After the excesses of summer, are you considering including good nutrition and more sport in your life? Eating a balanced diet + physical exercise = healthy life, this formula does not fail!
Many people ask me: what exactly should I eat if I do physical exercise? What foods are really healthy? If I’m eating little and exercising, why can’t I lose weight?
And, a healthy diet not only affects our general well-being, it is one of the determining factors for improving physical performance and recovery after training.
Following the basic criteria of a healthy diet, nutrition in sport serves as a guide and advises the athlete to know what, when and why to eat and drink certain foods.
Whether you are one of those who go to the gym every day, one who goes for a run 3 times a week, or if you are a high-performance athlete, nutrition plays a fundamental role on a daily basis.
A healthy diet is one that meets all the needs of micro and macro nutrients, provides enough energy, does not cause weight fluctuations, is as varied as possible and is also pleasant and appetizing.
Before knowing where to find them, you should bear in mind that there are macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals .
The water is another nutrient essential and important, as it provides all physiological proceses take place. Whether you practice sport or not, you should take into account the following aspects:
They have a “plastic” function , since the amino acids in proteins form new tissues , repair the body’s cells and also make enzymes, hormones and antibodies.
Where to find proteins? In foods of animal origin : meat , fish , eggs and dairy products. If we prefer them to be of plant origin : nuts, legumes , mushrooms and cereals.
When you do sports, there is a muscle breakdown that must be compensated by taking protein (animal and vegetable). Avoid diets that restrict the use of protein to lose weight, if you do physical exercise, it is necessary to take them, otherwise your muscle mass decreases.
The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the energy needed to maintain life (breathing, maintain body temperature, etc.). This rate is not the same for all people and depends on several factors: body size, age, sex, temperature and level of physical exercise. The basal metabolic rate increases with exercise and with an increase in fat-free mass (muscle mass). The higher BMR, the more difficult it is to gain weight.
It is the big question that most people who play sports ask themselves. The answer is very simple, although it will vary a bit depending on the activity you do and the volume and intensity. Broadly speaking, the IOC and the ACSM recommend between 1.2 and 1.7 grams per kg of body weight per day.
Do not get overwhelmed with the numbers, it is very easy! For clarity, let’s see my example: I am a female athlete of 54 kg = 64.8 – 91.8 grams / day (multiplying 54 x 1.2 and 1.7 we get this range).
It is better to distribute the protein intake throughout the day , than in one or two doses. Experts recommend about 20 grams at each main meal and immediately after a workout.
On another occasion, I’ll talk about protein supplementation , types, and how to choose from so many brands. But if you are already consuming them, I recommend My Body Genius and HSN . They are of high quality, with natural ingredients, without additives, they are very rich and they have a line for vegan @ and intolerant.
Fundamentally, they are obtained from foods of plant origin and their main function is to provide energy . Its consumption is a source of multiple controversies, let’s see why:
Simple Carbs : The fastest way to supply our body with energy. Unused energy is stored as fat. Its nutritional value is lower and a reduced consumption is recommended.
They are found in fruit, dairy, jam, processed sugar, cookies, pastries, sweets, breakfast cereals, white flour, white rice, soft drinks, and juices. All except fruit and dairy are called “zero calorie foods” because although they provide energy, they lack many other nutrients. Therefore, you must reduce its consumption, no more than 10% of the total energy.
Complex Carbohydrates: Their absorption is slower and the energy they provide is gradual, which is why they are more satisfying, delay the feeling of hunger and help control blood sugar levels. They are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. We should not be afraid to consume them.
They are found in greens, vegetables, whole grains, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, root vegetables and legumes . They should be the basis of your diet, especially for people who practice sports.
You must bear in mind that carbohydrate is not only healthy, in the case of athletes, along with fats, it is the source of energy for the body . Should we wage war on carbohydrates?
What is really important is to differentiate the natural carbohydrates from the processed ones . How? you have to try to reset and go back to the beginning . Forget the “cheat foods” and go for the healthy.
The more active you are and the more muscle mass you have, the more carbohydrates you should eat. Experts prefer to express carbohydrate needs in terms of grams per kg of body weight.
For a daily training of a low to moderate intensity , we should ingest 3 to 7 grams / kg . Again, let’s use my example one more time: 54kg x (3-7g) = 162-378 grams / day of carbohydrates.
Over the years, in my experience as an athlete, I have learned to listen to and understand my body. When I was competing in medium and long distance mountain races, getting enough carbohydrate was critical to my performance and recovery. As the quality of my diet improved, I noticed an increase in energy and I recovered faster . I was replacing foods high in sugar or simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates, and I discovered that I had less joint pain, muscle pain and more energy.
These macronutrients are essential to generate energy. The role of fats in the diet has been widely criticized, and even, for decades, it has been recommended to eliminate them and replace them with 0% fat products, apparently “healthy” but with low nutritional content.
What should you do then? Increase consumption of unsaturated fats or “healthy” , reduce the consumption of saturated fats and avoid the TRANS or “bad” . Would you know how to differentiate some fats from others?
Saturated Fats: found in foods of animal origin, such as meats, sausages or milk and their derivatives. They are also present in some vegetables, such as palm and coconut oil . These are the fats that we should not abuse, since they increase the levels of LDL cholesterol. . Be careful, virgin coconut oil generates controversy, since at present, it is highly recommended in some eating styles.
Unsaturated Fats: found in nuts , seeds, extra virgin olive oil , oily fish and avocado . Among its benefits, it stands out the cardiovascular protection, the control of diabetes and for its high content of vitamin E, it improves the immune system.
TRANS fats : they are unsaturated fats that have been industrially transformed to obtain solid fats. They increase the risk of forming atheroma plaques on the arterial walls and are usually part of high-calorie foods, which is why they favor overweight and obesity. We find them in processed foods: frozen, pastries and etc.
The World Health Organization recommends that the proportion of energy from saturated fats should be less than 11% and only 1% in the case of trans fats.
There are not many recommendations on when it is better to eat fat, instead, it would be optimal that you add some foods rich in unsaturated fats in each of your meals. They are necessary because they are part of the structure of cell membranes, brain tissue, neuronal sheaths, bone marrow, and because they serve to protect organs.
They are called micronutrients because they are necessary in small amounts, but at the same time essential for the proper functioning of the body: they help tissue repair, growth and defense against diseases.
With a varied diet, with quality and balanced products, deficits are rare. If this is the case, it is advisable to go to a nutrition and sports specialist to assess your case.
Water is the main component of the body , it represents about 50% of the body weight of adults. The minimum daily amount you should take is 2 liters , much higher if you do sports, as it is important to prevent dehydration .
Its functions include regulating body temperature through sweat, allowing blood circulation to transport nutrients to cells, and helping to remove waste products from the body.
Forget soft drinks and “processed natural” drinks, if at any time you want to add a healthy drink, with bubbles and that provides you with probiotics , remember that there is kombucha .
I take this opportunity to remind us that we must make responsible use of the resources of our planet , so we can include some changes such as, stop using plastic bottles to go to the gym. I leave you an initiative that I know and that I find wonderful: Agua en Caja Mejor.
The lifestyles and food are a completely topical issue. Keep in mind that the first thing of all is to listen to the body, see what it says and then decide which one to follow , especially if you practice sports: what you eat will be your fuel !
To talk about eating styles, I have had the collaboration of referents and practitioners . Now, I am only going to make a brief reference and I will expand the information in the next post, which will be published shortly.
There are more styles of eating: comfort food, paleo, etc. As well as food intolerances: gluten, eggs, lactose, etc. Of which I have not talked about in this post, instead, as I was saying, I will do it in the next one. I’d love to know if there are any of these topics that particularly interest you.
To finish, remember that today you have a wide range of healthy restaurants and healthy recipes, that is, there is no longer an excuse for neglecting your diet. In addition, there are many proposals for cool plans that include nutrition and sports, such as: yogadeli and yoga & brunch.
Hello, I’m Rachel Collins. Until recently, I ran my own patchwork quilt business. Having retired from that I have turned my e-commerce site into this blog where I discuss business, home and garden and lifestyle topics for you to enjoy...Click to read on