recovery for your body happens in your sleep. Studies have shown that reducing sleep from 8.5hrs per night to 5.5hrs per night = 55% less fat loss!
So just by sleeping more you could improve your body's composition! If you sleep 5-6 hours when you really need 8-9, you keep your body in a chronically sleep deprived state, impairing your body's ability to regulate several key hormones.
- Ghrelin levels rise - triggering hunger
- Leptin levels fall so it takes longer to feel full
- Endocannabinoids increase making your perception of food more pleasurable.
Tip from the experts: Try taking a magnesium tablet before bed or adding some carbohydrates to your night time meal, which will help you sleep better.
Higher brain function
If your body isn’t receiving the right nutrients and minerals, the brain doesn’t function as effectively. You can have issues with memory, problem solving and coming up with ideas. Food is fuel for the brain and the brain controls all of our movements throughout the day.
Better recovery from exercise
Protein is the building blocks for our muscles. If we do not fuel the body correctly, you will not see the same benefits from your exercise. Protein helps your muscles repair after workouts, thus get stronger and/or bigger.
Carbohydrates help lower your stress response and inflammatory damage from training and help enhance your whole body hydration by improving how quickly fluid is absorbed.
Good fats like your Omega 3’s and 6’s help to decrease Inflammation and help the body heal and recover from training sessions.
Increased immune function
Deficiencies in key nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and calcium can compromise your immunity. If you are eating a healthy diet, you’ll find you won't get sick as often. And if you do get sick, you will recover quicker because your body has the right nutrients and minerals to fight against infections and viruses.
Tip from the experts: If you find yourself coming down with something, ease off processed foods and sugars because virus’ actually feed off them. Increase your vegetable and nutrient intake for possibly a faster recovery!
Decreased risk of disease
A poor diet is associated with a number of health concerns including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis and arthritis.
The healthier your diet is, the lower your risk of all these diseases, so it’s a no brainer. Get your nutrition in check and you’ll visit the doctor less, have less health issues and live longer and stronger.
So, how to get started?
This is just the beginning but, here are my top suggestions to get you started on the healthy track:
- Eat protein in all your main meals: Helps you feel full
- Choose whole foods: Fruits, veggies, anything that isn’t processed
- Add good fats: Avocado, unsaturated oils, nuts
- Reduce things inflammatory for your gut: gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and wheat
- Avoid processed foods: When you’re shopping, look at the back of the packet for the ingredients list. If it contains a bunch of things you don’t recognise, don’t buy it because your body probably won’t know how to process it.
Looking to learn more from a personal trainer with nutrition expertise? Get in touch with us today.
Jackie is one of our Level 3 personal trainers at Virgin Active Bourke Street in Melbourne. She has been working with Virgin Active since 2012, and has a Bachelor degree in Exercise Sports Science and is also Precision Nutrition Certified. If you want to chat further, reach out to her through our Talk to Us page or follow her on Instagram @letmeworkit_jackie.