This question is very commonly asked to me by my clients and obviously by most others around the world of fitness, as it should be, considering that fat and weight loss is broken down into two fundamental elements. Energy consumption (eating), and energy expenditure (exercise). The relationship between these two elements will always be THE absolute determinant as to whether you are successful in achieving your fitness goals. Every little aspect and detail of your fitness activity, from frequency and difficulty of exercise to energy replenishment habits, will ultimately contribute to and influence the way this basic relationship pans out. Thus, determining whether your entire body of activities is effective or ineffective specific to your objectives. In a nut shell, if you burn more calories than you take in, you create a caloric deficit and lose weight. On the other end of the spectrum, if you burn less, youre storing excess calories and will gain weight.
Now this concept is generally understood by most. So, to answer the question of HOW to connect your eating with your exercise, we MUST understand that they truly are and should be connected. Our confusion with how, what, how much, and when to eat stems from our common tendency to think of exercise and eating as two opposing aspects of fitness. We very often put the two sides up against each other as if one’s purpose is to lose the weight and body fat, and the other inhibits this process.
I want to shed some light and encourage you to treat eating and nutrition as a compliment to exercise and not a combatant, because quite honestly it HAS to be implemented to work WITH your exercise if you are to be successful. With exercise we are trying to train our body to operate most effectively through increased metabolism and fat usage stimulated by challenge appropriate physical activity. METABOLISM. The key to all these great results and aethestic desires we have. We run, jump, lift and employ any other fitness modality to burn calories and drop body fat weight. But what gets us to the eventual realization of our goals? That 15 lb weight loss. The ability to finally see that six pack. The overall slim and trimmed look in your legs. Or that increased lean muscle tone.
We get there because over weeks and months our body has been taught and trained to metabolize its energy/calorie sources efficiently due to the types of stressors and challenges you present to it through exercise. These results are a manifestation of that long term process. This is what exercise does. If done appropriately it improves the way our bodies operate and burn calories to sustain our lifestyle and activity levels. But you need energy to burn energy. So to answer the question of how to eat, know that eating should not be taken out of the equation.
If we’re trying to improve our metabolism with exercise as I mentioned, then why would we want to take away what it needs to accomplish this? Not only from the standpoint of food being fuel to drive the activity of exercise, but also the fact that with exercise we’re telling our body to become permanently better at burning calories without giving it what it needs to practice. That’s like if someone would have told Micheal Jordan to become a great basketball player but only let him hold a basketball for 5 minutes a week. Doesn’t make sense. You have to give your body the opportunity to become great at what youre telling it to do. And that opportunity is sufficient amounts of nourishment. Your metabolism will never become faster and more efficient without the consistent and frequent stimulation of the calories it needs to operate.
It seems very counter intuitive that you may need to be eating more or more frequently to acheive your goals but if you think in terms of where you want to get to and not what you want right now, you will certainly begin to see the big picture. Yes, as I explained earlier weight and fat loss can be acheived immediately and on a short term basis through the simple principle of creating that caloric deficit i mentioned. This can be done by simply eating less or dieting to produce a fast and quick drop in weight. But unless that weight loss is done through an altering of the bodies natural metabolism, it will not be sustained permanently.
Your weight and body composition are dictated and maintained according your body’s metabolic characteristics so just simply cutting calories or eating at a frequency less than optimal may drop a little weight and body fat short term, but you are still doing nothing to train the body to operate faster in order to drop more weight and continue permanently. It will continue to metabolize slower even amongst the early weight loss and attempted exercise, making it very hard to make any extensive amount of progress towards that body change you so desire. In trying to build health and fitness, regardless of your personal goals, you must think process. Teaching, training, changing, and transforming the body’s tendencies.
The better you can think in these terms, the easier you will be able to allow food and nutrition into your repertoire to help and reinforce exercise. You will get where you want to be through a great metabolism and great metabolism only. There is no other way around it and all roads lead to it when we’re talking about health and fitness.
So think about food not in terms of what it can do solely on its own, but what it can help the body do. Your fitness goals are acheived through the body. The body can’t improve without food as it’s catalyst. That’s the big picture. Once you see it, you don’t have to be intimidated by the eating aspect of fitness. Everybody is indeed different as far as what’s better for them in terms of the specific aspects of their activity and eating habits, and although this has just been more of an overview of how to think of and percieve the relationship between exercise and nutrition, i would love the opportunity to get into detail and guide any and everbody interested to their personal aspirations. Let’s make it simple!!!