You may recently have become inspired to ditch the unhealthy habits and become a better version of yourself. In this post, we’ll provide you with sound advice from the professionals on how to get fit and healthy and more importantly, how to stick to it.
Get your Diet Right
When it comes to showcasing your worth, everything starts with a healthy diet. By balancing your nutrient intake and avoiding unhealthy food items, you can fuel a fit and muscular body that’s capable of surviving even Premier League football.
But what does this mean in practical terms? For the purposes of training and performance, aspiring athletes will need to consume additional calories to sustain their energy levels (without increasing their saturated fat or sugar intake). Instead, you’ll need to consume plenty of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. 70% of your daily calories should come from foods that are high in carbohydrates if you’re to optimise your physical performance.
To achieve this, you’ll need to create a daily meal plan that is nutrient rich and inclusive of all the sustenance that you need. Interestingly, you can tailor your plan to include small but frequent meals throughout the day, depending on your schedule and the nature of your exercise regime. Eating between four and six meals is recommended for most athletes, as this maintains a high metabolism and high levels of performance.
Regardless of your precise plan, it’s important to kick-start your day with lean and high protein foods such as oats (in porridge), fruit, eggs, turkey bacon and soy products. Items like bananas are particularly effective, as they deliver a slow release of energy throughout the day and negate the need for excess snacking. When eating in the middle of the day, aim for a light and low calorie option that is heavy with vegetables, fruit and a small portion of pasta.
When training, you’ll need to consume this meal approximately three hours before and refrain from adding anything heavy to the dish.
Towards the end of your day, you’ll need to focus on developing a well-balanced and relatively light meal that is rich in protein, healthy fats and most importantly, fibre. Lean protein like turkey, oven baked fish and chicken represent excellent choices, while wholewheat pasta is also a decent option.
Also, try to avoid eating your final meal of the day too late, as this will usually leave your feeling bloated and is a decidedly unhealthy practice.
Build an Exercise Regime
With a carefully refined diet and eating plan in place, you can begin to combine this with a viable exercise regime to build muscle, increase endurance and develop a healthy lifestyle.
This is far easier said than done, of course, as adhering to a continued exercise regime demands motivation, discipline and a clear understanding of your underlying objectives.
So, here are some healthy living and exercise tips that will enable you to hone your physical capabilities and potential as an athlete:
- Understand that a good nights’ sleep is imperative
Make no mistake, proper sleep is crucial if you’re to get the most out of your training and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Not only does sleep help your muscles to recover after daily training, but it also helps you to optimise your levels of mental sharpness and focus for the following day. This can also help you to avoid mental disorders such as anxiety, stress and even depression.
- Moderate your alcohol intake
While it’s not impossible for athletes to consume alcohol, many fitness fanatics avoid it completely. This is because alcohol contains empty calories and can disrupt your healthy eating plan, while sustained consumption can also cause wider medical and performance issues. Similarly, you may want to abstain from all carbonated and sugary beverages too, as these drinks are extremely unhealthy and do little but increase your sugar intake.
- Set goals and develop a schedule and method that optimises results
When it comes to exercise, you’ll need to develop a manageable and realistic schedule that can be easily sustained over time. This means combining your muscular and cardio workouts with the existing elements of your everyday life, so you’ll need to prioritise your time and select times when you can exercise without distraction. You’ll also need to identify a methodology that suits you, both in terms of the nature of your regime and whether to introduce a competitive element by training with a partner.
- Prioritise cardio sessions
It’s crucial that you stay lean while building up endurance and stamina. Cardio sessions are crucial to achieving these objectives, so should definitely be given priority over muscle workouts when starting out. Aim to complete high intensity cardio workouts of around 30 minutes each time, increasing the duration and pace of your sessions as you get stronger. Then, you can begin to incorporate muscle workouts that increase strength and help to condition your core.
Optimise Performance for Competitive Sports
As you begin to increase your fitness levels, you’ll no doubt want to get involved with team sports and competitions such as a local five-a-side football team.
Here, your healthy eating plan and exercise regime should both be developed with a view to enhancing your performance on the field of play, regardless of the level that you compete or your long-term career objectives.
Even with the healthiest diet and most refined exercise regime there are still some additional steps that you can take to ensuring that you peak during game time. These include:
- Remember the importance of warming up: We’ve already touched on the importance of your meal choice (and timing) ahead of competitive action, but warming up effectively is even more important. This increases your heart rate steadily, increasing your blood flow to the muscles and ensuring that your body is prepared for intense and strenuous aerobic activity. You should do cool down to relax your muscles after exercise, whether you’re training or competing against others.
- Focus on mental and physical preparation: While physical preparation is key to optimum performance levels, it’s also crucial that you’re relaxed and focused on the job in hand. So, in addition to enjoying a decent nights’ sleep and a consistent sleeping pattern, you’ll also need to take time away from the pursuit of your goal and spend this relaxing with your friends and family. Developing a more docile and non-competitive hobby is also advisable, as this allows the mind time to rest and recharge after the heat of battle.