Tag Archives: carbohydrates

Gotta Have Breakfast

Everyone has heard the rumor that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, it’s true.  Not only are breakfast foods delicious, making the right breakfast choices can get your day going with a healthy and happy start, but the benefits don’t end there.  Eating within half an hour of waking up can increase resting metabolic rate, improve short-term memory and help control weight.

Skipping breakfast means your body hasn’t been fed in up to 15 hours and isn’t producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat.  If you wait for lunchtime to eat, your body doesn’t start working, and burning calories, until you’re five hours into your day.  By eating breakfast you give your system something to work on all morning, causing it to produce those enzymes and use more energy from stored fat.  In fact, eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to increase resting metabolism by up to 10% for the remainder of your day.

Breakfast will also give you a burst of energy, increasing your ability to concentrate and your strength.  Numerous studies of kids who eat breakfast have shown that they perform better in school than those who don’t eat a morning meal, and a study of teens in the Journal of Adolescent Health found high-energy foods for breakfast improved short-term memory, proving that kids need healthy morning foods just as much as adults.

Missing breakfast doesn’t slow down your metabolism, but does delay turning it on.  The biggest issue with people who skip breakfast, and tend to weigh more than those who don’t, is that missing breakfast often leads to overeating later in the day.  Overcompensating for a missed meal by grabbing whatever is handy can lead to high calorie food intake, overeating and bad choices.  Another downside to this kind of eating is that lots of easy to eat foods contain fast burning refined carbs and sugars, the reason for those tired feelings after lunch.

The most important part of your morning meal is its content.  Doughnuts, sugary cereals or highly processed toaster snacks will negate most of breakfast’s benefits.  Be sure to pick healthy foods like whole grain cereal and bread products, eggs without yolks, fresh fruits, low-fat yogurt and other lean proteins.  High energy foods, like bagels, have lots of calories and they add up quickly.  Fiber rich foods like oatmeal, berries and walnuts allow you to eat more without all the calories.

For help planning your breakfast menu or to schedule your Kitchen Makeover, email Info@FitNicePT.com today.

Stay Properly Hydrated

Your nutrition needs are going to be based on your training goals and training program.  If you are trying to lose weight, you will need to take in fewer calories than you burn.  If you are trying to get stronger and perform faster, you will need carbohydrate intake to match or exceed what you blast through during the day.  Regardless of your training goals, hydration is the most important element of any nutrition plan.

Constant dehydration affects 80% of all Americans, and the effects of dehydration can wreak havoc on your body without adding any additional stress from exercise.  Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, nausea and dizziness.  Losing even a small amount of body water, one to 2 percent of body weight, through sweating can begin to lead to dehydration.  If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes or at a high intensity, you want to make sure you are hydrating while you are working out from roughly the 30 minute mark on.  If you are going at it for less than an hour at a medium intensity, you can probably get by without additional hydration.  Watch out for sugary and carb filled sports drinks, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

An integral part of proper hydration is electrolytes.  Electrolytes are nutrients that aid in absorption of carbohydrates and water, as well as working to maintain fluid balances.  Every athlete has to make sure they get electrolytes and maintain proper hydration for the duration of each and every workout.  The most important electrolyte athletes need is sodium.  Getting enough sodium ensures you won’t become overhydrated and dilute the concentration of electrolytes in your system, which can lead to increased urination as your body tried to release excess fluid.

Once you’ve ensured you are, and will stay, properly hydrated, you need to fuel your workout.  If you’re heading out for less than 60 minutes, you won’t need any additional carbs, regardless of your training goals.  If you are working to lose weight, you’ll want to decrease your carbs in order to burn more fat during your gym session.  This doesn’t mean fat slip away because you may not perform as well without fuel or will make up for the carb deficiency by overeating later.  If you’re going to exercise longer than 60 minutes, your needs will differ based on your training goals.  Weight loss athletes want to add roughly 30 grams of carbs per hour over 90 minutes, while performance athletes want to 60 or more grams per hour over 90 minutes.  These additional carbs should come from bananas or sweet potatoes for weight loss athletes and sports drinks, gels or bars for performance based training.

Questions?  Want help determining your training needs?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

A Balanced Diet Part I

The human body needs six kinds of nutrients to function properly, so knowing what they are and how they work is important to having a balanced diet.  In this segment, we’ll go over each of the six nutrient types, explaining what they are and how they work.  In the upcoming weeks, we’ll learn about each food group, what to eat, how much, and how often, so by the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be ready to hit the grocery store armed with plenty of knowledge to ensure healthy choices.

Carbohydrates.  These are the body’s energy.  Carbs supply simple glucose, and without it, your brain can’t function properly.  You need lots of carbs for day to day life but be careful not to over indulge.  Each gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories, so if the expenditure of carbohydrates is less than the intake, weight gain is inevitable.  Carbohydrates are found in bread, beans, potatoes and corn, with the most common types being sugars, fibers and starches.

Protein.  Proteins, like carbohydrates, contain 4 calories per gram.  While protein can be used as a source of energy, the human body uses them primarily for moving nutrients through the body, keeping the immune system up and running properly.  Proteins help grow and rebuild muscle, maintain fluid balance, and catalyze the reactions essential to life.

Fats.  Fats contain 9 calories per gram, and as a result, are a great source of energy.  Fats also help the body absorb vitamins while providing insulation and cushion to internal organs.  There are two major types of naturally occurring fatty acids, saturated, with each molecule covered in hydrogen atoms, and monounsaturated, when each molecule has only one hydrogen atom.  Saturated fats, found in meat and dairy products, can lead to high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke if over-consumed.  Monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, whole grain wheat, avocados and popcorn, have been said to reduce a person’s risk for heart disease.  Both saturated and monounsaturated fats are essential to life.  Trans fats are not naturally occurring, never saturated, and are not essential for life.  Trans fats have been proven to increase bad cholesterol (LDL), lower good (HDL) and raise the risk of heart disease.  Trans fats are found mostly in junk and fast food.

Vitamins.  Vitamins are made from plants and animals, and each of the 13 (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K) is something your body needs.  They are necessary for normal metabolism and since the human body does not produce them, vitamins must be acquired through diet or supplements.

Minerals.  Minerals, including selenium, zinc, and calcium, allow your body to get the energy out of carbohydrates and also promote good immune functioning.

Water.  Sure, water sounds simple.  You can go for weeks without eating, without eater, you’ll last only a few days.  Water is the universal solvent and provides the basis for chemical reactions to take place.  It also helps maintain body temperature and lubricate joints.

Stay tuned next week when we start learning about Food Groups with Grains.

 

Hydration 101

The human body is two thirds water, and during toasty summer months, proper hydration is the most important weapon you have against heat related injuries.  Fluids before, during and after your workout or run are paramount to staying healthy and energized because they help the body regulate its temperature.  Hydration should be part of your everyday life, carry a water bottle and shoot for 60 ounces a day, drink water every time you drink coffee, soda, or alcohol.  The best way to gauge your hydration needs is based on thirst.  Drink when you’re thirsty, not a designated or predetermined times, since too much fluid can be just as dangerous as too little.hydrationBefore your workout or run you want to put both food and fluid into your system.  Have an energy bar or gel, making sure whatever you eat is easy to digest.  Back off fluids roughly 30 minutes before your long run, checking that you need to pee before you go and your urine is a light yellow color.

During your workout, especially if you are running, you want to take in approximately four ounces of fluid per mile. Don’t force yourself to drink, drink if you’re thirsty, but stay on top of fluid in-take; it’s hard to catch up if you fall behind.  Any drink you bring on a run should taste good cold as well as warm so you can drink them when you need it most.  It’s hard to suffer drinking warm water, so practice or pick a sports drink with a flavor you enjoy.

After your workout or run, you need to recover.  To do that, your body needs both carbs and protein, preferably in a 4:1 ratio.  Review how much fluid you took in, and determine how you did.  Post workout or run, have cool water or recovery drinks because you will be more inclined to drink them.

Stay hydrated during your regular gym workout to aid performance and get better results.  If training for a race, practice your hydration strategy by mixing it up with different types of sports drinks, recovery drinks, and temperatures of liquid.  Be careful not to force fluids, and listen to your body when it tells you to take some in.  Following these guidelines and listening closely to your body are the best ways to prevent heat related injuries all year long.