Why Food Nutrition Is Important – My 5 Key Principles!

In today’s lifestyle it’s very easy to make fast and convenient unhealthy food choices, ladled with hundreds of calories and packed full of unpronounceable ingredients. (If you can’t say it you probably shouldn’t be eating it!) But do we ever stop to think about what these foods do to our body? In this post I’m going to take you through a few points, from my perspective, on why food nutrition is important to leading a healthier lifestyle as well as my 5 key principles to help you get started.

1. ‘You Can’t Out Train A Bad Diet!’

I often say nutrition is key and I’m a firm believer of it. Whether your goal is to trim down for that summer holiday just around the corner or you’re looking to add a couple of pounds of muscle mass to increase size and strength, the foods you choose to fuel your body with will impact on your results.

Hours of completing weekly workout routines can be hindered by not eating the right foods or even the right amount of food. You may have heard the phrase: ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’ and it’s true! Working out is the easy bit, it takes 1 hour out of your day. It’s the other 23 hours that you have to be aware of…allow me to break it down:

  • You exercise for 1 hour a day, leaving you with 23 hours.
  • Let’s say you get 8 hours of sleep per day, leaving you with 15 hours.
  • The average work shift is around 8/9 hours per day, leaving you with 6 hours.
  • Traveling to work there and back can take 1 hour per day, leaving you with 5 hours
  • That leaves you with 5 hours to eat, watch TV, socialise, whatever you may wish to do in your free time.

The point I’m trying to make is, working out for that 1 hour does not give you the go ahead to eat anything and everything thinking you’ve earned it. I say this because I’ve been that guy who used to think exactly like that, and as a result I saw slow progress. On the flip side, I’ve also been that guy who stuck to a nutrition plan and achieved results I never had before, which showed firsthand why food nutrition is important no matter how hard you workout!

2. Stay Hydrated!

Ensuring you drink plenty of water throughout the day is just as important, if not more important, than eating the correct foods. Taking on board at least 2 litres a day is a minimum with 3-4 litres being my recommendation if you’re regularly taking part in physical activities.

With the body being made up of around 70% water, staying hydrated has many benefits when it comes to keeping you healthy. Some of these benefits can include:

  • Weight Loss – drinking more water can help us eat less as it makes us feel full with thurst often mistaken for hunger.
  • Improves Digestion – taking on more water can help the body to breakdown food as well as flush out any waste products.
  • Provides Energy – when we’re feeling tired and a bit lethargic we could just be dehydrated…take on some water!
  • Improves Mood & Concentration – dehydration can lower our moods, reduce our focus and slow our reaction times.
  • Improves Performance – keeping hydrated before, during and after your workouts can help fight off fatigue and muscle cramps.

Don’t underestimate the power of being hydrated!

3. Avoid Added Sugars!

Now this is one that will probably take a little more effort from yourselves due to the fact that everything seems to have added sugar in it nowadays. However, when buying food products try to make a conscious effort to check the sugar content and opt for products with a lower sugar amount. You’ll be surprised with just how much sugar some foods have in them when you start looking and you’ll also get used to which products have a lower sugar content.

4. Calories In Vs Calories Out!

Losing weight and/or gaining weight simply comes down to – calories in vs calories out. All that means is if you consume more calories than you expend you will gain weight, if you consume the same calories as you expend your weight will stay the same and if you consume fewer calories than you expend you will lose weight.

So how many calories should you be eating? Unfortunately, everybody is different and it will require a little trial and error. What works for me may not necessarily work for you. However, there are many calorie calculators that you can use online that will help to give you a starting point based on a few factors e.g age, height and activity level.

Here’s one that’s free, I’ve used in the past and one that I trust —-> Grenade Fit Calorie Calculator

5. Track Your Food Intake!

Without actually tracking your food intake how can you possibly know if you’re eating enough or eating too much? Not only does logging your food intake allow you to see where you may be going right or wrong with your food choices, but it also makes you accountable. You’re also able to see trends in your eating habits e.g do you skip breakfast? Are there certain times in the day when you eat too much or maybe you’ll find something you could cut back on?

Just like calorie calculators, there are many food trackers available online as well as on your mobile as an app. The app that I use daily and the one you may have heard of before is MyFitnessPal. It’s free to use and easy way to start logging your food intake today.

Set Some Goals & Do It For You!

So there you have it, my 5 key principles to help you understand more about why food nutrition is important and to hopefully give you some guidance and information you may not have known or seen before. Remember:

  1. You can’t out train a bad diet! – it’s not just about putting in the effort during your workouts.
  2. Stay hydrated! – drink 2 litres a day at a minimum, 3-4 litres when working out.
  3. Avoid added sugars! – opt for foods with lower sugar content where possible.
  4. Calories in vs calories out! – use a calorie calculator to give you a starting point.
  5. Track your food intake! – use a food tracker and start being accountable for what you choose to eat.

If you only take 1 thing away from this post then I want you to set yourself some goals. Pick a couple of things you’re going to do differently or maybe it’s something you want to achieve. They could be as simple as proactively trying to drink more water each day to wanting to step on stage at a fitness competition. Whatever your goals do them for you, not for anybody else…now go smash them!

 

 

 

8 comments

Los of great information. 

I think the one that stands out the most is calories in vs out.  Regardless of the diet if you are not at a caloric deficit, you are not really gonna lose weight.  

I have recently cut back on sugar and the results are great.  Not only do you cut out the calories but you just feel better. no sugar highs and lows.  Thanks for the article.

I’m glad you found it helpful Mike!

Tom, thank you for sharing the 5 principles of food nutrition.   To be honest, I had never heard the phrase, “You can’t out train a bad diet.”   Yet, it makes a lot of sense = especially when you broke down how an average person spends 24 hours.   I have come to realize that I need to increase the amount of water that I drink each day and cut down on the amount of sugar that I eat each day.    I want to improve my athletic skills (as a long distance runner  and as an equestrian.)  Yet, my diet has been hampering those efforts.    Hopefully, that little phrase will assist me in remembering what I am trying to accomplish. 

Hi Sondra,

‘You can’t out train a bad diet’ is a phrase that’s stuck with me ever since I got into health and fitness properly. It’s so easy to over eat but at the same time easy to manage. All the best with your long distance running and equestrian goals too…I’m sure you’ll smash them! 

I agree with everything you have to say here. These are the foundational principles that, if followed, will help eliminate any weight problems as I have finally come to discover on my own. My fave version of principle one goes “you can’t outrun your fork” which always makes me laugh, envisioning a fork chasing me. The water principle here is the one I really need to work on still, so I thank you for the reminder. 

As far as tracking, that was SO KEY FOR ME!!!!! I hated it at first, but the apps make it so easy. Sure, up front you have to do a lot of kind of set up and get used to how they work, but once you get going, just tracking alone before I even started working on changing my diet helped me lose the weight since I could no longer deny what the real issue was: I was eating too many calories and not getting enough movement in! Duh!

My fave app is the LoseIt! app. Have you seen that one because I think it is worth recommending, too?

Thanks,

Desa

Hi Desa,

Tracking my food was the one thing that helped me the most too when it came to actually looking at what I was eating. I haven’t heard of ‘LoseIt’ but I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks!

Hi Tom,

I think that your post is right on track! Everyone seems to be busy with their lives and not have the time to prepare healthy meals. That means that people end up purchasing many of their weekly meals.

As you mentioned, the problem with a lot of purchased foods is that they contain heaps of sugar. It’s so important to read the labels and choose foods that contain less sugar than other similar foods.

Thank you for your tip about staying hydrated. The simple act of drinking more water, has so many benefits for weight loss as well as daily performance. This tip is one that I need to remember especially in the warmer weather or when working out.

I’m happy you found it helpful Suzie! 

Water is a big one and is something most people seem to struggle with. I used to get through a day barely drinking a litre of water, now I’m drinking 2-4 litres at a minimum. Try keeping a bottle of water with you at all times and sip regularly…you’ll soon get through more water without thinking about it 😊

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