Demmy James - In a constantly changing world full of new research and technology, we seem to have a large portion of society still seeking to benefit from health and fitness with the thought of short term goals. These goals would be something like losing 8 pounds of fat in 10 days, or increasing your muscle size in 4 weeks. But what happens after this nearly impossible task has been completed? The sad truth is that people go back to their old ways since their focus was for short term benefits.
You don’t have to keep going on this roller coaster ride full of ups and downs if you focus solely on developing a healthier lifestyle. A change in your lifestyle means you are setting a long term goal that basically never ends. This can be accomplished through proper dieting that is easy to follow, and then functional training. Let’s take a look at these and see exactly what makes them beneficial for the body.
Proper Dieting Doesn’t Have to be Complicated
Approximately 70 percent of all benefits accomplished through dieting are achieved through the fundamentals of proper nutrition. This applies to everything from losing fat to increasing lean muscle gains. Without a proper nutrition program, you will most definitely fail, so to prevent this you need to know a little bit about the basics.
When dieting for fat loss, you want to have more calories being used by your body, than you have being sent in. This is referred to as a calorie deficit, which is when you reduce your calorie intake anywhere from 200-1,000 calories. The exact amount varies from one person to another, and it’s nearly impossible to give a specific amount anyways, even though the bmr calculator can be of huge help.
However, you always start off at a 200-300 calorie deficit before reducing your daily requirement further. Then, you want to eat more vegetables and proteins in place of simple carbs high in sugar. One of the best tips possible would be eliminating most of these carbs that you eat in the evening.
Low Sugar Intake is the Key to Dieting
Excessively consuming sugar causes fat, and knowing this, we still love to eat large amounts of sugar in all different forms. The reason is because our brain becomes addicted to sugar, and once this stage is reached, it becomes quite difficult to reverse; but it’s possible. In order to counter this, you need to know what sugar does to your body.
When you consume sugar, a hormone is released into your bloodstream known as insulin. Insulin carries the sugar to the areas it needs to go for conversion into energy. This is a good thing and the process runs smoothly. However, things get hectic when you eat too much sugar over long periods of time.
Insulin is released to match the amount of sugar being consumed so that it’s transported properly, but anything unusable gets put into your fat cells as reserves, thus increasing the amount of fat in your body. This could put you at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even hypertension. Eating sugar excessively will possibly cause you to have insulin resistance, which is when your body becomes immune to the effects of insulin, craves more sugar, and eventually insulin may no longer be produced naturally. A very bad situation, but it’s possibly 99 percent preventable. The 1 percent would refer to people with medical conditions.
Switch out High Sugary Foods
The easiest thing to do is to switch out sugary foods and utilize a bi-weekly “cheat day” plan. You probably already know that most desserts contain a lot of sugar, but the primary area of focus would be processed foods. Processed basically means they have been altered to have a better shelf life, and the nutrients left behind are basically sugar. Consume primarily whole foods if possible and minimize the amount of food being consumed from boxes, cans, and plastic containers. You not only eliminate sugar, but also a lot of harmful chemicals.
Flavored liquids are also a major problem since they are packed full of sugar. You need to minimize or just eliminate the consumption of soda and other similar drinks. Replace them with water. You can add fruit slices into your water for taste and extra nutrient intake. Grains don’t necessarily need to be taken completely away, but you should consume them sparingly each day.
Cheat days are when you allow yourself to eat more carbs that day. The reason behind this is because it helps your metabolism in boosting its fat burning potential. However, performing these cheat days means you still eat healthy carbs such as whole grains and fruits. Don’t get carried away with snacks and desserts.
Functional Training and Cardio
Although nutrition is important, you still need to be actively moving. Functional training is when you perform exercises that increase the strength in your joints, muscles, and bones. Included with this is allowing your joints to become more flexible to perform their full range of motion. All of these carry over into real world application such as when you lift a box; you are a lot less likely to injure your back. Functional training allows this to happen by doing exercises such as hack squats or deadlifts, which are movements we do quite often.
Cardio shouldn’t be left out of this type of training. You have to exercise to the point of causing your heart to elevate in order to increase the amount of calories being burned for fat loss. Plus, you need to do this so your heart and lungs are getting a workout into, which can drastically decrease the chances of any medical issues.
Take the Information and Turn it into a Lifestyle
Everything presented to you helps prevent the longer timeframe of reaching your health goals by eliminating the need for “fad” diets that offer primarily short term goals. Simply eat healthier foods such as vegetables and protein, and lower the amount of carbohydrates consumed. Slightly decrease calorie intake and then do some physical training at least three days a week. Your body will be much happier once you do these easy fundamentals.
Demmy James is a fitness buff as well as strength and conditioning specialist. He is also a content contributor for Muscle & Strength.