Exercise and nutrition are twp peas in a pod. The quality of nutrition impacts performance, recovery, immunity, hormones and even the results we are striving for. The most common mistake people commit is considering food as a reward, forgetting that 70% results depend on nutrition and the remaining 30% on exercise, sleep or the lack of them and your level of stress.
For example- while eating that cupcake might seems harmless, eating processed sugar post workout triggers somatostatin release that blocks the human growth hormone ( necessary for lean muscle), thereby defeating the purpose of exercising.
Any form of exercise increases the metabolic demands of the body and puts it into a catabolic state. If nutrition is not in alignment with your workouts, the body will start eating up its own reserves, hence causing nutrient loss. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Muscle wasting is one typical case where the body breaks down muscle tissues to derive energy leading to muscle loss.
This is how different nutrients affect fitness-
- Carbohydrates- being the first source of fuel for the body, carbs are needed both before and after workouts.
Pre-workout- the right kind of carbs help us last the session without running out of energy. For short workouts (HIIT OR SPRINTS), eat simple carbs that digest quickly. Longer workouts or endurance sports need a combination of carbs, fat/ or protein for sustained energy release.
Post-workout- higher GI carbs work best to replenish glucose.
- Protein- workouts create micro tears in muscles. Good quality proteins consumed 30-40 mins after a workout can help body recover better. Sattu, eggs, whey, get absorbed into blood and reach muscles quicker. Slower digesting proteins like rice, beans, lentils, chicken or fish can be influenced in the meals as well.
- Fats- the good ones only. From recovery, fat burn to hormone balance, good fats have lots to offer. Omega 3 also helps recovery, is anti-inflammatory and maintains cardiovascular health. Eat nuts, seeds, and fatty fish for that.
- Vitamins and minerals- this is where micro-nutrients shine! Vitamins A and C protect from negative stress workouts and create and boost immunity. Vitamin D maintains bone health and immunity which goes a long way if you are into heavy training. B complex vitamin helps metabolism carbs, fat, proteins, and vitamin E is a potent antioxidant.
Minerals- common ones are iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium. Other minerals like sodium, chloride and potassium are particularly necessary for individuals with high sweat losses. Coconut water is the best natural sports drink you can take.