belfebe (belfebe) wrote,
belfebe
belfebe

Fitness Thoughts for the Day

They say that you are what you eat.

Amazingly enough, it is true.

In other words, if you eat crap, your body will react to that and will work against you. If you eat clean, your body will work with you.

Yes, boys and girls, this is another post about health and fitness! So here we go again!

Today's topic is nutrition. Bear in mind, I am not talking about diets. I am talking about nutrition, which is the fuel on which your body runs.

Your body is like a car. If you provide good maintenance to your car, your car will last longer and look better than if you do not. If you put good gas in it, your car will run smoothly and your engine will last for many more years than it would otherwise. Yet, sometimes we pay more attention to the maintenance we give to our cars than the maintenance we give to our bodies.

(Of course, sometimes you get the lemon of the lot, and there's not much you can do about that, but even a lemon will work better with proper maintenance and fuel.)

A healthy regime is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise. You can get good results with one or the other, but unless you do both, you won't get optimal ones. And yes, that 10% may not seem like much, but it is just as important as the 90%.

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding nutrition and exercise is that if you are exercising, it's okay to eat anything and everything. After all, you are working out, and you will burn all those extra calories anyway, so eating crap is all right. Right?

Wrong.

When you are exercising, it is just as important to eat clean as when you are not. Possibly even more.

And what constitutes eating clean, you ask? Eating clean means eating fresh food as much as you possibly can, and avoid processed food as much as possible. Good examples of fresh foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, fish, grains, and basically stuff that you don't get out of a can. Okay, canned tuna is fine, some stuff in cans are okay, but I am just giving you an idea of what to expect. A bag of potato chips is not eating clean, no matter what the label says.

That doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself from everything you like. I allow myself one meal per week that is not in the plan, just because I can. And if I ate a piece of chocolate cake today, I will make sure that I will have a proper dinner and that I will be back on the wagon tomorrow.

In other words, if you had a bad meal, or missed a workout, don't beat yourself up. Simply get yourself back in track and continue doing your healthy thing. The key is not perfection. The key to success is consistency. Perfection is unnatainable. Consistency is not.

The topic of nutrition and exercise is very wide. For now, I will concentrate on one thing: Drinking water. The human body is made mostly of water. This is a known fact. Water makes our body function better and flush away the toxins. Ironically enough, if you have a water retention problem, that probably means that you are not drinking enough water.

"But," you say. "I can't drink straight water. I don't like the taste. Besides, I drink Diet Coke all day long, so that would be enough."

Wrong.

Caffeine, caffeinated drinks, sugared drinks, and even juice (from concentrate or not), are not really drinks that help you in your quest for hydrating your body. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Those glasses should be at least 8 oz each.

  • If you have a cup of coffee or a caffeinated drink, you should be drinking that same amount in water, in addition to your 8 glasses.

  • Drinks that contain sugar, such as juices, Gatorade, Propel, etc., will add to your caloric intake, which result in gaining weight if you are not cutting those calories elsewhere.

  • In the case of drinks like Gatorade, Propel, etc., use them when you need your electrolytes to be replenished, such as at Pennsic, running a marathon, etc., but not as your main source of everyday water.

  • Beware of labels that say "Contains natural juice." It's still a lot of sugar.

  • Diet drinks, especially caffeinated ones, do not substitute for real water. If you drink it, replenish the water like in the case of coffee.

  • Avoid alcohol. Yes, I know that this is tough. But alcohol spikes your insuline levels, and also dehydrates you. Keep it at a minimum if you can. And at a minimum I mean not drinking every day. And yes, I know that some people say that a drink a day will help your heart. To them I say, you can achieve the same results by eating right and exercising, so that's not an excuse.

    So my challenge for you, those who would like to take it, will be cutting down on sodas, sugared and caffeinated drinks for a week, and replace them with water. You don't even have to cut them completely. I allow myself a cup of coffee in the morning (black, sweetened with Splenda), and one Diet Coke per day. That's it. The rest is water. 8 glasses of them per day, 8 oz. each.

    Oh, and using Crystal Light sugar free packets for flavoring the water is okay for the challenge. My system is, I keep three bottles of water in the fridge at the office. I take one out, add Crystal Light (tastes great cold), drink it, refill it, put it in the fridge, and get another one. It works great.

    You can use that system, or develop your own. And you can tell us what works for you, and how do you feel after doing this for a week. And if you fall off the wagon, don't leave the challenge, just get back in track. Also, keeping track in a piece of paper or notebook on how much water are you drinking and how many other types of drinks you are having helps.

    Good luck, and good (water) drinking!

    And speaking of nutrition, my lunch is calling.

    Have a healthy day!

    EDIT: Clarification -- For those who read it before the edit, the challenge also entails drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, 8 oz. each. :-D
  • Tags: fitness, health
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