I love the quote, “Exercise is your king. Nutrition is your queen. Together they make the perfect kingdom.” This couldn’t be more true. Many people are under the assumption that as soon as they begin exercising, they’re going to achieve all their fitness goals and rock the image they desire. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy – nutrition is just as important. There’s no point in exercising for hours on end every day if you’re going to have a junk diet.
It’s also important to remember that the nutrition needs for women are completely different from men, so in saying that, here’s the best nutrition advice for women to help reach those fitness goals.
Get the Basic Exercise Requirements
To begin, you need to make sure you have a proper exercise plan laid out. The American Heart Association states that you need to do a minimum of half an hour exercise/physical activity at least 5 times a week.
Any kind of exercise is fine as long as it gets the heart pumping. Find ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life to get the most out of your healthy lifestyle. This could be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
All Nutrients are Important – Macros vs. Micros
To really get the best nutrients for women while working out, you’ve got to understand the difference between macro and micronutrients. These are terms that are readily thrown around in the health world, and to ensure you get your nutrition and fitness program right, it’s important to differentiate between the two. Your macros include proteins, carbs and fats. These are the things that give you the right amount of energy to go about your daily life. Your macros are measured in calories.
Your micronutrients are the all the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are essential to living a healthy life. They may not provide our bodies with the necessary energy like macros, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Basically, without the right micronutrients, your overall health will suffer.
Micronutrients are essential to many different bodily functions; for example, the transportation, recovery and conversion of energy that’s provided by your macro intake would be impossible without the right micronutrients.
In a nutshell, determine the right amount of macros and micros for your body, because they only work effectively if consumed together. This macro calculator will help guide you.
Up Your Protein Intake
Ideally, you want to be aiming at hitting 40% protein every day. If you’re working out, protein is more essential than you think. Most importantly, protein helps build muscle tissue. When you work out, your muscles are put under a lot of strain, and it’s the protein that helps create new muscle fibers. Any muscle tissue that’s damaged is also repaired by protein.
Additionally, your protein intake will boost your physical power and energy levels for your workouts to come.
Protein is often associated with bodybuilding, but believe it or not it’s some of the best nutrition for women. It will help build body mass, but it won’t necessarily bulk you up, because to lose weight and to tone up, protein is critical.
Don’t Skip on the Carbs
Carbs are usually considered to be ‘evil’ in the fitness world. They’re not! Your body needs carbs. Again, 40% is the number you want to aim for, unless your nutritionist or doctor tells you otherwise.
It’s the carbs that provide you with the energy you need. If you consume carbs prior to working out, you’ll essentially burn them as fuel, and that will keep you going!
Vitamins and Minerals
Your vitamins and minerals, aka your micronutrients, also come into play during exercise. Like your macros, the vitamins and minerals you consume help with energy production and also muscle contraction.
If you have a deficiency in these nutrients, it could affect your ability to exercise to your full potential. For example, too little iron in your system which could be caused from a vitamin C deficiency may result in you becoming easily fatigued while exercising.
Additionally, electrolytes also play an important role. Sodium for example helps maintain a healthy fluid balance, but if your sodium intake is too low, it could lead to suffering from muscle cramps during exercise.
Stay Hydrated, Drink Water
Water is a nutrient, and it’s one of the most critical ones to any kind of exercise. When you exercise, you sweat, and sweat together with heavy breathing cause a loss of fluids which then needs to be replaced.
Many people don’t realize the true importance of water and remaining hydrated. It helps keep your heart rate at a healthy level, which in turn assists in regulating the body’s temperature.
Too much of a fluid loss can increase your heart rate and your body temperature to dangerous levels, so drinking plenty of water is critical.
Your aim with proper nutrition and exercise should be to realize your fitness and health goals in a safe way. Remember no health journey is going to be attained overnight, and mastering the best nutrition for women during exercise will take time, but you’ll find that the proper balance has far more benefits to your health besides weight loss.