Personal Trainer’s Guide to Nutrition
‘Healthy living’ has different meanings for different people. Some consider working out as an example of a healthy lifestyle, while others are more focused on the nutritional aspect of this. Of course you can’t deny the importance of nutrition on invoking healthy changes in your life. Unfortunately some people get stuck with just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle and follow it in frenzy.
All those people who’ve spent any amount of time working out or generally just concentrating on their fitness would know that sticking to a particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle can be dangerous. I’ve have come across some clients who blatantly ignored my words of caution and ended up getting seriously hurt.
That’s why I always advise my clients to have a collaborative approach. It’s important to realize that paying attention to just the physical part or siding with just the nutritional side won’t do you any good. For permanent and impressive results, it’s important that you focus on healthy living as a whole. This said, let’s move on to the main focus of this blog.
Nutrition – One of the Pillars of a Healthy Lifestyle
The last blog was an introduction to all the things that your journey to a healthy living will encompass. This time however, I’ve focused on the nutritional side. And there’s a specific reason for it.
After years of being a personal trainer, I’ve had a diverse group of clients. Some availed my services for weight loss, while some just wanted to change their unhealthy habits and starts afresh. Whatever their objectives were, I made sure that they got the best advice. During all those years, I noticed some people work out for hours and then eat all the junk food they could find. It was a usual face palm moment for me.
They had the misconception that as long as they worked out long enough, they’d be able to negate the effect of all that junk in their system. After 30 minutes of jogging on the treadmill, an average person is able to burn 300 calories. But when it comes to replenishing the spent calories, it can be done in a matter of minutes. Just eat a donut and your 30 minutes of jogging have successfully gone to waste. You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go to waste like this and neither do I. My job as a personal trainer means that I have to educate my clients about the benefits of protein, healthy fats and other macronutrients. This advice is also followed by the techniques of moving and living better in general too.
Why is it Important to Talk about Nutrition
I’ve met people who took interest in personal training and hence hired a renowned personal trainer. Over the course of their efforts to get a healthy life, they trained vigorously. Their personal trainer was with them at every milestone and guided them well. From workout plans to exercise techniques, their personal trainer performed their duty to the best of their abilities.
However, when it came to nutritional coaching, the personal trainer backed out. I understand that there are certain guidelines regarding the extent of nutrition coaching that personal trainers can do. We might not be allowed to dispense nutritional guidelines for medical conditions but we surely can increase the impact of your workouts by providing basic nutritional guidelines.
By including nutrition in your plans for a healthy lifestyle, you can achieve results that are 5 times better! For instance, if you stand to lose 5 pounds from your rigorous workout plan, you can instead lose 25 pounds just by paying attention to your daily nutrition intake.
I’ve always been specific about the affect of nutrition on a healthy lifestyle and this blog discusses a brief guide about it. If you too have been looking to change your life for the better and take a healthier take on your life, this blog is the ultimate guide you need.
Stick to the Basics
Before moving on to adopt the latest diet fad that comes in the market, you better stop. Take a deep breath and ignore all the miracle diets that promise instant results. You should know that they do more harm than good. The results might be apparent in a short while, but they can have long term affects on you, physically, mentally and emotionally. With so many seating disorders around, the best thing you can do is follow the national nutritional guidelines.
It’s quite simple really. A healthy eating pattern includes a balanced diet of all food groups. Create a perfect balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, oil and grains. This healthy pattern of eating will ensure an appropriate calorie level. This will help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Nutrient Dense Foods
I always work together with my clients to form a diet plan that caters to their nutritional needs. Based on their future goals and their current level of health, I work with my clients to come up with a diet plan that can help them achieve their fitness goals. I ensure that we focus on variety, amount and nutrient density of food.
When it comes to vegetables, most people put them in the same category. They think that as long as they eat vegetables, they can keep their calorie-count in check. Unfortunately that’s not always true. Even among vegetables, there are sub-groups and the vegetables included in these groups are high in calories. I always advise my clients to go green and eat a healthy amount of vegetables. I also caution them to take it slow when it comes to under the ground vegetables. Potatoes and carrots are vegetables but since they grow under the ground, they have more calories per serving.
Focus on eating fruits that have a slow score on the Glycemic Index (GI). To save yourself the trouble, go for berries as they are the safest option here. Apples, oranges, kiwi, peaches are also some great options to try. You must have heard about all the attention that whole grains are getting recently. That’s because they really do work and are helpful in your weight loss and weight control programs. So, instead of going for white flour, opt for whole grains. The fibers contained in these foods are a game changer. Similarly, go for oatmeal and ditch the store bought cereals that are a goldmine of added sugar.
Added sugar is your biggest enemy and it can be found in almost every other food these days. The more you avoid this ‘stealth calorie avalanche’, the more chance you have of having a healthy lifestyle. The same goes for saturated fats and sodium. They might seem innocent enough but they can have a significant impact on your calorie intake. It is these simple and seemingly harmless foods that can render your strenuous workout session useless.
The Glycemic index (GI) is a great way to measure the efficacy of your food. If you are looking to lose weight, it’s better to limit your calories. One way of doing that is by avoiding refined carbohydrates. Simple and complex carbs can be defined by the Glycemic Index number. This number indicates how fast a food is converted into sugar. If you intake too many carbohydrates, they will eventually break down into sugar and too much sugar in your system can cause insulin resistance. This resistance ultimately causes the body to secrete more sugar and gradually sugar levels increase to a dangerous level. When this happens, you can be in danger of developing diabetes.
The Glycemic Index (GI) has the following values. Foods with a low GI are also called simple carbs.
- Low GI = 55<
- Medium GI = 55 > 69
- High GI = 70 or more
In the beginning of my practice as a personal trainer, I’ve discouraged people from keeping an active calorie-count at all times. This way, most people become obsessed with their calorie intake and ultimately harm themselves in the process.
However, there’s another side to the story. With proper guidance and a balanced diet plan, it’s possible to keep your calorie-count on check and not hurt yourself in the process. Whenever I get a new client who wants to lose, gain or maintain weight, the first step we take is to calculate the calories that can help them achieve their ultimate goal.
By knowing the limitations of their diet, most people are able to refrain from indulging in messing up their calorie-count. When they know what they stand to gain from limiting their calories, they are motivated to follow the plan and hence achieve the results they always wanted.
The calorie calculations are a rough estimate and so they should only be considered as starting points. I’ve had clients who wanted to lose or gain drastic amount of weight in a week and hence asked for a calorie-count that could provide the results. Being a personal trainer, I know how dangerous these ‘instant-result’ diets can be. That’s why I always adjust the calorie calculations to help my clients lose only 1-2 lbs per week.
Your calorie-count partly depends on the level of activity you engage in everyday. As I’ve already mentioned before, all of these aspects are interconnected. One side wouldn’t be effective unless the other components are also utilized in life. Your dreams of living a healthy lifestyle will only come to realization when you focus on nutrition, along physical fitness.
The following are the levels of activity that are taken into consideration when deciding daily calorie intake.
- Sedentary – No exercise and you sit at work all day.
- Lightly Active – No exercise but you are very active at work or walk a lot.
- Moderately Active – Job has some work and you exercise 3 hours or less a week.
- Very Active – Active at work and you workout 6-9 hours a week.
- Extremely Active – Involved in a highly active competitive sport.
Watch your Water Intake
Researchers have spent their careers working to find the benefits of water intake on a healthy lifestyle. Over the course of my practice as a personal trainer, this is the one point that I’ve emphasized on the most. Keeping hydrated is not only effective in keeping you healthy but it also helps you lose weight.
The main function of kidneys is to process excess water in the body. When your water intake levels are low, your kidneys don’t have much work to do and hence don’t function as they normally do. In order to take on the responsibilities, the liver takes over, abandoning the less important tasks. This task is however quite important; burning fat for energy. And so there goes your chances of having the perfect body you’ve always dreamt of. Keep drinking water as it keeps your kidneys working, which eventually helps your overall health. And remember to drink 1 oz. of water for every kilogram of your bodyweight. Don’t gulp it all up in one go. Spread it out evenly throughout the day.
The main reason for dishing out all this advice is to help people who are interested in personal training. It can get hard at times, especially when you don’t know where to begin. The best way to deal with this issue is to get advice from a professional personal trainer. With your eyes on the goal and a sound plan from your personal trainer, your ultimate fitness goal wouldn’t be too far off. Just follow the given advice, focus on the nutritional aspect of healthy living and reap the benefits. Go and achieve your fitness mark!