Foundations of Fitness: Why Nutrition Matters
Last week, we chatted about how mindset is the key to an amazing fitness journey. It's the main building block of achieving anything in your life, in my opinion. If you can't get your mind on the right page, you're going to struggle completing things that are a seemingly difficult challenge.
The Foundations of Fitness is a series I came up with to share with you the importance of a well rounded fitness lifestyle. That's right - LIFESTYLE. Here's what we'll be covering in this series:
- Why Mindset Matters
- Why Nutrition Matters
- Why Bodyweight and Resistance Training Matter
- Why Warmups and Cool Downs Matter
Part of this lifestyle that is of great importance is nutrition. That's what we're going to be talking about today.
I love food. It makes me happy. I know that food is not primarily here to make me happy. But it CAN be here to secondarily make me happy, :). Really though, food is primarily used to FUEL YOU. It's here to fuel you so that you can be your best self and perform at your optimal level. Need a little elaboration? Let me explain why nutrition really matters.
- Nutrition is one of the main tenets of a healthy lifestyle. I mean, next to having a healthy, positive mindset, what you eat from day to day will affect how your body functions from day to day. If you're not fueling your body with foods that can be healing, you're putting your internal system in jeopardy of improper function. The scary part is that some of us have been eating bad for you foods for so long, we don't even know what it's like to have properly functioning body. Hmmmm.....
- Eating the right foods will fuel your body for optimal workout performance. If you go into your workout having had a meal from the drive thru because you were running late, you may get a jolt in your workout, simply because fast food is filled with hidden sugars, but you WILL crash. You won't be putting out your best efforts because most fast food has a tendency to make you feel sluggish and tired after you eat it. Now try going into your workout having planned your meals, and you've eaten a healthy breakfast, you've eaten a snack and you're ready to go. Your body is able to process the protein and fiber from healthy foods that you've planned out and now you have energy and endurance to conquer your workouts and your day with fervor.
- Healthy foods fuels your mind for top mental acuity. Yes, there are mental-boosting foods that exist. Blueberries, broccoli, bananas, almonds, salmon, and eggs are just a few of the foods that are out here for you to consume and boost your brain function. You have so many tasks to do from day to day, and then you're asking your body to be strong so you can workout effectively. You get to fuel it with amazing fresh foods that aren't packaged and manufactured or modified. Your body actually knows what to do with those natural foods. Use them!
- Proper nutrition combats disease and other ailments. Did you know that just consuming healthy, great-for-you foods, you can actually combat a disease like cancer? Spinach. Spinach has amazing antioxidants that help combat several types of cancer (like breast cancer and ovarian cancer). Protect your heart, cardiovascular system, protect yourself from certain cancers and types of diabetes, increase joint function, and increase your vitamin and mineral intake with simple, whole foods. Which leads me to my last reason why nutrition matters.
- Proper nutrition increases immunity. When you're eating simple, whole foods, you begin to increase your immune system, and save yourself from seasonal allergies, sicknesses, right down to the common cold. Whole foods have immune boosting vitamins and minerals that are even better for you to eat than taking a multivitamin alone. I'm not telling you to stop taking your multivitamin, and in fact, you can even take a multivitamin AND begin to eat healthy whole foods.
So, what can you do to begin implementing proper nutrition into your lifestyle?
- Do a fridge and pantry purge. Are you still eating packaged meals because it's just easier? Are Chips Ahoy or Oreos or Nutter Butter's (my fav!) a constant on your grocery list? Now is the time to do a purge of those things that are processed. Sacrifice for you and your family and take the extra 20 or so minutes to make your meals yourself. You can even make it a family affair and purge together. This is about keeping you and your family healthy in the most healthy way. If your shopping cart at the grocery story is filled with boxes of food, consider what that will look like and do to your insides?
- Restock your fridge and pantry with unprocessed food. Well, of course if you empty your pantry and fridge, you get to restock it, LOL! I am NOT about empty cabinets and not eating to stay in shape. And if you're going to fill your fridge, fill it up with things you're going to eat for that week, so the food doesn't go bad. Bottom line, whole foods and grains are what you want to fill your home with, and if it does come in a box, make sure it's unprocessed and only in the box because it's the only way it can be sold (like quinoa or brown rice).
- Pre-plan all of your meals. I can't tell you how much money and time I save when I do this. Now, a lot of people prep their meals, and I think that saves even more time. But I'm not a leftovers type of person. There are certain things that I can eat for leftovers day after day, and there are others that just don't appeal to me after a day. So in that right, it's totally up to you. For me, Pre-planning works for me. Once I've come up with a menu for the week, I'm at the point where I'm disciplined enough to stick with it, no matter what my tastebuds say, because I know what I've planned tastes good and is going to be best for me.
I want you to have the most healthy lifestyle that you can have. I want you to be able to enjoy family and friends and go out and even enjoy a meal out, and I want you to be mindful of your choices when you do go out. Many restaurants are catering to people who eat a "lighter fare", and the options are great for you and quite tasty. So don't be SO rigid. Be disciplined. It's what's going to give you the lifestyle that you say you want.