Are you one of those people who make a firm New Year’s resolution, or a “staring Monday” decision, to stick to a good and healthy exercise habit? Good for you, a determination is a nice start! But are you also one of those people who just can’t seem to bring about some good results? Never fear!
You do not need any extreme workout programs or expensive specialist equipment. Heck, not even a rigorous gym routine is a must. A moderate but steady workout schedule is more than enough, and you can make its effects stronger by multiple times if you merely adjust your eating habits a little. You can also check out relevant websites like DietFitnessKing.com for some more advice on dieting and exercise. No worries, though, you will not be needing to give up all your favorite treats!
1: Go for the rainbow!
Though it might sound silly, this is actually one of the best bits of food advice out there. Make your plate a rainbow of groceries as much as you possibly can. Your greatest allies in this artistic endeavor will be fruits and vegetables, obviously, but let us tell you right away: if for some reason you are unable to get them all fresh and dandy, no need to beat yourself up over it.
Of course, fresh fruits and veggies are awesome on all levels, but cooked (preferably steamed), grilled, pickled, dried, or even baked versions work wonders too. Try oven-baked apples in the winter! There are also some greens, like spinach, that are toxic unless thermally processed, so you can see that the “fresh ‘n’ raw groove” doesn’t really float the boat.
The various colors of these groceries are the consequence of the various nutrients they contain: vitamins, minerals, and plant-specific compounds. Remember that white also counts as a color in this context, so go for cauliflowers, onions, etc. Ideally, you should have two servings of fruit each day, and three servings of vegetables (for example, one salad side dish and two vegetable-based meals).
2: Stay on top of your hydration!
Those famous eight glasses of water a day are a necessity outside the scorching summer months, too. Although it has been chewed over thousands of times, proper liquid intake is really a critical factor. Dehydration or insufficient hydration impairs your focus, physical, cognitive, and motor performance, not to mention that legit exercise becomes impossible – you would get all dizzy and weak in no time.
One of the time-tried ways to establish whether you’re giving your body enough liquids is to check up on your urine. Sounds gross, we know, but the color of your pee can tell you volumes on your current health condition. If it looks like apple juice or beer, you need to up your non-alcoholic drinking game. You can learn more about what causes different colors of urine and what they usually mean in this article.
In terms of what to drink, water is your best choice. Take it plain or add some lemon juice, or infuse some fruit, ginger, or mint leaves into it for extra tastiness. The next best thing is tea, with little or no sugar or honey. Stay away from sodas, beer, or energy drinks, since these are basically calorie overload. Coffee is okay, as long as you keep your intake moderate. Steer clear of hard alcohol especially.
3: Space out your protein intake!
You have probably heard or read about the “good” and “not so good” proteins and various opinions on how much of them you need to ingest in any given phase of life. We are skipping all that and going for the practical aspects here.
The best actual sources of proteins would be eggs, beef, curd cheese, salmon, and chicken. In addition to helping you feel sated, thus reducing your appetite and your food intake (a major goal of almost anyone who had ever gone on a diet), proteins play a huge part in building muscle mass and maintaining the immune system.
Therefore, just cramming them into breakfast is no good, have proportional amounts throughout the day. If you do lots of strength training or something like that and need some boost, protein powder shakes and protein-rich smoothies make for great additions to your diet.
4: Be smart with your carbs!
Like we said, no need to give up your favorite treats! If you like carbs, go for them! What matters is the type of carbohydratesyou ingest, the amount, and the timing.
Whenever you can, opt for carby food that was not processed and cooked only very gently. For example, go for steamed potatoes over French fries, and eat wholegrain pasta, bread, and pastries instead of the standard white flour stuff.
If your exercise regime is intense, you will need a lot of carbs to burn, because you will need a lot of quickly available energy. On the flip side, when you are less active, e.g. recovering from an injury or illness, be smart and reduce your servings of potatoes, pasta, rice and so on. Instead, increase your intake of vitamins and lean proteins.
On a final note, here is something to be very careful with: the “empty carbohydrates”. Foods that are known by this name include cornflakes, white bread, and sugary cereals. They earned the nickname because they contain very few nutrients, barely any dietary fiber, and in many cases, they contain additional sugar or artificial sweeteners. So, steer clear of them, guys!
Whether you are looking to lose some weight or just exercise for the fun of it, always remember that workouts are the most effective when they are in synergy with your diet. Dieting alone, or exercising alone, will achieve very little, but in combination, they can turn your life upside down in the best way. When you decide to commit to a new exercise regime this season, commit to smart eating, too, and feel free to share your results with us!
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