Improve Your Fitness With These 10 Nutritional Hacks

Fitness, as we know, is not an easy journey. There are, however, some tweaks that can help the process go more smoothly. Try these hacks and improve your fitness journey.

  1. Be accurate about portion size. The two photos here show a handful of almonds, but, as you can see from the calorie count, a handful can be more or less.

  2. Don’t mistake food for healthy based on a name, or word you associate with a healthy choice. For example, tuna can be a great source of high-quality protein, along with Omega-3’s and Vitamin D. Now take a look at the nutritional content of a tuna sub from Subway. It has 25 grams of fat, without any condiments or add-ons. That equals the fat content in about 8 slices of bacon.

  3. Consider all the ingredients when deciding on whether something is healthy. In the salads shown, one is around 250 calories, while the second has around 2,500 calories, not to mention loads of fat and sodium. With either choice, you could say you only had a salad, but what a difference to your body.

  4. Diet, Low Fat, Lite, Fat Free, etc., may not be your friend. Sugar and salt, for example, have zero fat content. So, a salad dressing, for example, could be “Fat Free”, but still be loaded with sugar and sodium and a very bad nutritional choice.

  5. Don’t blindly jump on the low or no carb bandwagon, according to an article from Precision Nutrition, a leading authority in the industry. Reducing carbs by too much can lead to other complications. According to the Precision Nutrition article mentioned above, those problems may include decreased thyroid output, increased cortisol output, decreased testosterone, impaired mood and cognitive function, muscle catabolism and suppressed immune function. The net result of a food plan too low in carbs can be a slowing in your metabolism, which can actually lead to weight gain, and a deficiency in the hormones needed to add muscle. In addition, for women, the disruption in hormone production can not only hamper weight, loss, it can result in;

  • a stopped or irregular menstrual cycle;

  • lowered fertility;

  • hypoglycemia and blood sugar swings;

  • more body fat (especially around the middle);

  • loss of bone density;

  • anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues;

  • chronic inflammation and worse chronic pain;

  • chronic fatigue and disrupted sleep; and

  • a host of other chronic problems

  1. Don’t assume diet soda is a good option. In a study published in 2017, Dana Small, a neuroscientist at Yale University, discovered how our brains react to various amounts of sweet-like stimulation. She tested subjects with a variety of drinks with different amounts of sweeteners and caloric content. The conclusion, which she is now researching further, is that the brain can be confused by a mismatch of calories and sweetness, triggering our metabolisms to store these calories as opposed to burning them as fuel. In other words, these artificial sweeteners can impact our metabolisms and not in a positive way.

  2. Stay well hydrated. Dehydration can cause sugar cravings, so it can contribute to weight gain. When we exercise with low fluid levels, we use stores of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) at a faster rate, so, when finished, we feel cravings for high carb foods. like sweets. Dehydration can also lead to Hypernatremia, or elevated sodium levels. Since fluid is the normal conduit for sodium leaving the body, without sufficient fluid, sodium is retained. This can show itself in a variety of symptoms, like fatigue, irritability and lethargy. Make sure you intake 2/3 to 3/4 oz. per pound of body weight per day and you should be fine. Higher temperatures can up your need for fluid, so factor that in as well. Drink up. Your body will thank you!

  3. Plan your day’s nutrition in advance. Prepping your meals fpr the day can keep you from having only the “lesser of the evils” drive thru options

  4. Don’t under eat. Too little fuel can cause your metabolism to slow down, the opposite of what’s needed to become lean.

  5. Think of indulgences like a debit card, not a credit card. If you have an event coming up that you may choose to stray from your nutritional plan, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll make up for it later in the gym. That’s like a credit card, buy now, pay later. Instead, make a deal like a debit card (you have to have the money before you can spend it) that you will burn the extra calories in advance prior to the event, so you can enjoy guilt free.

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