Nutrition is actually more important than the time in the gym. If you want a toned athletic body you need a proper diet in order to get there, exercise alone is not enough. Follow these nutrition rules and you will be well on your way.
Five Main Food Groups:
You should eat a balanced selection from all five groups. Here are the recommended minimum servings per day for each group are:
- Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese (3-5 servings daily) 1 serving is an 8-ounce glass of milk, 8 ounces of yogurt or 1 1/2 ounces of natural, unprocessed cheese.
- Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Eggs, and Nuts (3 to 4 servings daily) 1 serving is 3 ounces of lean, cooked meat, 2 eggs, 1 cup of cooked dry beans, peas, or lentils or 4 tablespoons of peanut butter.
- Vegetables (3 to 5 servings daily). 1 serving is 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, 1/2 cup of chopped raw vegetables, 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables such as lettuce or spinach, or 1 glass (6 ounces) of juice.
- Fruits (3 to 5 servings daily). 1 serving is 1 whole fruit such as a medium apple, banana, or orange, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 glass (6 ounces) of juice, 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of berries, 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of cooked or canned fruit or 1/4 cup of dried fruit.
- Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta (6 to 11 servings daily). 1 serving is 1 slice of bread, 1/2 hamburger bun or English muffin, 1 small roll, biscuit, or muffin, 3 to 4 small or 2 large crackers, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta or 1-ounce ready-to-eat breakfast cereal.
High Energy Foods:
These are some of the best foods that improve gym performance. They are of particular importance in your diet so make sure you consume them.
- Bananas: the perfect snack – one of the highest sources of potassium.
- Beef: great source of zinc, high-quality protein, iron and
- Beans – Legumes: high in protein and B Vitamins, important for building protein.
- Broccoli: one of the best nutritional foods around. High in Vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and
- Brown Rice: better for you than white rice.
- Carrots and Carrot Juice: most concentrated source of beta-carotene.
- Cheese: great source of calcium
- Chicken: another high-quality protein source.
- Corn: high carbohydrate source.
- Dried Fruit: concentrated sources of energy and good sources of iron.
- Grapes: good source of boron, important in building strong muscles and bones.
- Kiwi: high in vitamin C.
- Lentils: good source of protein, complex carbohydrates, and iron.
- Milk: absolutely essential for athletes – a great source of vitamin D and calcium and the drink of choice for Marion Jones.
- Oatmeal: great source of fiber and carbohydrates.
- Orange juice: vitamin C, potassium and more.
- Papaya: a treasure trove of nutrients.
- Pasta: loaded with complex carbohydrates.
- Potato: a powerhouse of complex carbohydrates, potassium, Vitamin C and iron.
- Salmon: high protein and a rich source of important omega-3 fatty acids.
- Strawberries: vitamin C and fiber.
- Water: 2 liters a day for athletes is a must!
- Whole grain cereals – complex carbohydrates – chose whole grain bread rather than white.
- Yogurt: another great source of all-important calcium.
Hydration for Top Performance:
Drinking water has many benefits, the first being that it has zero calories. Water can also help curb binge eating by drinking a glass of water with your meal. It will fill you up faster and prevent you from eating more than you should.
Water lost through sweating is not easily replaced. Low water-intake during strenuous exercise leads to dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, heatstroke and death. However, if you drink too much water too quickly during increased physical activity, you may become “waterlogged,” an unpleasant condition that you may already have experienced.
Water is a basic necessity for all life. Without it, life can’t exist. Even when water is limited, living organisms suffer. You are no exception. Not enough water means you can’t do your best. It can even cause serious health problems. Our blood circulates like an ocean within us. The water in the blood helps carry nutrients and energy to our body cells.
Cheat to have a balanced nutrition:
Getting a quick cheat means getting it out of your system and getting back on track afterward. If you do not get a cheat day and that portion of delight that you crave for, you will have some problems adapting to a stable and balanced diet. This is why you need to cheat weekly just to throw your body a curve ball so that is can adjust and will keep the metabolism high.
If you follow these rules, you will have no problem losing weight, working out and having the body of your dreams!