In celebration of the Eat Well, Feel Well nutrition campaign this week, VP Sport Dom Brown has a list of useful tips for sport and nutrition to help you stay healthy!
Being active has so many different benefits, but it’s important that look after your body in the right way to support yourself. This blog will give you a few useful tips to learn how to eat and train to achieve different goals.
I am by no means an expert on the topic, but there are a few bits and pieces that I have picked up from research, so I am passing the basics on to you!
There are a number of different radical diets and techniques for being healthy, but the key thing to remember is that human bodies work in different ways. This means that something that suits someone else might not work for you. It’s about finding what fits your lifestyle and most importantly, what makes you happy.
‘Calories’ is a bit of a buzzword, but people often aren’t quite sure what they are. A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy people get from the food and drink they consume, and the energy they use in physical activity.
Effectively, they are a handy way to measure your body’s fuel tank. Different people require different amounts of calories to run efficiently. If you want to find out your number, check out this website for a quick answer.
There are three general objectives of being fit and healthy: cutting weight, bulking, or maintaining weight. Let’s have a quick look over the three and see how you can support your body while achieving your objective!
If you put fewer calories into your body than the calculator recommends you need to maintain, then you will be running at a calorie deficit. This puts you in a catabolic state where the tissue starts to break down in your body. In simple terms, this may mean you start to lose weight.
Reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet will help with this process, however, you don’t need to completely scrap them because everyone loves a good bit of rice and potato.
Now, eating healthy doesn’t mean turning into a rabbit and only eating cucumber and lettuce. There are plenty of great foods out there to help with cutting your calories. For meat-eaters, try and stick to lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and pork, and for vegetarians and vegans, there are plenty of great alternatives too.
In the gym, you want to be focusing on exercises that get your heart rate up, these can be cardio, weights or conditioning. Shorten your rest times and make workouts dynamic by introducing supersets. High-intensity interval training is good for cardio and if you want to focus on weights then try and up the reps in sets and reduce the weight.
Bulking is when people are looking to put on weight or muscle, this is for all body shapes and sizes so don’t be put off when some massive muscly gym-goer says they’re bulking, because it’s just a general term.
To bulk, you generally want to do the opposite of cutting, and eat at a caloric surplus to reach an anabolic state. Simply put, eating more calories than you need to put on muscle and mass. Now, to keep your calories high, you want to be incorporating plenty of natural fats, protein, and carbohydrates into your diet.
The diet is similar to the cutting diet but with slightly more foods that contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
In the gym, you want to be using those extra calories to pack on muscle, focus on lifting heavier weights and fewer reps per set to really grow those muscles. Focus on key areas such as chest, shoulders, and arms and look to set goals for weights in your training.
Maintaining, if you hadn’t guessed by now, is the middle ground of both, if you aggregate cutting and bulking then this is it. If you are happy with your body size then this is ideal for staying healthy and maintaining muscle.
Your diet can hit different macros such as carbs, protein, fat, and fibre without excessively focusing on cutting or overdoing one of them. In the gym, you can vary your workouts but might want to focus on exercises that tone muscles rather than grow them. This is usually achieved through high reps and low weight while focusing on form.
After you figure out your body’s ideal calorie intake for maintaining the weight you can start planning around your lifestyle. Even a small healthy eating change can make you feel better!
To round things off, there are some key points to let you know about. A key element of staying healthy is to constantly consume water. It will keep the body hydrated and help it stay fresh and energised.
To help with calorie counting, I recommend downloading the free My Fitness Pal app where you can easily track your calories over the day to ensure you are hitting your targets.
It’s really important to note that when you are trying to bulk or cut, don’t go too far under or over the recommended calorie intake, otherwise you will start seeing adverse effects. If you are going too far under your calorie intake then your body will start to weaken and store fat. If you go too far over then you will begin to gain weight in the wrong areas!
Finally, make sure that you are eating healthily to reach your calorie goal, don’t get into the regular habit of ‘dirty bulking’ and eating processed food to reach your target as it won’t have the same effect. However, it is important to let yourself have a cheat day every week or two, no one is able to maintain this lifestyle 24/7 so it is a good idea to build this into your routine, remember it’s all about moderation!
There are plenty of websites and tips to help you with your journey so I recommend doing some research to further your knowledge. You won’t be an expert at this from the beginning but the longer you do it the more you will learn!
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