Day: June 7, 2012

Nutrition 101

What is a Calorie?
Calories are not something to be avoided! They are simply a measurement of the amount of energy stored in food. We mainly consume calories in the form of macronutrients, which are also known as carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each macronutrient has a different caloric density.

What is a Macronutrient?
The 3 main macronuteints we consume are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They provide your body with its structure and the biological fuel necessary to live!

• Carbohydrates are our primary source of fuel. They are stored in our muscles and liver for ready and available energy. (See Focus on Carbohydrates for more information)

• Proteins make up the bulk of our structure. They are used for building muscle, bone and enzymes. Proteins make up 17% of our body weight! (See Focus on Protein for more information)

• Fats provide energy during endurance exercise and between meals. They also insulate your body and protect your bones and organs. Unsaturated fats decrease the risk of heart disease and can assist in growth development and brain function (omega-3). (See Focus on Fats for more information)

Where does Fiber fit in?
Fiber, though not a macronutrient, causes you to stay full longer, lowers blood cholesterol, decreases heart disease and type-2 diabetes, and maintains a healthy digestive system. The recommended daily intake is 38g for males and 25g for females. (See Focus on Fiber for more information)

What is a Micronutrient?
Micronutrients are substances we only need in small amounts, but without them our bodies cannot function. Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, and calcium are among the many micronutrients that enable our bodies to produce enzymes and hormones necessary for growth and development.

What is Caloric Density?
Caloric Density refers to the amount of calories packed into 1 gram of a macronutrient. Here is the calorie breakdown of 1 gram of carbohydrate, protein, and fat:
• Carbohydrate – 4 calories / 1 gram
• Protein – 4 calories / 1 gram
• Fat – 9 calories / 1 gram

For example, a piece of whole wheat bread has 13g of carbohydrates, 3g of protein, and 1g of fat. This piece of bread amounts to 73 calories. Here’s how we got it: [(13g carbohydrates x 4kcal) + (3g protein x 4kcal) + (1g fat x 9kcal) = 73kcals]

How do I divvy up my calories?
It is always up for debate what percentage of calories should come from each major macronutrient. Percentages can vary according to level and intensity of physical activity. Here is a general guideline for how to break up your calories into carbohydrates, protein, and fat:

• 45-65% of calories should come from carbohydrates (No more than 25% coming from added sugars)
• 15-25% of calories should come from protein
• 30% of calories should come from fat (Saturated fats: 10% of total calories)

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Fitness Program

Many people at new years try and change their lifestyle to become a healthier person. Of those people only about 20% can actually stick with their new year’s goals for more than 3 months. That’s not a very high number, so here are some tips to make your new fitness program one that stays with you for your lifetime.

The first thing to do is find a gym that fits all of your needs. Basically you want to get the best bang for your buck. This means find a gym that is convenient, clean, and organized well enough that you can do exercises without being in your fellow member’s personal bubble. The gym should also offer a wide range classes and amenities that fit your needs and preferences.

The next thing to do is contemplate what your personal goals for your fitness program will; they should be both long-term and short-term goals. These goals then need to be written down and visible every day. It is a proven fact that people who write down their goals achieve them at a higher percentage than those who do not.

Now that you know where you are working out and what you want to achieve, you need to think about nutrition and water intake to fuel your workout. You should drink two cups (16 oz) of water about two hours before you exercise, drink one glass for every 15 min of exercise, and drink two cups of water for every pound of weight lost after exercise. As far as food goes, eating before exercise can help prevent a crash in energy during your workout. If you are trying to eat with an hour of your exercise, stick to light foods rich in carbohydrates; if you have a couple hours before exercise grab food rich in carbohydrates as well as protein, and if you have over three hours before your exercise get a small mean of complex carbohydrates, protein and good fat. Right after you exercise, replenish your energy with carbohydrates and protein.

As for the exercise, if you are a new exercise enthusiast keep the workout simple. Do not try and do all of these crazy exercises you see other gym goers doing. Stay simple and basic in your exercises first, and then progress into other advanced exercises. If you are experienced but have lost that drive to exercise, try finding an exercise partner or asking for advice from a fitness expert, like a personal trainer, to vamp up your routine.

To have a successful fitness plan DO: find the right gym, write down those long and short term goals, eat food before and after your workout as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day and your workout and keep your workouts simple, but ask for advice from a someone if you need to vamp up your workout.