How does a balanced diet actually affect fitness?

Today is my gymmiversary – I’ve been gymming for a year exactly!

It’s been a long road and it certainly hasn’t been straightforward – and that’s mainly because I’ve had to undergo a massive learning curve to forget a lot of the ‘facts’ I thought I knew about food…

I remember the first time I set foot in a gym, last January. I started using some of the equipment, lifting as heavy weights as I could. It felt amazing! I worked out for about an hour before going home, eating a massive dinner (I figured I’d earned it) and going to sleep.

The following day, I woke up feeling terrible. I hurt SO much – every muscle was in agony.

About a week later, I went again – but this time, I prepared. I read a lot of magazine articles about ‘good’ fats and researched what the different machines did. I started working out more frequently, with lighter weights. A month later, my stamina had increased but I’d piled on fat. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong!

It wasn’t until I started using an app to monitor my eating habits that I began to understand more about food – and how important the correct diet is to your long-term health and wellbeing.

Here are two of the main things I’ve learned when it comes to feeding fitness and helping the body balance out fat and muscle:

  • Muscle increases metabolism. A higher metabolism makes it easier to build muscle. (and repeat)
    Muscle keeps your metabolism at a higher resting rate: In other words, people who increase their muscle naturally burn more calories between workouts.
  • Carbs, fats and proteins ARE needed
    These are called ‘macronutrients’ and each of them plays a vital part in maintaining body functions and fitness. Cutting out any of these is counterproductive and can do real damage to your body.That’s why fad or abstinence diets (where any type of macronutrient is entirely reduced) are always a bad idea. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a billion times – we advocate fitness, not just weight loss!

If you’re interested in being fit and healthy, it’s incredibly important to recognise what macronutrients do and have some idea of how they should fit into your diet. There’s a great article here from the McKinley Health Centre that tells you much more about macronutrients and how they are needed.

Of course, nutrition is a really complex subject and there’s much more to know than this. We’re looking forward to getting some nutritionists in to talk to us about healthy diets and the part they play in helping fitness.

Keep your eyes on the site for more news soon – and don’t forget to get in touch with any questions or thoughts!

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