Good nutrition: your best ally for performing at the gym? A question I will try to answer... A balanced diet is a positive influence on your fitness and your health; it's a fact. Do you still need to know what foods to eat?
Why should you eat a balanced diet?
Balanced nutrition will help you to feel good and to keep your body healthy and in good shape. But what does "balanced" really mean? Unlike what you may have heard, you can vary your indulgences between fruits, vegetables, fish, and sweets. The key is just not to abuse them ;-).
A balanced diet isn't built around one meal, but over several days. This is why there are no forbidden foods and a celebratory meal can be included.
Here, I'll decode the foods that will be the best allies for your health.
What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet provides all the necessary nutrients for your body to function properly.
- Proteins: they play a role in many of the body's functions, including building and repairing muscle. Roles which will interest most athletes. They should represent 11 to 15% of the energy value for the day.
- Carbohydrates: they provide energy for the body. They should represent 50 to 55% of the energy value for the day.
- Lipids: they are more commonly called "fats". Among other things, they provide energy, which can be used immediately or stored in fat cells. They should represent 30 to 35% of the energy value for the day.
And don't forget vitamins and minerals. These micro-nutrients do not provide any energy, but they have an essential role in the body's proper development and functioning. A balanced diet covers our needs for micro-nutrients, which the body cannot produce itself.
Hydration is also important for a balanced diet. Our body is composed of an average of 60% water, and our muscles are 73% water. Water plays a role in the functioning of our cells, but it is also essential for regulating body temperature and eliminating waste produced during exercise, for example.
How do I adopt a balanced diet?
A balanced diet isn't built around one meal, but over several meals: breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner all support your days of exercise.
For a healthy day, here are my nutritional recommendations:
- Starches (pasta, rice, semolina, potatoes, bread, etc.): at every meal to top off your energy
- Meat, fish, eggs: once or twice a day to provide protein.
- Fruits and vegetables: at least 5 per day, for their vitamins, fibre, and water.
- Dairy products: 3 per day for protein and calcium.
- Fatty foods should be limited without entirely removing them: they provide lipids and vitamins.
- Sugary products should be limited, but not necessarily eliminated. They are enjoyable, and we should remember that food is, above all, a pleasure (that we need to control ;-) )
- Water: can be drunk whenever you want
Now, you hold all the cards for staying in shape and performing well during your workout: it's your move!