When we have a hard time getting to the gym, we automatically assume it’s because we’re busy, tired or you don’t like the teacher that’s teaching your class, you need new gym clothes, it’s too cold outside, etc. Basically any reason we can think of. The reality of it is that the underlying reason you can’t get your but up and make it to the gym is because of what you’re fueling your body with. Wait what? Yes- your nutrition plays a huge role in your fitness. And I’m not only talking about what you eat right before the gym. I’m talking about what’s in your fridge and cupboards on a daily basis.
Every ingredient in the foods you consume can either nurture your body and boost your mental stamina, or slowly deteriorate it and invite sluggishness and loss of focus. If you want to succeed in your fitness routine, it’s not enough to just focus on fitness. Being healthy is a lifestyle, right? So, your lifestyle includes your gym time, what you do outside of the gym and what you consume. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to know what is going to cause you mental fog, and avoid that. It all plays a role in your fitness, including everything from the oils you use to the order you eat your foods in. Before finding your go-to meals that work for you, it’s important to know why they work for you, and why other foods don’t.
Let’s start with your metabolism. Essentially – you’re going to be wanting to eat foods that speed up your metabolism, which in turn will help you burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight, so you can maintain regular exercise schedule. These foods include foods that are high in protein, iron, zinc and selenium, for example. Protein-rich foods take your body high amounts of energy to process and absorb the nutrients, which makes your body burn more energy. Foods high in zinc improve the thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism. Foods including many spices (especially spicy spices like chillies), tea and coffee and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas speed up your metabolism. A diet that incorporates these foods will aid in keeping a fast metabolism, whereas other foods actually will cause you to have lower energy and reduced focused based on how they are processed by your metabolism.
Foods that are Simple carbohydrates and high-sugar foods have a high glycemic index, meaning that they affect your blood sugar because of insulin fluctuations, which affects how your store fat. When this happens, you actually crave sugar more. When these cravings are present, your mental ability is also altered. Your focus is lower, in addition to your energy levels. Foods that cause this are typically foods with refined flours and sugars, in addition to fried foods and types of oils, like canola oil. So understanding the differences between these foods in the supermarket will encourage you to buy foods that are better for your metabolism so you always have proper brain function.
In addition to strengthening your metabolism, many foods help your mind actually work better, which increases to your motivation and performance. Foods such as fish, coffee and turmeric improve memory in addition to boosting your metabolism. Some nuts and seeds help you produce vitamin e, which protects the brain. In leafy greens, there is a lot of vitamin K lutein, folate, and beta carotene, which helps slow cognitive decline, therefore keeping your mind fresh and focused! Choosing a diet that regularly includes these foods is sure to make you focus better, which will help you in more aspects of life than just your workout routine! With a better focus, you’ll be able to structure your life in a way that allows you to prioritize what’s most important – weather it be spending more time with family, making it to the gym on time or keeping on top of your work. All of these play a big role in a healthy lifestyle!
Another way to get the maximum benefits from your food is consuming your foods in the right order. It may seem like it doesn’t matter much at first, but foods from different groups will actually react differently with each other, and making it possible to not absorb foods correctly due to how they are digested. As we’ve probably heard many times in the world of nutrition, fruits have a bad wrap for not always being considered “healthy.”
This is because many people are eating fruits at the wrong time. Studies show, If you eat fruits on empty stomach, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities. If you eat fruit combined with other types of foods, such as processed flour in bread or high protein items, it will actually weaken the ability for the body to absorb the nutrients of fruit since it will have to first breakdown the bread, or nuts, or rice you’ve just ate. Starting your day out with fruits whole, in a smoothie bowl, or a juice is an ideal way to absorb nutrients, and avoid fruit being “the bad guy” as it really is the secret to a long, healthy life- if consumed correctly.
Speaking of your morning routine, it probably includes your daily workout, right? Want to know the healthiest way to optimize the power of your workout with nutrition? Firstly, you should be waking up and directly drinking water. Why? Well, water will detoxify your body, which is needed from the previous day where maybe you’ve had 1 or 2 glasses of wine or a couple bites of dessert (remember, flexibility is healthy too!). The best way to start the day is adding a little lemon to this water.
The benefits are endless, plus starting your day out with a detox will actually give you more energy and focus to tackle your workout and other tasks. Incorporating this step before eating just fruit on an empty stomach will ensure you’re enabling your metabolism and digestive system to perform at it’s best ability. When you’re body is working at it’s best ability, fueling it with healthy foods will only encourage this behaviour and strengthen your immunity, improve focus, promote weight loss and get you feeling 100%.
So, next time you make an excuse before heading to the gym – check in with yourself. What have you been eating the last few days? A diet filled with foods that will slow your metabolism aren’t exactly going to encourage your mood to want to continuously stick to your workout routine. Grocery store trip after grocery store trip, refining and adding to your meal plans with thoughtful intake of the proper foods, the correct timing and combinations will make an everlasting difference!
Making the change to incorporate foods that will fuel you, and act as a medicine are more likely to help you power through your workout routine, boost immunity, increase energy levels and help you to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
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