Nutrition and Health

General Nutrition and Health

general health and nutrition

Perhaps you’ve done the math. It is true that to lose 1 pound of body weight, you need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories over a period of time. Indeed, if your basal metabolic rate is 3,500 calories and you consume 1,750 less calories every day, you will lose 1 pound every 2 days.

There is a myth that your body will go into starvation mode if you cut too many calories and expend fewer calories during activity. While your body will enter starvation mode, you will not burn fewer calories.

If you maintain a regular activity routine, your calorie expenditure will be the same. Saying that you will burn less calories during the same activities in starvation mode is like saying that your car will run on less gas if you put less gas in it all the time.

However, your body will make it harder for you to perform a regular routine. Depending on how many calories you cut, simple acts like climbing stairs (or even walking) will become very difficult, if not impossible.

Proper nutrition is about eating a balanced diet rich in the nutrients you need, without exceeding your daily caloric intake. For some people, like weight trainers, nutrition can become ever more complicated — and is covered in full below. But first, some facts about the basic components of the food we eat.

Dietary Fat

Fat tends to get a bed reputation, but your body does need some fat during the day to help you absorb vitamins, fight wrinkles, enhance brain power, and reduce food cravings. Everyone needs some visible fat on their bodies to cushion bones and organs. Sitting in a chair without fat to cushion your bones would be an intensely uncomfortable experience.

Most people should limit fats to 20% to 35% of their total caloric intakes to maintain a healthy weight. Children ages two to three need slightly more fat in their diets — ranging from 30% to 35%. Children and adolescents should aim for a minimum of 25% of their daily caloric intake as fat. Certain fats should be limited as part of your diet, like saturated fat found in many junk foods, fatty meats, and fried foods.

Carbohydrates

general health and nutrition

Carbohydrates are the primary energy providers for your body. When you ingest carbohydrates, your body converts them to glucose for use as fuel. Glucose is also a readily storable energy source. In other words, your body will readily store excess glucose around your liver and muscles for later use.

There are two types of carbohydrates available in foods, complex and simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates are starches in some vegetables like corn and potatoes, but primarily in grains, cereals, and breads. Most complex carb sources also include another valuable nutrient (especially for dieters) called fiber.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber and healthy and necessary for bodily functions, and are present in whole wheat breads, oatmeal, most fruits, nuts/seeds/legumes, and barley.

Simple carbohydrates, like fat, have a very negative reputation. Unlike fat, the reputation that simple carbohydrates have is largely earned. While there are some healthy sources of simple carbs like fruits, dairy, and vegetables, the majority of simple carbohydrates in most peoples’ diets come from foods with added sugar, or processed foods. When avoiding foods with added sugar, check for the following ingredients (which can even be sneakily present in many sliced breads):

  • Corn syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Molasses
  • Malt syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Lactose
  • Maltose

Try to cut simple carbohydrates from your diet by drinking water instead of sugary drinks, opting for fruit instead of cakes or pies as desserts, and choose whole grain cereals for breakfast rather than those high in processed and refined sugar.

Protein

When you think of the nutrient protein, you probably think of body builders or exercise enthusiasts obsessed with huge muscles — and that’s not a difficult assumption to make with all of the marketing centered around protein shakes, powders, bars, and supplements. It would be easy to assume that most of us don’t get enough protein in our diets. In reality, most people get plenty of protein from the foods they eat without realizing it.

And that’s a good thing, as protein is a vital nutrient needed by your body — present in every organ, cell, tissue and muscle in your body. 10% to 35% of your daily caloric intake should be made up of protein. There are two different types of protein available in food sources, complete and incomplete protein.

A complete protein is a food source that provides all of the essential amino acids necessary in your diet. Complete protein sources are from animals, like meat, eggs, and cheese. An incomplete protein food source contains some amino acids, but not all of them that your body needs. Foods like rice and beans are both incomplete protein sources, but together provide all of the amino acids necessary for bodily functions, effectively replacing a complete protein if necessary.

Vitamins and Minerals

general health and nutrition

Vitamins and Minerals are like the specialized workers of your body’s “factory”, each helping and assisting your body in being better able to perform the various biological functions required to support life and to combat diseases and viruses that attach the body. For example, vitamin D helps your body thwart a disease called rickets, while a lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy.

Many of the vitamins and minerals required to support good health are naturally produced within the body, with a few notable exceptions. For example, your body cannot produce calcium, a vital nutrient for bone density and health. Thus, calcium must be absorbed from food sources like dairy and proteins.

Supplements and multivitamins are readily available and can assist in ensuring that your body receives the nutrients required to perform the various bodily functions to sustain life.

However, most people can expect to get all of the nutrition they need by consuming a well-balanced diet as supplements are never a good substitute for natural food sources.

Ensuring an Adequate Intake of Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to protein, carbohydrates and fat, strength trainers must ensure that their diets supply them with plenty of vitamins and minerals. There are several reasons for this:

  • Vitamins and minerals are responsible for transporting nutrients through your body. If you don’t consume enough vitamins and minerals, your body will be unable to fully utilize the nutrients you consume.

  • Vitamins and minerals support crucial bodily functions, such as metabolism, digestion, blood cell production, hormone secretion, immune function and much more.

  • Vitamins and minerals support overall health and well-being. Your strength training program will be ineffective if your body and mind aren’t in a general state of good health and well-being.

Vitamins and Minerals that Directly Support a Strength Training Program

The following are examples of vitamins and minerals that directly relate to some of the more obvious aspects of weight training. Remember, all vitamins and minerals are important to good health in their own ways, and you shouldn’t place a lower priority on a given vitamin or mineral just because it doesn’t appear on this list of examples.

Vitamins

  • Vitamin D – Assists with calcium absorption to promote strong bones and teeth
  • Vitamin K – Assists with metabolism
  • Vitamin B1 – Assists with metabolism of carbohydrates
  • Vitamin B2 – Assists with metabolism of fat and protein
  • Vitamin B6 – Assists with metabolism of protein
  • Vitamin C – Maintains connective tissues, such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons.

Minerals

  • Sodium – Regulates fluids and energy release
  • Potassium – Assists muscle function
  • Calcium – Improves bone health and muscle and nerve function
  • Magnesium – Assists with muscle tone
  • Iron – Activates enzymes, transfers oxygen to tissues
  • Phosphorous – Assists with regulating energy stores, bone health and overall growth

The Ideal Number of Daily Meals for Strength Trainers

Once you know approximately how many calories you should consume each day, as well as the types of foods you should eat in order to meet this quota, you’ll need to determine how many meals you should spread these calories amongst on a daily basis. Traditionally, most people are accustomed to consuming three meals per day, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although this is certainly one viable method of consuming the protein, carbohydrates and fat needed to support a strength training program, it’s not the most ideal for most individuals.

Today, most nutritionists (and strength training professionals) believe that it’s better to consume five or six smaller meals each day instead of three larger ones. This has many benefits:

  • Metabolism is elevated and more constant throughout the day, allowing your body to make better use of the calories you consume.

  • Blood sugar spikes are minimized, reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Cravings become more manageable, lowering the chance that you’ll be compelled to binge on unhealthy foods.

  • Energy levels stay higher, maximizing the chance that you’ll be motivated to complete your strength training workouts on schedule. term paper

As a rule of thumb, you should attempt to make all of your meals approximately equal in caloric value with the exception of one meal – the meal you consume immediately after a workout. This is when your energy stores are lowest and your muscles are in the greatest need of protein, which will be used to rebuild muscle tissue that is stronger, denser and larger than before. Your post-workout meal should contain approximately twice as many calories as the other meals you consume during the day.

As a strength trainer, it can sometimes be easy to forget that what you feed your body is just as important as what you do in the weight room. By feeding your body with the right types of foods at the right times, you’ll maximize the effectiveness of your workouts and greatly accelerate your strength training progress in terms of muscular density, mass and strength.

You can also make specific dietary choices that will influence whether you gain or lose overall body weight as your strength training program continues. This will allow you to follow the weight training fitness path of your choosing, which can range from weight loss and toning to preparing for a bodybuilding competition.

general health and nutrition

Individuals that regularly strength train must also consider the relative amounts of fat, carbohydrates and protein that they consume on a daily basis, as well as the proper times to consume each type of macronutrient.

Although protein is obviously the most heavily discussed macronutrient for strength training, the importance of both carbs and fat cannot be overstated.

In order to receive the greatest strength training benefits from your daily dietary food intake routine, you will need to distinguish between simple and complex carbohydrates, saturated and unsaturated fat, and the smaller subsets of nutrients contained within the larger more general food groups.

Never assume that you can compensate for poor dietary decisions by spending extra time in the weight room. Making progressive gains in strength, muscle density and lean muscle mass depends on your ability to strength train with intensity during each and every session, and maintaing a proper diet is the only way to have the energy necessary to achieve the appropriate level of intensity.

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