From the time I got into fitness and started training, I understood that nutrition is a key element and that food is essential in order to achieve the goals you set for yourself and have the desired performance. And since I was a stubborn kid who evolved into a stubborn man I never liked people telling me what or how to do things. So realizing how important knowledge is in any part of life I went on a hunt, learning all I could about nutrition, training, body mechanics, anatomy. And trust me I learned a lot. More than you could ever learn at a 6-month personal training or nutritionist course.
With that in mind, I embarked on my journey of personal fitness which later on transferred into every area of my life. My personal development and now empowering others.
This article is a part of the series inspired by the GYM which I talked about in the last article. Check it here.
I believe that if a person learns, observes and cares about his body & mind he can become his own doctor. So in this article, I will try my best to give you a short overview of Nutrition in hopes to lay the groundwork for my next important installment around Diet and What you should eat depending on your goals.
Proteins are the building blocks of our body from our muscles, bones, hormones, nerves, blood. They are large biomolecules consisting of amino acids. Their usage is essential in the health and function of our bodies and minds. Read more
Foods that are rich in protein are:
- Fish(tuna, salmon, tilapia, octopus)
- Meat(steak, beef, chicken, bison, bacon)
- Nuts, Seeds, Vegetables
- Dairy Products( Milk, Yogurt, Cheese)
- Protein powder from supplements.
Think of it this way. When you are born your mother most probably fed you breast milk, or regular milk in order for your body to develop, build it’s bones and grow stronger. Another more precise example is when you are training. Your body breaks down muscle tissue when performing exercises in repetitions and sets. So after you workout, fueling your body with a protein meal like a nice steak and beans will heal your broken muscle fibers and rebuild them bigger and stronger. All of this is greatly enhanced by sleeping well and resting your body.
Carbohydrates or carbs are forms of energy stored in food. Research has shown that carbs are not as essential in the life of human beings as protein and fats. Carbs are essentially sugars, that’s why they are divided into monosaccharides (simple carbs) and disaccharides (complex carbs).
All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.
Some food sources of simple carbohydrates:
Complex carbohydrates may be referred to as dietary starch and are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. They are often rich in fiber, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals.
These whole plant foods are great sources of complex carbohydrates:
- Green vegetables
- Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain bread
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
- Beans, lentils, and peas
The case of Fruits as simple or complex carbs.
The answer is simple. Fruits are good for you. Eat them
Fat is the third macronutrient. Dietary fats are found in food from plants and animals.
The four major types are:
- monounsaturated fats
- polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3s)
- trans fats
- saturated fats
The Case of ‘Good’ vs ‘Bad’ Fats
There is this notion even inside the fitness industry that fats are bad for our health and we should eat a minimum of them that’s why you have all these people promoting ‘bullshit’ low-fat high-carb diets. While there is a distinction between ‘good’ (monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and ‘bad’ (trans and saturated fats) fats are essential for our nutrition.
“Bad” fats, such as trans fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries, and so forth. But good fats such as omega-3s have the opposite effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.
The answer for a healthy diet isn’t to cut out the fat—it’s to replace bad fats with the good ones that promote health and well-being.
Good Fat Sources:
- Olives and olive oil
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
- Natural peanut butter (containing just peanuts and salt)
- Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
- Non-GMO sources of soymilk and tofu
Bad Fats/Trans Fats
- Commercially baked goods (cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, breads like hamburger buns)
- Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, candy)
- Solid fats (stick margarine, vegetable shortening)
- Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish, hard taco shells)
- Pre-mixed products (cake mix, pancake, chocolate milk)
- Anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil listed in the ingredients
Nutrition is based on the 3 Macronutrients. Proteins, Carbs, and Fats.
They all should be taken on the right amount depending on the body of the individual. Proteins are the essential for our muscles, bones, hormones while carbs and fats serve as energy sources and are extremely important for the functions of the brain and the body. Having said all that, this article serves as a preface for my next article which will be a detailed post about the Diet you should choose, the what you should eat and how much depending on your goals while sharing my own story of bulking up and leaning down.