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All about nutrition!

Understanding the relationship between nutrition and exercise is essential for maximising

performance, achieving fitness goals, and maintaining overall health.

Calorie intake

Understanding calorie intake is crucial for managing weight, supporting energy needs, and

achieving nutritional balance. Caloric balance is the relationship between the calories you

consume and the calories you burn. If you consume more calories than you expend, you'll likely gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, you'll likely lose weight. To maintain weight, the number of calories consumed should be approximately equal to the number of calories expended. The number of calories you need depends on various factors, such as age, gender, weight, height, body composition, metabolism, activity level, and overall health. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which represents the calories burned at rest, accounts for the majority of daily energy expenditure, with additional calories burned through physical activity and the thermic effect of food. Calorie needs vary widely among individuals based on factors such as age, gender, genetics, metabolism, activity level, and body composition. It is crucial to listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues, pay attention to how different foods make you feel, and adjust your calorie intake based on your unique needs and goals. Remember, you are unique, and your calorie needs reflect that.

Food groups and macros

Understanding the role of different food groups is crucial when working towards an exercise

goal. It supports energy needs, promotes muscle recovery, and optimizes performance.

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body, making them essential for fuelling exercise performance. Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as they provide sustained energy and essential nutrients. Make sure to include carbohydrates in your pre-workout meals and snacks to fuel your workouts effectively. Protein is necessary for muscle repair, growth, and recovery, making it particularly important for individuals engaged in regular exercise or strength training. Lean protein sources such as poultry, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, eggs, and dairy products should be included in your meals and snacks to support muscle health and optimize recovery after workouts. Ensure the distribution of protein intake evenly throughout the day to facilitate muscle protein synthesis.

Healthy fats play a crucial role in hormone regulation, energy metabolism, and overall health. Include sources of unsaturated fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish, in your diet to support cardiovascular health and provide sustained energy during exercise. Though fats are calorie-dense, they can contribute to feelings of satiety and help regulate appetite, making them a valuable addition to your meals and snacks. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that support overall health and recovery from exercise. Aim to include a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure you are meeting your micronutrient needs and supporting immune function, inflammation management, and recovery from oxidative stress. While not a traditional food group, proper hydration is essential for supporting exercise performance, regulating body temperature, and facilitating nutrient transport and waste removal. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially before, during, and after exercise, to maintain hydration levels and support optimal performance and recovery.

Calorie deficits and overloads

Understanding calorie deficits and surpluses (overloads) is crucial for managing weight,

supporting energy balance, and achieving fitness goals. A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn over a certain period. Creating a calorie deficit is often necessary for weight loss because it prompts your body to use stored fat to meet its energy needs. To achieve a calorie deficit, you can either decrease your calorie intake, increase your physical activity level, or do both. It is generally recommended to

create a moderate calorie deficit of 500 to 750 calories per day for gradual and sustainable

weight loss. This usually results in a loss of about 1 to 2 pounds per week. However, excessive calorie restriction or prolonged low-calorie intake can lead to nutrient deficiencies, slow down your metabolism, cause muscle loss, and have other negative health consequences.

A calorie surplus occurs when you eat more calories than you burn over a period. This is often necessary for those wanting to gain weight, especially if they want to increase muscle mass. To achieve a calorie surplus, you can increase your calorie intake by eating more nutrient-dense foods that provide a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Combining strength training and resistance exercise with a calorie surplus can help stimulate muscle growth and support the development of lean body mass. However, be careful not to create an excessive calorie surplus as it can lead to unwanted fat gain, especially if you're not physically active or make poor food choices. Always approach calorie surpluses with caution and focus on gradual, controlled increases in calorie intake to support muscle growth while minimising fat gain.

Government guidelines

The British government's nutrition guidelines are detailed in the "Eatwell Guide," which is

created and released by Public Health England (PHE). The manual provides a visual

representation and practical recommendations on how to attain a healthy, balanced diet that is backed by scientific evidence.

Healthy eating is what we love! But have a balance and allow yourself a cheat day or two!

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