“Consume excess calories and you have to counterbalance them,” says Sara Haas, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “And it’s hard to get enough exercise in to undo the calories you’ll get in a double cheeseburger with French fries and a milk shake.”
Here are 5 reasons you need to align your nutrition with your fitness goals.
1. You’re not a professional athlete.
You just can’t justify a 1,300 calorie, high fat meal. You won’t make up for it tomorrow. Instead calculate how many calories you’re actually burning in comparison to the ones you’re taking in. “The majority of people are not serious athletes, meaning they don’t require the same type and amount of fuel as the pros,” says Haas. “Eating a calorically dense, high-carbohydrate meal or snack makes sense for a competitive cyclist about to endure a 100-mile road race, but it doesn’t make sense for someone who is about to take a two-mile jog around the block.”
Schedule in your cheat meals so that they don’t blow your fitness goals.
2. You’ll max out too soon if you’re overdoing it with the wrong foods.
To make significant changes you need intense exercise. You won’t have the physical endurance to push through tough workouts if your nutrition is lacking. Simple sugars burn too quickly and you won’t have the needed endurance. Also, according to Health.com, if you’re consuming high-fat foods in the evening, they could be disrupting your sleep, — which will leave you tired at the gym, if you even make it there.
You’ll need a combination of carbohydrates and protein to recover following a workout, as well as adequate carbs beforehand, too. Aim for 30 percent of your diet from protein, 40 percent from carbs and 30 percent from fat.
3. On the flipside, you won’t have the energy if you’re not eating enough.
A diet low in carbs and/calories is just as harmful to your workout plan as one that’s high in fat. A very restrictive eating plan, paired with hardcore exercise, could leave you leaning on muscle mass for energy. Not getting enough fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D, and essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, in particular leaves you unable to produce energy and grow muscle. You need fat and protein to build and maintain muscle.
Also, poor food choices make you feel sluggish and less likely to exercise.
5. Forget six pack abs.
Women tend to gain weight in the hips and thighs, while men pack it on around their midsection. So it doesn’t matter how much you work these areas, it will be covered by a layer of fat. Keeping your diet in check will help because to become truly toned, you’ll need to build muscle and burn more calories than you’re consuming at the same time.
6. You could get sick — or hurt.
Very restrictive diets like low-carb and low-fat mentally and physically draining and even have a negative impact on heart health. Following a chronic low-carb diet may lead to micronutrient deficiencies and increased inflammation throughout the body, which both make you more susceptible to injury. Studies have found that not taking in an adequate amount of healthy fats can raise your chances for overuse injuries (such as stress fractures and tendonitis) and it doesn’t allow your body to protect itself in order to stay healthy. Pair a low-fat diet with intense exercise which can lower your immunity even further.