You may think you can push through when you’re tired. In fact, the ability to operate on little-to-no sleep is a badge of pride for some. While you might feel functional when you are sleep deprived, sleep is incredibly important for your mental and physical health.
Firstly, a bit about myself and why I am interested in health and fitness- and why I am writing this in light of the fact you can pretty much find any information you want on the internet on health and nutrition.
Firstly, to get the most of this blog you need to be sure you understand the basics of nutrition. I encourage you to re-visit my previous blogs on basics of nutrition, sugar, and fats and the Q&A on high protein diets. For the most part, the same basic nutrition principles apply to those who do high levels of activity and athletes. Eat a varied diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. If you do this, you should meet the daily recommendations for all your macro and micronutrients.
In this blog, I will run through some of the principles of exercise metabolism and how this impacts nutritional needs. I want you to better understand what is fuelling your body during exercise (mainly carbs!). I will then go through how you can assess your own nutritional needs based on your activity.
Gluten and or/wheat free diets are another very popular fad these days. Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye therefore if you eliminate wheat from the diet, you also eliminate gluten (or vice versa). The gluten-free market in the US is predicted to be worth $24 billion by 2020 with 1/3 Americans expressing a desire to reduce gluten in their diet.
Nutrition is confusing. You hear conflicting advice everywhere, the terminology is like a foreign language (macros, carbs, omega-3 fatty acids, etc), and just when you think you might have it figured out, it all changes again.
One of the first steps in improving your nutrition is to understand exactly what you are eating by reading food labels. I am going to run through a step by step guide on what to look for in a food label. Unfortunately, all countries have different guidelines for labeling food however the same principles generally apply. I will focus on the US food label but note, this is due to change in the next few years (2018) so I will also highlight the proposed changes.