Regular exercise is important for both our physical fitness and our mental wellbeing. But how important is the balance between exercise and nutrition? For us, the two go hand-in-hand and this article aims to detail the how’s and why’s.
Everyone exercises for different reasons. Some do it purely for the enjoyment, others for weight management, physical/cardiovascular fitness and/or improved mental health. Or, all the above. Some people train for specific events such as marathons or triathlons. The list is long and varied.
If you’re new to exercise, you may still be finding your feet in terms of what you enjoy and are capable of and if you’re experienced within this field, you will know what makes you tick and what to do to gain and maintain peak performance both in terms of your fitness levels and body confidence.
The most important thing is to move…Walk to school, walk to work, take the stairs, join up to your local gym, play a sport – The list goes on. However, ideally, as advised by the NHS, everyone should be aiming for around 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity. If you can break this down over several days, even better.
We would advise a mix of aerobic exercise combined with strength training and core exercises. Aerobic exercise in our world comprises classes such as Circuit Training, Clubbercise, Power Step, Bootcamp, Buggyblast, Box, Shredded and Spin/Ride/Vibe. Aerobic exercise in its most basic form gets the heart working and improves overall cardiovascular health. It helps to reduce and maintain weight when combined with a healthy diet and has many other benefits, including a reduction in blood pressure, improved sleeping patterns and enabling the regulation of blood sugar.
Resistance exercises are covered in Body Pump, Kettlebells, Body Max and Power Bells (elements are also incorporated in Circuits and Bootcamp).
Don’t be fooled into thinking these classes will turn you into a bodybuilder – This is a total myth and something women especially can be afraid of. These classes are designed to get you lean, toned and fit. By building lean muscle mass you increase your body’s ability to effectively burn calories in the long-term as the extra muscle will raise your metabolism. Not to mention enabling an increase in bone density to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and the likelihood of fractures.
Core exercises include Pilates, Yoga and Insanity Abs and again elements are also covered in most of our other classes. There are so many benefits to building a strong core, including improving balance, coordination and posture as well as enhancing flexibility. In addition, it can help to stabilise your lower back and as we all ride merrily towards the big 40 and beyond, this is an inherent weakness in the majority of people and if not managed effectively can have a huge and detrimental effect on our daily lives, sleeping patterns and overall wellbeing.
If you manage to incorporate all of the above into your week, you’re already doing extremely well. However, what about your diet? How much of an effect does your diet have on your body and performance? The answer to this is quite simple. A huge one.
And please note, we’re using the word ‘diet’ here to represent what you put into your body. We’re not talking fad diets. Yes, if you want to lose weight and decrease your body fat percentage, your calorie intake needs to be less than output. But we are firm believers in a healthy lifestyle and a way of life rather than fad diets. Diets in this way, represent a moment in time. They are not sustainable and our knowledge and experience tells us that to change your body, you need to combine exercise with a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Think long-term goals here, not short-term.
Combining a healthy diet rich in fruits/vegetables, proteins, wholegrains and nuts/legumes is imperative when striving for a healthy body. Healthy food choices will help to improve your heart function, lower blood pressure, lose body fat, prevent against certain diseases, enable an uplift in mood and confidence and induce better sleeping patterns. The list goes on and we could and probably will write another article focussing solely on this angle.
Diet & exercise performance
If you are exercising regularly, your diet will have an impact on your performance when it comes to exercise. Food is energy and you need to make sure you’re eating enough. When attempting to lose weight, many people restrict their calorie intake too much and this is especially apparent when it comes to carbs. People are actually afraid of carbs. But eating regularly is proven to increase your metabolism and carbs are an essential part of any fitness regime.
A lack of carbs can induce fatigue and delayed recovery. Muscle is gained through the consumption of carbs and fats, not just proteins. Your body uses proteins to build and repair tissues and so is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Without the balanced combination of the above, there’s no way you will be able to tackle that Spin class or Bootcamp session with vigour.
We mustn’t underestimate the importance of fluids either and we’re not talking wine or diet coke. For your body to operate at its maximum efficiency, you need to ensure you stay well-hydrated: 2.5 litres for women and 3 litres for men. 30% of this will come from moisture rich foods. If you’re exercising, it’s no surprise your body will need more to replace the water lost via perspiration.
Please don’t think we’re teaching granny to suck eggs here. This probably isn’t new information for most of you, but it’s an important subject for us. Unless you’re an elite athlete, take these points and make them work for you. We all enjoy a drink and a bar of chocolate, but it’s simply getting that balance right.
If you would like help with your exercise or diet regime, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have an in-house nutritionist and run various 21-day programmes throughout the year.
If you’d like to talk to us about the classes we offer or book into a class, contact us now on 07707 891824 or email gravityfitnesslive.co.uk