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Food and Fitness: What to Eat to Reach Your Goals

Learn how to plan a healthy and nutritious lifestyle across the spectrum of wellness by selecting the best methods to stay fit.

Fitness and Nutrition

Fitness and Nutrition - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Overview of Nutrition and Weight Management

The road to a dream body can seem endless and rocky for so many people. The average diet consists of high-carb fast-foods and processed junk. What’s more, our busy lives often get in the way of making time for exercise, not to mention the bad food choices. If you are reading this, you might be ready for a change or looking for tips to get more out of current routines.

Congratulations! Researching the best methods for fitness success is the first step in the right direction on your journey. Not only will following these healthy tips lead to those physical health goals in the mirror and on the scale, but they will also improve your immune system, create a better mood, and help you get a better night’s sleep.

How to Get the Best Fitness Results

1. Know When to Exercise for Your Body Clock

Some people swear by working out before work or fitting in the sunrise jog, but this doesn’t always work for everyone’s schedule. Despite theories that state mornings are the most beneficial time to exercise, there is no scientific research stating that one time of day is better than another for exercise.

In addition to these findings, studies have shown that working out at any time of day can lead to a better night’s sleep than on those nights after no workout at all. It’s okay to try different times of day to see what works best for you.

2. Get to Know Your Body Type

If it seems like your attempts at keeping a nutritious diet and exercise plan are all for naught due to lack of results, it might because you are taking the wrong steps for your body type. Some builds need to maintain a schedule of regular small meals and constant snacks in order to build muscle and keep up with rapid metabolism.

Others may try the exact same regimen and gain body fat instead simply because their metabolism is not as naturally fast. You can start to better understand where you are on the body type range by trying a simple quiz like this. Knowing your body type opens the door to choosing a diet and exercise routine that matches your individual needs.

3. Understand When to Eat

Meal Time

Knowing when to eat is equally important as knowing what to eat. Eating in relation to sleep, exercise, stress, and hunger directly relates to the effectiveness of your diet and workout. A general rule is to only eat when the sun is up, and to keep meals a reasonable size with well-planned snacks in between. “Well-planned” means an intentional healthy choice, not a quick fix from the vending machine.

Circadian misalignment, which is an unbalanced 24-hour schedule, is often influenced by or made worse by eating at night. The body has a lower glucose tolerance during these unfavorable times when it comes to eating.

In short, whether the food is nutritious or not, the best diet plan will always discourage nighttime eating!

4. Ignore the Scale, Check Your Clothes

Unless the numbers on the scale matter for entering a particular weight class for things like bodybuilding or wrestling competitions, it is in your best interest to measure success by the fit of your clothes and overall mood and energy levels rather than weight.

Your body will naturally go through fluctuations of retaining water, losing water weight, digesting, and more. This causes the scale to give numbers that aren’t true to your progress. It can be disheartening, especially for someone new to fitness, to see the numbers rise or lower every other day as your body learns to adjust to your new attempts at wellness.

Instead, try to weigh in only once per month instead of daily. The temptation is strong but resisting the urge to weigh every time you are near a scale will give you more confidence and peace of mind when it comes to checking progress.

5. Drink Water

Drink Water

Water is the cornerstone of wellness. Without it, all other attempts at health and fitness may fail or fall short of their true potential. You probably already know this, but your body is mostly made of water. H2O is the first step in creating the saliva and the first ingredient in processing and dispelling waste from the body.

Many struggle to lose belly fat simply because of excess bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria and water to flush them out. Water also serves to regulate body temperatures and protect joints and muscles. Dehydration can lead to uncomfortable and deadly side effects from cramps and constipation to seizures and kidney failure.

It is important to remember that chugging water all it once is not the best way to combat dehydration either. Instead, drink steadily throughout the day and choose foods like watermelon, celery, and cucumber that add more fluids to your regular diet.

With so many studies showing the importance of water for our health, it makes sense to incorporate this good habit in your new healthy lifestyle

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3 Ways to Maintain Your Fitness Nutrition

Maintain Fitness Nutrition

Like any nugget of great advice, there is almost always a catch. Even when staying consistent with a workout regimen, it is important to find the best diet plan for your body type and fitness goals. No matter the exercise, most body types will never reach full potential without also keeping a nutritious diet. Here are 3 ways to maintain your fitness nutrition.

1. Don’t Starve Yourself

Skipping meals causes your body to go into survival mode. Assuming it won’t be getting another meal any time soon, it will retain more fats instead of processing them, causing even more weight gain the next time you eat.

2. Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Bowels can be inflamed by processed foods, foods with high acidity, and much more. Choose gluten-free options and well-balanced meats and veggies instead of bread, fried foods, or processed snacks. When you choose in anti-inflammatory diet the visual change from a puffy to flat belly is a quick and satisfying fix that will lead to more encouragement to reach your overall goals.

3. Skip the Shakes

Avoid Protein Shakes

Make sure to avoid protein shakes and energy drinks that are full of sugars and unnecessary nutrients for your particular needs. Read labels and compare to your own weight and workout routine. Chances are, if you are not a cross fit champion or professional body builder you do not need that shake.

If you have made it this far, your fitness and nutrition are clearly at the forefront of your mind. Don’t delay! You can start right now on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. The peace of mind and overall benefits that come with making these positive changes are the best rewards. You can do this!

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