Whether you're new to working out or you consider yourself well-versed in the world of exercise, performance and diet go hand-in-hand.

In order to be able to train at the peak of your ability, get the most out of your workouts, and also recover quickly, you must be intentional about what you eat, making sure you feed your body what it needs. Let's talk about cars for a second -- Your car requires gas in order to run, and you have a choice of gasoline grades to put in your car depending on the performance you want out of it. Likewise, your body requires fuel for energy, and just as there are different grades of gasoline there are different types of food to fuel your body.  Trying to work out with a body that is starving for essential nutrients will just end in frustration; and frustration will eat away at your momentum and then all your left with is an insatiable appetite...Yikes!


Get the most out of every minute of your work out by properly fueling your body. Let's take a look at the basics...

Nutrition 101: The Foundation

The three nutrients that are key in regards to optimal performance are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. An eating strategy that balances these three macro-nutrients will skyrocket your fitness results. 

  • Carbohydrates: Some have argued that carbohydrates are the most important nutrient that athlete consumes because carbs fuel muscle. Every time you move a muscle, there's quite a complex series of events going on inside your body to produce that movement, but you're ultimately using carbs as fuel. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars and then stores them in your muscles and liver so that they can be put into action when called upon. Now if you eat more carbs than can be stored in either of those two places, the excess is stored as fat in your body.

    --> Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, root vegetables, fruits & beans.

  • Protein: In order to build muscle, your body absolutely MUST have protein! After all, muscle is the foundation of everyone, athlete or not. Fun fact: muscle plays an important role in protecting you from diabetes! The more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body can uptake glucose from your bloodstream. It is important to eat protein daily, because your body can't store protein very easily. Protein from animal sources is the easiest way to get complete protein, but plant-based proteins can be combined to provide complete protein as well. 
  • Fat: It's unfortunate that fat has been under such scrutiny over the last decade or so because fat is ESSENTIAL (and you need a lot of it). The key here is to know what kind of fat you should incorporate in your diet and what kind you should stay away from.  I always tell my clients to avoid anything that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. These fats are also called trans-fats and are very unhealthy. Instead, try to get the majority of your fat from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, wild-caught fish and free-range animal products such as butter, cheese, yogurt beef and poultry. 


It's All About Finding the Right Balance

Trust me, I know this is easier said than done. If you're like most of my clients, you probably frequently find yourself confused about how to balance the different kinds of foods you eat. After all, it seems as though there's a new diet promotion or product popping up on the market almost daily, promising all sorts of miracles.

The easiest strategy to navigating through all of this is to remember that in order to fuel your body for peak performance, balance and moderation are key.  In The New Rules of Lifting for Women, Cassandra Forsythe insists that eating a ratio of 40/30/30 (carbohydrate/protein/fat) will bring the best results. Start here. and then adjust the ratios to see what best suits your body.

Remember: you must give your body what it needs to perform at its best. If you don't, you'll just end up tired, weak and prone to frustration because you won't have the energy or strength to get a good work out in. The better you fuel your body, the better it will serve you in your pursuit of fitness and health.



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