Proving Plate Power
Do you ever feel like you are constantly spending time engaging in numerous physical activities a week, yet you are still not seeing the results you want?
Then perhaps it is time to look at your nutrition. The old saying that ‘achieving fitness goals is 30% exercise and 70% diet’ is the truth, and sometimes making some minor changes in your meal plans will have you feeling better and achieving those necessary goals.
In this blog, we discuss how your plate holds so much power. We have researched the importance of a well-balanced nutritious diet, as well as, learning about how different foods fuel your workouts.
The Role of Food in Fitness
Today, many people often associate the word ‘diet’ with categorising food into groups of good and bad, or worse, restrictive eating.
These associations are created by diet culture, which has been idealized for years in the media. Trending headlines such as ‘How to Lose Belly Fat Fast,’ or ‘The Ultimate Abs Diet’ have dominated the space of fitness diets, and one could argue that this is the root cause of misinformation regarding fitness and food.
The truth is, there is no easy route, so whatever new trendy ‘diet’ is promising you a top model body in just two weeks, is probably not true, or worse, not maintainable!
In order for your body to perform its best throughout the day, you need to ensure that you are feeding yourself with foods that are going to keep you energised and feeling good. Remember, restriction is not the key here, because this leads to binging.
What Are Your Fitness Goals?
The first, and most essential step for planning out a balanced nutrition plan, is to determine what your fitness goals are.
Are you looking to build muscle? Do you struggle with energy during your physical activities? Are you trying to lose or maintain weight? These questions are essential because each one requires a different combination of your main food groups.
Consider your body to be a high-performance car, and food is its fuel. Just like a car runs best on high-quality fuel, your body requires nutritious food to function well. Otherwise, you will be fatigued and sluggish, and your performance may suffer as a result.
We did our research into the different food groups that positively affect fitness performance, and here is what we found:
- Carbohydrates: Despite what the internet says, carbs are not the enemy and do not need to be avoided! Carbohydrates provide us with energy meaning that it is actually essential for optimal performance during your workouts. The distinction comes when deciding what type of carbs, you choose to consume. For example, potato chips are high in carbs, but certainly not the best choice for your source of carbs as opposed to, whole grain pasta for example.
- Proteins: This food group is the key ingredient for muscle growth. Proteins help the body build tissue, which of course is found in muscles, skin, bone, and hair. Foods that provide you with a large dose of protein, are chicken, eggs, milk, fish, cottage cheese, and the like. But again, you want to opt for the more nutritious option, for example, a grilled piece of chicken will do much more for your fitness, than a deep-fried chicken.
- Fat: This word probably has the most negative connotation; however, it is more beneficial than you would know. Fats have many benefits, such as assisting with vitamin absorption, helping maintain the integrity of cell membranes, they are a dense energy source, and so on. But, one of the most important characteristics of fats is that they help keep you fuller for longer. This will also help lessen the likelihood for binging. These types of healthy fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and the like.
- Hydration: If you are waiting until you are thirsty to drink water, then you are already too late. Hydration is a crucial step in fitness because it plays a role in improving concentration, maintaining your body’s temperature, and building endurance during physical activity.
In summary, nutrition is all about balance, and focusing on foods that are going to allow your body to perform to the best of its ability. However, that is not to say that you should eliminate luxuries, because while you are feeding your stomach, you also need to be feeding your soul. This means allowing yourself to indulge in your favourite treats but understanding that moderation is key.
Professionals often recommend meal prepping and focusing on eating full, balanced meals, because this deters you from excessive snacking throughout the day. By planning and preparing balanced meals in advance, you not only save time, but also ensure that your body receives the essential nutrients it needs to sustain energy levels and promote overall well-being. This structured approach to eating, not only supports your physical health but also encourages mindful consumption and fosters a healthier relationship with food.
The essence of Merrell is to inspire people to embrace an active lifestyle and seek adventures in the great outdoors. Part of this journey involves adopting habits that promote your overall well-being. So, with your new nutritious plan in place, prep those meals, lace up your Merrell trail runners, and achieve all your fitness goals this month!