Eating to Support a Goal
Here’s a shocking secret: the biggest factor in seeing results toward your fitness goals isn’t how much time you spend in the gym or training. While training is important, diet is the most important factor to seeing results! The body needs to be fueled correctly in order to recover from workouts and function at its prime. When you’re eating correctly, your body will feel energetic, strong, able to think clearly, and recover properly from workouts.
Food is composed of three macronutrients, or “macros” for short: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Each of these types of macros has a different function within the body: proteins are the building blocks of muscle, carbohydrates give the body energy and help the brain to think clearly, and fats give the body long-term energy and help with hormonal balances. If you’re not eating a good balance of the macros or if you’re not eating foods from natural sources, you’ll notice your body respond with some signals. These are: fatigue, hunger, cloudy thinking, or a change in body composition.
A healthy diet includes foods from each of the macro groups. That means in every meal, you should eat a source of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. You’ll also want to choose foods that look the way they are found in nature: plants, meats, and minimally or non-processed foods.
You can jump on the fast track to your goals by following a macro-ratio diet, which gives you the ideal ratio of each macronutrient, based upon your goals, that will be most effective to both fuel your body and provide it with the macronutrients it needs. Keep in mind that these ratios are suggestions and may need to be adjusted to your specific needs:
Here are a few examples of food that fit within each macro group.
• Whole wheat bread/pasta
• Lean beef
• Greek yogurt
• String cheese
• Nut butters
• Chia seeds
How to Eat to Achieve Your Goal
The average person needs 2,000 calories a day to have enough energy to meet their needs and maintain their current weight. This number will vary depending upon your height, weight, and how active you are. You can use this calculator to estimate how many calories you need per day. Keep in mind that you may need to fine-tune your calorie intake based upon how you feel:
• If you feel tired or grumpy, eat more carbohydrates.
• If you feel hungry or forgetful, eat more fats.
• If your body has a hard time recovering from workouts, eat more protein.
• If you’re feeling consistently stuffed, try trimming off some calories.
It will also be extremely helpful to begin logging your food to ensure that you’re eating within the correct calorie range. The easiest and quickest way to track calories is to use an application, such as Lose It! or MyFitnessPal, where you can record every meal to see an overview of your calories for the day.
Diet is the foundation of any type of fitness goal. Without a healthy diet, the body can’t recover as effectively and progress will be much slower. A healthy diet should be made up of natural food sources, and each meal should contain each type of macronutrient. To make sure you’re eating the right amount of calories for your goal, it will be helpful to use a calorie calculator and log your food intake.
In the next lesson, you will learn how to track your progress so you can know without a doubt that you are on track for your goal!
Cheers to your health,
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