If you have not had the benefit of either working with an expert or the opportunity of studying nutrition yourself, getting a firm handle on the basics as they relate to exercise can be one powerful way to boost your results. So much of what we do with exercise is about efficiency and getting the most out of time spent. Nutrition should also be thought of in this way; however, many of us do not balance our approach to food the same way we might with workouts. Here are a couple brief examples of stories from real exercisers that tell this tale:
Two men working out together both had goals of significant weight loss—30 or more pounds in the long term. (Keep in mind that healthy, sustained weight loss is recommended to be between 1- and 3-lbs per week.) Both were seeing significant pounds being shed as they added strength and cardio routines to their schedule. However, both were also eating large meals at the conclusion of their day and skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch. Their reasoning was that since their desire was to lose weight and they were already physically exercising more, why not eat less and lose more? While this logic may stand to reason on the one hand, it actually negates the true process and in fact was making it much harder for both men to achieve true success with sustaining their SMART goals. We will come back to these guys in a moment.
The next story involves a female who already possessed extreme motivation with exercise and once she developed the understanding of nutritional basics she applied her same intense fervor to monitoring her diet just as meticulously as she did her workouts. The problem arose when it became so difficult for her to track and record every calorie she took in and still have the time to balance her busy life and workouts. After a time, she settled into a more realistic pursuit of making sure portions were appropriate and often enough for her dietary and physical needs and included the proper balanced nutritional ingredients.
Now back to the gentlemen in the first story; once the shortcoming in their approach was pointed out and some guidelines were established, both men saw a significant jump in their weight loss and they were keeping it off. What changed for them? Both began to eat a balanced breakfast consisting of smart nutrient-rich whole food sources. They also ensured they were having adjusted portion meals or snacks ~every two hours which helped sustain their energy. They worked briefly with a dietician to ensure balance in the Nutrient-rich foods sources for both meals and snacks. And they drank plenty of water which is the lifeblood of nutrition as it assists the digestion and absorption of our nutrients.
Both stories are illustrative of the fact that sticking with at least the basics does not need to be terribly difficult. Eating more of the right kind of calories more often throughout the time of day when they are most needed for energy (exercise particularly) and choosing whole (natural) food sources which provide more of what we need and are more easily utilized by the body are two primary basics. Checking in with your physician or a dietary expert can also help you decide on supplementing with vitamins or other sources as the modern, industrial diet often does not easily include every last essential. However, some smart choices and understanding your own needs go a long way and even the basics can make a huge difference with short and long term goals. Be healthy!