You must have read this multiple times and heard the same from most fitness enthusiasts and trainers and coaches - diet and exercise go together. You are what you eat! When it is about exercising to maintain a healthy body or muscle building or training, the diet has a major role to play. But the intensity of the role varies from goal to goal. It all depends on what your specific goals are. So if you are planning to hop on a fitness regime or have already one, here are some of the questions you can ask your fitness coach. The range of doubts regarding diet is huge. Based on your lifestyle, the questions can differ. Here are some that we found people around us inquisitive about.
Should you be eating something before a morning workout?
This is something that you can experiment with and find out. Yes, topping off energy stores after a night's fast will be advantageous if you're going out on an extremely hard or long training session. If the workout isn't too long or isn't a high-intensity workout, you'll probably be able to finish it without any additional fuel. You may not feel as energized as usual when working out on an empty stomach, but that's normal. If you feel faint or dizzy, though, come to a halt and eat something. When the right nutrition is provided, fasted exercises can cause bodily adaptations that can lead to improved performance later on.
Can you get enough protein from your diet if you are a vegetarian?
Well yes! A lot of vegetarian food is a rich source of protein. Some of the vegan options include nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Paneer and soya beans have high protein content. Proteins cannot be avoided if you are exercising because proteins are made up of amino acids, which are necessary to build and repair muscle fibers. It is when you are done working out that your body needs proteins the most for recovery. A vegetarian diet has enough options to fulfill the protein requirements.
Do alcohol and exercise go together? Is it advisable to sip a cocktail if you are on a fitness regime?
Now, this is something that depends on your fitness goals. If you are training for sports, then it is advisable to skip the alcohol altogether because it is a dehydrating compound. However, if you exercise to maintain an active lifestyle, then sipping alcohol in controlled quantities is not all that bad. Just avoid consuming alcohol shortly after your workout session or even before it. The reason is very simple. As you exercise, sweating causes water loss from the body. It is unavoidable. Since alcohol also accounts for a decrease in water content, it is best to keep away from it during pre and post-workout times. A smarter approach is to shy away from drinks that are high on calories if you are very particular about your fitness yet want to enjoy alcohol. This could be a good way to balance it out. Check the calorie content before deciding what to order.
What are the alternatives to sugar? Since sugar has high calories, how do I tackle my sugar cravings?
Honey and jaggery are good and healthy alternatives to sugar. Fruits have natural sugars. If you find yourself craving sugar at odd hours, settle for them. Even dry fruits like raisins are a good option. Having a small chunk of jaggery also works. Try whole-wheat biscuits or protein bars. All in all, have healthy products that are designed to keep the sugar intake in check. If you are not into hardcore training, you can have a sweet on your cheat day. Don’t try to eliminate sugar completely or else you might experience heightened sugar cravings.
Should you be eating carbohydrates?
Absolutely. At high intensities, this macronutrient is your body's primary source of energy. Carbs provide fiber and minerals that maintain your body healthy and regular, in addition to providing the ideal fuel for performance. The more hours you exercise every week, the more carbohydrates you require on a daily basis. Simple carbohydrates should be used to power workouts, whereas complex carbohydrates should be used for meals. Carbohydrates account for the majority of the energy supply that is needed to move. When you exercise to weight loss, you burn more calories than you consume. The extra calories are what you burn to lose weight and also tone your body.
What does a healthy and balanced diet look like?
A healthy diet starts with consuming a variety of healthful meals every day. This involves eating more plant-based foods and consuming fewer highly processed or ultra-processed foods. To acquire and maintain a healthy body weight, eat a wide variety of meals in the proper quantities and consume the right amount of food and drink. To construct a healthy diet - Eating lots of vegetables and fruit, choosing whole-grain foods, eating protein-rich foods, excluding ultra-processed foods, and hydrating in plenty.
These are some checkpoints for a healthy diet that you can take into consideration while planning your healthy diet:
- Most of your meals should be prepared at home with whole or little processed ingredients.
- Make a weekly eating plan — this is the secret to quick and easy meal preparation.
- Smaller meals should be consumed more frequently. At least three meals and snacks each day are recommended. You are more prone to make poor eating choices if you wait too long to eat.
- Easy-to-eat snacks should always be handy.
What dinner routine should you be following?
Try to eat smaller portions of food for dinner. Large meals take longer to digest, which contributes to sleep disruptions. To lose weight, small amounts of light foods such as salads or soups are always recommended for dinner. Moreover, it is suggested that you should not eat dinner at late hours of the day. When you eat your meal late, the growth hormone causes your body to store food as fat rather than the fuel. Because your metabolism is slowed at night, food takes longer to digest, resulting in a restless night's sleep. While it is not recommended to eat late at night, if you do feel hungry, make sure you have low-calorie snacks on hand. To satisfy your hunger, try low-calorie bhelpuri, grilled veggies, baked potato, cucumber, or dhokla. There could be times when hunger pangs could hit you, don’t starve yourself but stay low.
Should you eat protein or carbs after your workout?
Both. If you train at any level of intensity, your post-workout meal is arguably the most crucial meal of the day. You must refill the energy stores that have been drained by taking carbs, as well as ensure that you have enough protein to rebuild your body after the thrashing you have just given it.
What are some eating habits that I should give up on immediately?
Binge eating is one of the habits that you should change as soon as possible. Your body should be able to digest the food well before you feed it with more of it. It also spoils your eating routines. Your body should know when it can expect food and when not. If there is a continuous inflow of food, it begins to store it, thereby putting on unnecessary weight. Deep-fried foods, even though they are the tastiest, should be entirely avoided. Especially if they are cooked in refined oils. These are fatty acids that house themselves in your body increasing your fat equation. Don't miss or postpone meals, and plan your snacks ahead of time. If you ignore your hunger, you may overeat or choose unhealthy food. Drink water instead of high-sugar drinks.
How can I improve my diet without resorting to hardcore dieting?
Developing healthy eating habits will allow you to eat more healthily and enjoy your meals again, rather than being concerned about each meal. Forming these habits can help you reach your objectives and feel more secure about your eating habits, whether you're aiming to lose weight or simply eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Try to consume food in moderation. It's true that moderation is the key to success. Giving yourself the flexibility to eat anything you want in reasonable amounts is critical for your overall health and nutrition.
- Try to control the portions. Portion size encourages you to eat in moderation and prevents overeating. Large servings deceive you into eating more and consuming more calories, which can cause serious weight gain.
- Eat when you're hungry rather than when you're bored. When you eat when you aren't hungry, you consume an excessive amount of calories from less nutritional meals.
- Slowly eat. Pay attention to the flavors and textures of your food. Rather than inhaling your food, enjoy it! Slow down so you can feel the hunger fade away and be replaced by a comfortable, full feeling.
- Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolism and may lead to weight gain.
It is all connected. If you are choosing to exercise and yet continuing to eat in an unhealthy way, you are just pushing the achievement of your goals further away. Requires a little dedication, but anyone can get there.