Eat to Perform: Unlock Your Fitness Potential with The Power of Nutrition
Did you ever stop to think about how what's on your plate might be the secret to boosting your fitness levels? Intriguing, right? Grab a seat, because we're about to dive into the fascinating intersection of nutrition and fitness performance.
Originally we looked at sports nutrition as a way to help athletes optimize performance. Now we are looking at how we can use nutrition the same way for the average person to optimize their health and physique.
Secret 1: Turning Up the Heat on Your Metabolism
Imagine your body as a finely tuned engine, continuously burning fuel, even when you're relaxing. This function is called your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which accounts for a whopping 60-80% of all the calories you burn each day. But there's more. When you're active, either walking, running, or hitting the gym, your body burns an additional 20-40% of calories.
Now, let's add another layer to this. Certain foods, like celery, and lean proteins function as 'fat-burning champions.' These are special because they help your body burn more calories during digestion than they provide. By eating more of these foods and staying active, you can fan your metabolic flame, keeping it burning bright and strong as you age and strive to stay in top form.
So the simple step of adding a breakfast with protein can be a huge step towards creating some metabolic heat to speed up your metabolism.
Secret 2: Fueling Your Workouts Intelligently
Think of food as the powerhouse that charges your workouts. Choosing the right types of food is akin to selecting high-capacity batteries that perform better and last longer. This extra fuel allows you to train harder and longer, enabling you to burn more calories during each workout session.
The more energy you have the harder you can work. The harder you can work the more you burn. So many clients make the mistake of not eating before a workout hoping it will help them lose weight.
That is contractive. If you don’t eat enough you can’t put your body into Afterburn. Afterburn is the secret to long term sustainable weight loss. Want to get lean and have more definition? Secret 3 is the key!
Secret #3: The Marvel of the Afterburn Effect
Let's switch gears and talk about a fascinating phenomenon known as 'afterburn,' or scientifically, Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). After an intense workout, especially after a weightlifting session, your body begins a repair and recovery process. This 'clean-up' job keeps your body working hard and burning calories for up to 48 hours after your workout, just like an engine cooling down after a long trip. Quite impressive, isn't it?
The best part is during this period, your body is starving for nutrients. This is why focusing on whole minimally processed foods is key. You want to put good fuel back into the system so that the engine runs well next time out.
Secret #4: The Bonus of Post-Workout Meals
Refueling after a workout is crucial! Post-workout meals replenish the nutrients your body used up during exercise. But there's an added bonus: these meals increase the amount of calories your body burns while digesting food. This thermogenic effect, where your body heats up to break down food, is amplified after physical activity.
To harness this calorie-burning benefit, it helps to schedule your meals around your workouts. Eat a balanced meal before your workout to fuel your body, and another one afterward to replenish your energy stores and take advantage of this increased thermic effect.
Eating to Perform
The link between nutrition and physical performance is undeniable. Food is more than just a source of pleasure; it's a vital component of our fitness journey. Smart food choices can fuel our workouts, rev up our metabolism, aid recovery, and even help us burn more calories.
So, whether you're an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or someone starting their fitness journey, remember: to unlock your full fitness potential, it's essential to eat in a way that supports your performance.
Fuel your body wisely, train hard, and watch as you surpass your fitness goals, one meal at a time. Let's eat to perform and unlock our true potential.
Chris Lingham CSCS