Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle is the best thing you can do for your body, eating the right foods, exercising and generally looking after yourself will enable your mind to work clearly, your immune system to fight illness and your internal organs to function healthily.
We hear so much in the news and media today about the impact of poor lifestyle choices and the negative affects they have on our bodies and minds and so now more than ever is the time to enjoy embracing a healthy way of living and ensuring our bodies are fuelled in the right way to enable us to live a long and healthy life.
Providing your body with a balanced diet is beneficial whatever the level of exercise you complete but it is even more important if you complete workouts that challenge the body in intensive ways as not fuelling the body correctly pre-workout means it cannot function, maintain and recover during and after exercise meaning you stand a greater risk of injury, illness and exhaustion.
What is a balanced diet? A balanced diet is one that contains sensible amounts of all the food groups vital for the healthy function of the body and mind. There are five groups including vegetables and fruit, milk and dairy products, carbohydrates, protein and fats and sugars. By selecting foods from each of these food groups creates a balanced diet, too much or too little of one food groups causes an unbalanced diet usually resulting in a diet that has a negative impact on health.
Vegetables and fruits we all know are full of nutrients and vitamins and these included in a pre-workout meal help the body to perform better during exercise. Bananas, for example, are an excellent source of pre-workout energy but did you know the potassium they contain helps your muscles to contract and helps the heart to beat regularly and can help to reduce blood pressure?
Milk and dairy products are not only great sources of protein they also contain calcium which is vital for strong bones. Very important if you partake in an exercise that is high impact such as road running or team sports such as rugby. They also contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals vital for cell reproduction.
Carbohydrates such as potatoes, wholegrain bread, rice and pasta are important for energy. Slow-release carbohydrates such as porridge oats make a great pre-workout breakfast and if travelling between work and the gym, for example, oat crackers or rice crackers make an excellent on the go snack that will add some pre-workout energy to your body.
Protein is good for so many things in the body not only does it help to build and repair muscles is also helps cartilage and skin renewal. High protein foods include eggs, chicken, tofu, almonds, milk, yoghurt, fish and beans. Did you know that protein also helps you to feel fuller for longer? Mix in some cottage cheese with those oat crackers pre-workout and your energy levels will keep you going that little bit longer.
Fats and sugars are just as important as all the other food groups but it is all about choosing the right types of fats and sugars. Natural occurring sugars are far better for you than refined sugars that are often found in chocolate, biscuits, cakes and ice cream for example but all sugars should be consumed in moderation. Healthy fats include avocado, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds. Healthy fats are rich in omega- 3 fatty acids and these help to keep your body healthy when eaten as part of a balanced diet.
Whatever you choose to fuel your body pre-workout ensure that you aim for a balanced diet with plenty of pre-workout and post-workout hydration from water.