How To Combine Food And Exercise To Reach Your Goal
It’s a well know equation that results = 80% nutrition + 20% exercise. Achieving the right combination of the two is key to achieving your health and fitness goals.
If you’re exercising with a goal in mind, and are hitting the gym more frequently and potentially more intensively than you’re used to, nutrition plays an even more important role in that it gives you the fuel to train longer and harder, and helps to determine how your body recovers and responds to exercise.
Hard workouts leave your muscles depleted of energy and starving for fuel. It is important to put the right nutrients back in to your system at the right time to ensure that your muscles can recover and rebuild stronger, so that the next time you want to use them they have enough energy to go again.
It is also important to be eating the right kinds of foods to help preserve muscle mass and encourage fat loss whilst training, so that you reap the full benefits of all the hard work that you are putting in at the gym.
What Happens When You Exercise?
As you warm up, your brain sends signals to your central nervous system to prime muscles for action, making them more alert and ready to handle the intensity of what’s to come.
The amount of blood flow is increased to active muscles, carrying vital oxygen and nutrients. As you progress through your session, energy stores (in the form of glycogen) are depleted, muscle tissue is damaged and fluids and electrolytes are lost through sweat.
The intensity of your workout will determine the extent to which you use up stored energy, and the amount of damage that is caused to muscle fibres. The harder you train, the greater amount calories you will burn, but equally, the more resources will be required for adequate recovery.
You might have heard that abs are not formed in the gym but in the kitchen. Whilst your efforts in the gym help to burn excess calories and work muscle fibres, you need to back it up with quality nutrition in order for the results to shine.
How Nutrition Supports Exercise
Food gives you energy, and you need energy to exercise. The role of nutrition in this respect is two fold:
- To ensure that there is enough quality stored energy in your body to begin with
- To replace the energy stores that were lost during exercise and to repair muscle damage
The types of foods and the quantity that you should be eating will vary depending on what your goal is. As we have touched on in our blog explaining calories, the primary determining factor in whether you gain or lose weight is how many calories you are consuming vs how many you are burning.
If your goal is weight loss you might be tempted to exercise as hard as you can and eat very little both before and after to maximise your calorie deficit.
Similarly, if you are trying to bulk in a short space of time you might be thinking about eating as much as you can and lifting as heavy as possible to maximise your gains.
However as with any aspect of life, we must always take a balanced, sustainable approach.
If we view the primary role of nutrition to be that of nourishing your body and providing you with all the energy and strength you need to live the life that you desire, then we need to pay attention to the foods that provide this nourishment.
It's helpful to have a rough understanding of the number of calories that you are burning in a day, known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). If you haven’t worked it out yet, we’ve written a guide on calories and how to calculate them for you goals which you can read here.
Armed with this knowledge you can go ahead and prepare your meals with confidence that you are not only putting the right types of food in to your system, but you’re also eating them in the quantity that will best suit your goals.
At SwoleFoods, we’ve done all the hard work in the kitchen to take the guess work out of goal based eating.
Our three ranges – Swole, Active and Low Carb, are combined in a way that ensures all the right nutrients are delivered in a calorie controlled manner.
If you are finding it hard to keep up with the demands of meal prepping, or you want healthy food to taste delicious, check out our menu here and see why 1000s of kiwis choose SwoleFoods to help them live the healthiest version of themselves.