Stay fit with the right nutrition | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Stay fit with the right nutrition

THERE ARE MANY myths about strength training and nutrition that still mislead a lot of people. Unfortunately, the more that they are tricked into believing these false claims, the more distant their fitness goals become. They eventually grow more disillusioned that their efforts are not paying off. The Right Bite Nutrition Centre sheds some light on these persistent myths to help people with their workout and strength training. Maria Abi Hanna, Dietitian for Right Bite, said that proper nutrition is a crucial component of physical training.

"Athletes need to consume more calories than they use to gain weight. A common misconception among athletes is that the best way to 'bulk up' is to eat a high-protein diet. Although sufficient protein intake is essential when you are increasing muscle mass, most of the energy needed to fuel muscle growth comes from an adequate calorie intake from carbohydrates and fats," Maria said.

Top tips to help you stay fit:

Eat regularly and be consistent

. Try to schedule your meal times and eat every day at roughly the same time. Eat every 3 - 4 hours and avoid late dinners.

Drink enough water

. Drink about half a liter of water 2-3 hours before exercise and about 1- cup of fluid every 15-20 minutes during exercise.

. Restrict your intake of caffeinated and sugary beverages such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices.

Enjoy a balanced diet:

. Carbohydrates: Avoiding carbohydrates in your diet will cause your body to break down protein that is found in your muscles for energy. Generally, carbohydrates should make up 45-60% of your daily caloric intake. Choose more often complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and sweet potato; and avoid simple sugars such as honey, white flour, sugar, candies and sodas.

. Protein: Choose more lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast, turkey, fish, salmon, tofu, egg whites and peanut butter. Having extra protein does not help with building muscles, but strength training does. Generally, sufficient protein intake can be met through diet alone and the use of protein shakes or supplements is not needed to bulk up. Excess protein may put your kidneys under stress by making them work harder in order to get rid of the toxic build-up of protein by-products.

. Fat: Fat is a major fuel for muscle activity and an important component of a healthy diet. Go for healthy fats such as raw, unsalted nuts and seeds, avocado, canola oil and olive oil. Avoid unhealthy fats such as butter, ice cream and ghee and choose low-fat dairy products over full fat goods.

Pre- and post-exercise snacks

. Pre-exercise snacks provide energy to your muscles during training and help encourage them to bulk up whereas post-exercise snacks help you restore your energy levels.

A few good examples of pre-exercise snacks are cottage cheese and strawberries or celery sticks and low-fat peanut butter, and for post-exercise snacks, you can include chocolate milk, low-fat yogurt and fruit salad or Greek yogurt with granola.

. Have a full-sized meal about three hours before you work out followed by a lighter meal an hour before your workout session to ensure proper digestion.

Work out

. Strength training is crucial when it comes to muscle gain.

. Plan a consistent and balanced exercise routine with proper techniques weekly.

. Both over-training and too little training can affect the muscles negatively. It's the combination of work and rest that will lead to the best results.

. Make rest and recovery a priority. Sleeping eight hours a night is important.

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