Nutrition and Exercise

With my selection as an Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion and my self-imposed Triple Three Peaks Charity Challenge, this was always going to be a very busy and strenuous year.  Nutrition and Exercise were going to become a very important part of my life.

Now over the years I have never been a stranger to exercise, I have ran, walked, swam and cycled.  Even in more recent years when the knees couldn’t take the running I have continued to walk and swam as much as I could.  But what I have always overlooked is nutrition.  Yes I have done diets and been a member of Weight Watchers and Slimmer’s World (other diet programmes are available).  But I have never brought both exercise and nutrition together into a holistic process, making one work with the other to their conjoint benefit.

Macronutrients

Firstly a quick introduction into the three key elements of nutrician – the macronutrients.  These consist of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Each of these have an important role and together form part of a balanced diet.   It is the way we use these macronutrients in conjunction with exercise which is the key to success, however you wish to measure it.macronutrientsFats

Some fat is essential for survival and is required for normal growth and development, energy, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, as well as cartenoids, providing cushioning for the organs, maintaining cell membranes and providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods.

Fat is made up of individual fatty acids, some of which have vital functions in your body all of which comes from your diet as your body can’t make them.  These are known as essential fatty acids and include Omega-3 and Omega-6. The essential fatty acids are important as they are part of the cells in our body and are also involved in the production of certain substances that control chemical reactions inside your cells.

Saturated fat and trans fat have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease. Replacing saturated and trans fat in your diet with unsaturated fat has been shown decrease this risk.

Eggs, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, avocado, nuts, flax seed, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are all great sources.
fats
Proteins

Every cell in the body contains protein, it is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is needed for growth, tissue repair, immune function, making essential hormones and enzymes, providing energy when carbohydrate is not available and for preserving lean muscle mass

When proteins are digested they are broken down into amino acids. Amino acids need to be eaten in large amounts for optimal health benefits. Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are non-essential which means that our body can make them.

After exercise eating protein will ensure that our muscles arerepaired effectively. Combining proteins with the right training will increase your lean muscle tissue mass and speed up your metabolism.
various protein sources
Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate is needed because it is the body’s main source of fuel. It is easily used by the body for energy and is needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.  It can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.

Eating more than your body needs causes you to store fat. However, carbohydrates are great for fuelling and recovering from workouts. Consume less carbs on rest days where you don’t need the extra fuel.
carbs
Exercise and Macronutrients

Your diet should vary between training and non-training days.  On training day the diet should be rich in carbohydrates and proteins and on non-training days it should be rich in healthy fats, reduced carbonhydrates and proteins.  This will ensure that you are consuming the correct type and amount of energy source to match the energy demands being put on the body.
fit and healthy old age

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