Health & Fitness: Nutrition – What You Need To Know

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NUTRITION TIPS

Health & Fitness: Many of us do our regular cardio exercises or push weights and the results are coming, but not fast enough. So, what are we doing wrong asks Lucas Kohlberg.

Basically, losing or maintaining bodyweight when working out comes down to your intake of calories (Kcal). If you consume more Kcal than your body burns, you will gain bodyweight. If you consume fewer Kcal than your body burns, you will lose bodyweight.

There are diets that tell you what to eat and what not to eat, but what is really important is to understand the facts about the three macro-nutrients. First, the carbohydrates, the energy for your mind and body. Examples are pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, fruits. Second, proteins; your building blocks – such as chicken, meat, fish, milk and eggs. Third: fats, also a source of energy (olive oil, butter, nuts and avocados, for example). You need all three macro nutrients to function properly, but the key question is how much of each and when to eat them.

Simpler than it sounds: Depending on your goals, you can estimate how much of each you will need. It might sound a bit complicated at first, but stay with me. Find out your basal metabolic rate (Bmr) – there are many good metabolic rate calculators that will tell you how much you burn every day. Let’s take myself as an example: I am 35 years old, weigh 90 kilos and do five 60-minute training sessions every week. Remember, the more active you are, the more Kcal you burn. If I do a test, my metabolic-rate result is around 2400 Kcal. If I want to increase my bodyweight I should eat 250-400 Kcal more each day. If I want to lose bodyweight I should eat around 250 to 500 fewer Kcal each day. If I want to maintain my weight, I need to eat around 2400 Kcal per day.

My current aim is to lose five kilos, so I need to learn what my type of food contains in term of Kcal. Take two to three weeks to learn about food and Kcal, then you can always do a rough estimation. Keep your meals balanced and varied, and you can’t go wrong.

The right balance: If you like your carbohydrates (which most of us do) take 60 per cent of your total Kcal per day, add 25 per cent from protein and 15 per cent from fat or choose from 40 per cent carbs, 40 per cent protein and 20 per cent fat. You can play around with the carbs and protein but try not to eat more than 30 per cent fat. If you want to lose weight make sure you get carbohydrates that give you long term energy like oats, rice, pasta, couscous, high-bran cereals and wholegrain bread. For optimum health, select a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. This helps to ensure an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.

Another important thing is also to take in the carbohydrates earlier in the day (breakfast, lunch) when you need energy and focus more on protein with salad and vegetables in the evening when you need less energy.

What about alcohol: One bottle of wine is around 750 Kcal, a litre of beer is around 350 Kcal. If you really want to lose weight, sorry, but you should not drink more than a couple of glasses per week. Your Kcal should come from regular food to give you the necessary energy and building blocks.

REMEMBER:

1. Nutrition is as important as your workout to get in shape and maintain your health. Pay equal attention to both.

2. The main thing is to eat what you like, but to keep it balanced and depending on your goals, keep the portions more or less right. If you eat lean you can eat much more each day without exceeding your daily Kcal level.

3. You need all three macro-nutrients, but have a good breakfast and lunch with a higher proportion of carbs, but reverse in the second part of the day.

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