Nutrition and Diet
The government and the World Health Organisation, recommend eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Good nutrition is a crucial part of any fitness programme. Training provides the stimulus and your diet provides the raw materials for becoming fit. Eating the correct foods will increase energy, maximise your gains in the gym and improve your health. It will also provide the fuel and fluid needed for intense training, speed your recovery after training, reduce fatigue and help you achieve a healthy body composition.
Calories are the most important element in any diet. To lose weight you eat less and to gain weight you need to take in more than you burn. Calories should come from a balanced intake of carbohydrate, protein and fat.
Eating for weight loss
The most effective way to lose body fat is by combining regular exercise with a modest and sustainable calorie reduction.
Long term weight control is about making simple yet lasting changes to the way you eat.
Eating for weight gain
Lean weight gain can be achieved by combining a consistent fitness programme with a balanced diet. Your fitness training programme will provide the stimulus for muscle growth while your diet should provide sufficient energy and nutrients to enable your muscles to grow at the optimal rate. One without the other will result in minimal lean weight gain.
Of all the nutrients, water is the most important. It makes up more than 60 percent of your body weight and is vital for all cells. The British Dietetic Association recommends drinking at least 1.5 litres a day.
Drinking water before and during training will help you to exercise harder and longer. One of the most important roles of water is to get rid of excess heat produced by your exercising muscles. In hot or humid conditions you will lose more fluid so you will need to drink more.
If your last meal was more than four hours before your workout, it is recommended to eat a small carbohydrate rich snack i.e. banana, handful of dried fruit, or a sports drink. This will help boost blood sugar levels.
However if you wish to lose weight be aware that many commercial energy drinks are high in calories. If you drink too much, you could end up taking in more calories than you burn off.
Omega- 3s and exercise
Evidence suggests that consuming foods rich in omega-3s can reduce inflammation, pain and joint stiffness, and speed post workout recovery. It may also enhance aerobic performance by optimising oxygen delivery to your cells, reducing blood viscosity and making red cell membranes more flexible.
The richest source of omega-3s is oily fish i.e. mackerel, pilchards, trout, salmon, herring and sardines.