Eating the right way and exercising?
Let's be honest, if given the choice most people would rather exercise for forty-five minutes to an hour each day and then head back home and eat whatever they feel like. If we are even more honest, this is exactly what most people do.
We hear things like "I earned this dessert, I did an hour of cardio today!" or "I'll burn this meal off tomorrow." As a trainer I feel like most people want to be successful and consistent when it comes to eating right, but sadly most fall short. We are all humans after all and no one is perfect, but the mind set that we can eat whatever we want and it will all magically balance itself out because we exercise is just wrong.
Lets start with why it is important to eat well.
1. Food is fuel for exercise and life.
We cannot reach our full potential in the gym if we are fueling our bodies with junk. Imagine you were a formula one driver. Would you pull up to your pit crew and say "Hey guys, I really want to win this race, but instead of the high octane petrol go ahead and fill her up with rain water. She'll be fine." Crazy right? Well, millions of people do the same thing with their own bodies every single day in the gym. The only difference being that we can't just go and ask our sponsors to buy a new race car, we are stuck with this one body for better or for worse. We can't figure out why we are aren't getting any leaner or stronger or why we are exhausted by 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when really the answer is simple: poor nutrition.
2. Food will make or break you from the inside out.
Forget about how you want to look for a moment or how much you want to lift, and think about being healthy from the inside out. Think about longevity and a great quality of life. The unnecessary wear and tear we place on our bodies through processed foods, sugars, and poor eating is unreal. A recent study out of NYU showed that 74% of Americans live with some level of gastrointestinal discomfort. These symptoms include regular bloating, IBS, diarrhea, and sever abdominal pains. The sad thing is that most people just figure that the way they are feeling is normal and continue to live with these unnecessary discomforts. In most cases the solution to these problems is cleaner eating habits. I am not even talking about a full 180 degree change in your nutrition. It may be as simple as eliminated soda, reducing your diary intake, or cutting your sugar intake in half. Believe me that I have heard all of the responses to these suggestions before: "What?! No, I have to have my diet coke." or "That is my comfort food! I have to have that." All I will say to those comments is: Nothing is worth your health or quality of life. Nothing.
3. Eating better can stop the "Medication Cycle."
We live in a society where the pharmaceutical industry is an absolute giant and drugs are king. Many health professionals are far too quick to prescribe this pill or that drug instead of stopping and saying "Well, lets look at your diet. With a few adjustments you might not even need to go on any medication." Please don't get me wrong, there are many instances where the absolute best course of action is some form of medication. I am referring to the current trend where instead of eating better, the average person will just say "Nah, I'll take the cholesterol meds instead. I love my fried foods!" Thus begins the medication cycle. The medication may in fact control your cholesterol levels, but constipation may be a side effect so you'll need a prescription for that, and that drug may cause headaches so you better take something for that, and those meds will make you extremely irritable so here's a pill for that. On and on the medication cycle continues until we are completely dependent upon on all of these drugs. In many cases these drugs are extremely difficult for our bodies to process which in turn can cause serious long term damage to our kidneys and liver. Will proper eating prevent or cure every ache, pain, symptom or disease? No, but shouldn't we try to stack the deck in our favor? Shouldn't we at least give ourselves a fighting chance?
In closing, proper nutrition should not be the sidekick to our exercise plan or an afterthought in the whole process. Proper nutrition is the hero, it is the main event!
Proper nutrition must go hand in hand with exercise. You will feel better, you will be healthier, and you will have a much greater chance of reaching those goals your are working so hard to acheive.
We only have one shot at this life and we only have one body with which to take it, so let's stack the deck and give ourselves a fighting chance!
-Sean Archulet- Sean@torquestrong.com