Your body is as you make, it’s either a temple or an amusement park. We’ve all heard various catch phrases throughout our lives that “you are what you eat” and so on. There is so much truth to this, but sometimes we hear something too much and we forget the actual value of it.
Odds are, if you workout, even casually, you sometimes are conscious about what you eat. Maybe you are trying for less carbs, or more. Maybe you’re trying to get more greens in, or maybe you’re a protein junkie. Either way, you have certain nutrional goals.
As we both know, it isn’t always easy. You are assaulted on a constant basis by everything around you. There you are, trying to keep up with some nutrition goal, and everywhere you turn are fast food restaurants, friends who want to go out, and naturally, it’s food NOT on your list. Maybe you mean to have only one “cheat day” a week, then it turns out that your cheat day is any day that ends in the word DAY.
It’s not easy, but any goal worth attaining requires a certain level of discipline. While it’s great to have the goals, it’s equally important to know how those goals ultimately affect you. There is certainly no shortage of nutrition lifestyles out there: Paleo, Keto, Blue Zone, Vegan, Fruitarian (legit thing, look it up- I don’t recommend, but that’s just me). So with that being said, I’m not trying to promote one lifestyle over another. Ultimately you need to do what is best for you, although I always suggest talking to a nutritionist and really find out what you need. Instead, let’s quickly look at WHAT certain types of nutrition actually does for you.
- More than Carbs, Protein, and Calories
While the above is certainly true, and there is more out there to think about than just those three things. There is an entire other world out there you might not be familiar with: Phytochemicals, Macronutrients, biodomes in your gut, and more! All of these interconnect, and interact with the foods you eat, but they seem to be lesser known in the grand scheme of things. When thinking about the foods you eat, start thinking about how these factors play into your fitness and health plan.
For example: Phytochemicals, which play a role in the color of plants and fruits, while not considered absolutely essential to well-being, do offer an amount of folic acid, vitamin E, and more. Macronutrients are the essentials and workhorses for the body (your protein, carbs, and fats) without the right kind and amount, you won’t achieve your goals. As for your gut biodome; many recent studies show that the bacteria in your gut is pretty much responsible and directly linked to nearly every aspect of your health…so treat your stomach well, you really are what you eat.
After a great workout, your body is fatigued. You’ve pushed yourself hard and really worked out the muscles and ligaments, and now they need a chance to recuperate. Worse case scenario, you injured yourself while working out, now your body needs time to put itself back together.
The right amount of protein can be essential in aiding recovery efforts for your body. According to Active.com, protein:
- Helps repair damaged muscle fibers
- Helps create protein synthesis for energy
- Helps in replenishing depleted energy
Depending on the level of activity, IE. an endurance athlete versus a casual fitness person, will determine how much protein you need when it comes to your workouts or recovery. The optimal time to begin recovery is about 15–20 min. after your workout.
3. Best Options
This can be somewhat arbitrary as each person is different and may have allergies or intolerance to certain foods. In general, there are some tried and true “go-to” foods for athletes. You want to try to the foods that are going to give you the most return when it comes to nutrients, energy, and recovery. Some options you may want to try:
- Oatmeal: Yeah, might sound boring, but it works. With a good amount of complex carbs and a low glycemic level, oatmeal also gives your body a vital dose of vitamin B and helps keep that cholesterol count in check.
- Kale and other anti-oxidant enriched Greens: Drop some of these in a smoothie blend and your body will thank you. Greens, like Kale, will help give you body a boost of a variety of vitamins (A,B, K, others). Throw in the Iron dose, Potassium, Flavonoids, and other properties that help wipe out Free-Radicals from your body, and you are eating a powerhouse of a food.
- Bananas: Need a quick jolt of fuel for a workout? Behold the might banana. Enough carbs to propel an hour of intense work out, this food also packs in Potassium and B6. Throw in a scoop of organic peanut butter and some raw honey and see how much energy you have (no, really, try it)
- Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, etc…: Many of these foods come with a healthy supply of everything from Protein, Anti-Oxidants, various vitamins, Omega 3, and Selenium,
- This list can go on and on, but look for food items that pack the nutrients, avoids the sugars, minimizes process, and ultimately helps your body.
4. Vitamins: For the purpose of this blog I am not boosting or advocating supplements as they vary so widely in effectiveness and each person prefers different things. So these are natural vitamins that ever athlete should have in the routine.
- Vitamin D: Bone density and bone strength are important to all aspects of life, but especially when it comes to preventing injury, and then speedy recovery should you have one. Vitamin D gives you just that (as well as some side benefits your body will thank you for).
- Vitamin C: You probably know this is good when you’re sick or to help prevent some colds, but it can also help you after a workout. Some studies have shown that taking Vitamin C post workout can help with faster recover, and with soreness and fatigue that comes after a grueling work out.
- The B’s: The B group of vitamins (especially B12) helps with overall energy and wellness. The B group of vitamins aid with mood, skin healthy, memory, fatty acid synthesis and so much more. Start researching how can be incorporating: Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin(B2), Niacin (B3), B6, B7, and B12 into your routine.
- Not sure what to take? Talk to an expert. Consider having some blood work done and find out if your body is deficient in anything. This will at least give you the road map of where to start.
You absolutely, without a doubt, no debating, NEED WATER. Think about the amount of water your body looses when you work out. Think about the impact on your organs, your mental clarity, and over body toll you experience when dehydrated. You can live three weeks without food, but only three days without water. Water makes up 2/3 of your muscle tissue and 25% of fatty tissue, so you need to keep your self hydrated. For a general rule, according to the American College of Sports and Medicine, you need about 3–6oz of water for every 20 min of exercise.
As for how many glasses a day, don’t think in terms of 8 glasses a day, think in comparative terms to your weight. EX: A person weighs 200 pounds, they need 100oz of water, or about 12 8oz glass of water…and change.
Last Rep (Final Thoughts)
The right amount of nutrition will directly impact every area of your life. If you want to continue making gains and progress, than what you ingest and what you subject your body to will correlate. If you are stagnant in your workout goals, or if you find yourself prone to injuries, you might want to take a step back and look at your nutrition, odds are the issue is there.
Nothing I say here should be considered medical advise, nor is it possible for it to be all encompassing to all people (except the water part). Some people have allergies or intolerances to various things, so please consult an expert and found out exactly what YOU need and go from there.
Your health and wellbeing is the most important thing you have, and to a large degree, something you have more control of than other things. So take control and be the best person you can be for yourself.
Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Let us know… message us, we would love to hear from you. Are you in the San Antonio, Texas area? Need a place to work out? Stop by Crossfit San Antonio and try us out! Great people, a great facility, and drop-ins are always welcome.