Your body is yearning to get lively as it is designed for movement, but, if allowed, it will begin to seize up, fatten up and generally degenerate. So, whatever your age, moderate exercise can help with your wellness as it builds and strengthens your muscles, improves skeletal density & keeps osteoporosis at bay, gets your heart pumping, helps shift plaque from your arteries, helps mobilise toxins trapped in fat cells, uses up stored fat reducing stored weight, reduces feelings of depression, lessens fatigue, improves skin tone and colour and there are so many more amazing benefits, both physical and psychological.
Exercise, however, is just one part of the equation. You may have heard this before, or you may hear it for the first time, in which case you may well be surprised, but the fact is – your health as well as the success of your weight management effort is 80% down to your nutrition and only 20% down to exercise. Therefore, poor fuel will equal poor performance and athletes know this all too well.
To maintain or achieve a fit body, the quantity and quality of the fuel you use as energy affects not just your size (weight as well as overall body composition: ratio of your fat tissue v your muscle tissue), but massively impacts your overall health. Just like a car, good fuel burns clean while bad fuel leaves toxins behind when it burns. However, unlike car, these toxins stay in our body and may cause disease. Fast food and junk stresses the body with toxic deposits.
So, increased activity must be combined with correctly balanced, optimal nutrition. The reward is an improved long-term health. Exercise naturally stresses the body cells resulting in muscle damage and cell destruction due to free radicals, so body needs additional nutrients for cell repair and recovery. In a healthy body, with every second that passes, around 5, 000, 000 (yes, 5 MILLION cells every second) die through wear and tear. These are immediately replaced through the body’s continual cell division process.
However, a poor nutrient supply coupled with intense training puts pressure on this process, because food is divided between all other bodily functions too, and this can have a long-term negative effect on your body and health.
What happens when you exercise?
When you exercise, the stressing of the muscles causes muscle tissue to break down, which is known as “catabolism”. The body then needs to rebuild the muscle fibres, known as “anabolism”. Both processes use energy, which must come in the right balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates as fuel. And let’s not forget an all mighty water too. But exercise requires more than just fuel for energy, many micronutrients too are used up in the process. To help minimise oxidative stress, neutralise free radicals and top up body’s needs for vitamins and minerals, you must ensure a good, clean diet with an addition of high quality pharmaceutical grade supplementation for the best results. No wonder athletes take their nutrition so seriously, but this advice is not just for the athletes, but for anyone who exercises (or not).
Take nutrition seriously
When we exercise, our nutritional needs for macro and micro nutrients are even higher. We need more protein as well as all other nutrients. That is a reason why more and more people use post recovery workout smoothies that are designed to give our body all it needs to recover quickly after exercise. There are not that many professional athletes these days who would go without a recovery shake after their training or a game. Same goes for a regular gym goer with a good knowledge of recovery nutrition. For best results, window of opportunity to consume a post recovery shake is within 30 minutes of finishing a workout and your post recovery shake should contain not just protein, but also vitamins, minerals and fibre.
I personally use Herbalife24, a cutting edge range that many professionals use and I use either Rebuild Strength after a strength workout, whilst there is also a Rebuilt Endurance after an endurance/cardio workout like running. Both are perfectly put together with the highest quality of ingredients to give body the best chance of recovery depending on a type of workout that body has just been exposed to.
Of course, it goes without saying – we need to eat well throughout the day: from the moment we wake up, our breakfast is crucial as it sets the pace for our metabolism. We need to eat at the right time and balance before exercise, fuel well during as well as after a workout and eat well for the rest of the day. The truth is, gyms are full of people who exercise way too much and are, at the same time, frustrated with the results they are getting. Main reason – their nutrition is not balanced right.
In my career I have met many men and women who do a lot of exercise and have a lot of muscle popping up all over their body, however, underneath all that muscle is still body fat and visceral fat in the amounts that still puts them under risk. This revelation to them always came as a shock. It can be a combination of factors such as: too many calories, not enough protein (or too much animal protein), too much fat, too many carbohydrates, not enough nutrients, not eating in the right frequency to stimulate better hormonal production and work towards, not against, their metabolism, not eating clean…
How to activate your body?
Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy. This is really crucial as you will only continue doing something if you enjoy it. Regular exercise helps to increase and sustain an efficient fat-burning metabolism.
Many choose AEROBIC exercises such as jogging, swimming, walking, cycling, as they are less strenuous, sustained form of exercise. Aerobic exercise helps reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol, supports cardiovascular health and helps stabilise blood sugar levels. The key to a fat-burning exercise routine is to maintain aerobic activity 3 times a week, ideally 30-40 minutes at a time. Doing less than this will not encourage body to use stored fat and doing more can over work and stress the body.
Fat Loss – Muscle Gain Connection
Muscle fibres are more dense than fat tissue, so, when eating right and exercising – don’t be surprised if you actually put some weight on – your clothes should be fitting better as muscle takes less space than fat. This naturally occurs as the stored fat is used as fuel and lean muscle tissue is gradually formed. We have a way of tracking this down and is a great way to see body composition changing as we move away from sole focus on weight alone.
Exercising at High Intensity
Exercising at high intensity has been proven to have tremendous effects on our fitness level, rate at which we burn fat for fuel, increase our metabolism, build muscle and more. There are lost of high intensity workouts, so do check if there are any in your area and, if not, there are many HIIT workouts that can be done at home. I pick one and do almost each morning for no longer than 15-30 minutes. It does not take a lot of time or much equipment, but starts your metabolism and puts body into a fat burning mode. Just build a habit of it and make time for it. I usually get up 30 minutes earlier than I used to in order to fit it in, otherwise, as the day progresses – it becomes more difficult to find time.
I hope this has given you some inspiration to start exercising because it is incredibly important for your health and ageing, but also, it has brought to your intention the importance of eating right too.
So, whatever exercise you choose to do, do not neglect your body’s needs for optimal nutrition. If you are not sure where to start, getting a health coach is a great idea to get your personalised plan that works for you. Do feel free to reach out to me if you need help getting started or have any questions. Also, my How Healthy Are You free online test is a great place to start and see what are the areas where you need to improve so you can get the best outcome and results out of your exercise efforts.
Wishing you all the very best with your exercise as well as eating healthy efforts! You only get one body, so start today, it is never too late to start a healthy and active lifestyle, whatever your age.