How Can You Improve Your Fitness and Nutrition?

How Can You Improve Your Fitness and Nutrition?

Many people find that breaking their ultimate health and fitness goals into smaller, specific and achievable mini-goals helps them stay on track. This is especially important when it comes to diet and exercise.

It is also a good idea to eat or drink something, preferably carbohydrates, within an hour of your workout. This will help keep your energy up and may even allow you to work out at a higher intensity level for longer periods of time.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Eating a well-balanced diet fitness and nutrition is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and lean protein.

A balanced diet provides you with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to keep your body functioning properly. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Eating the right foods before and after exercise can help you feel more energized and improve your performance. Fuel your body with complex carbohydrates (such as those found in beans, lentils, and peas) and protein before you workout to provide energy for your muscles. For a post-workout snack, reach for a yogurt parfait or a smoothie containing both carbohydrates and protein. Avoid eating too much fat, as this can slow you down.

Get Enough Sleep

The importance of sleep is often overlooked, but it’s just as vital for health and fitness as diet and exercise. Getting enough quality rest helps your body repair and recover, making you feel more energetic and improving performance.

When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormones leptin and ghrelin that suppress appetite stop working. This leads to overeating and craving unhealthy foods. It also affects your insulin sensitivity, which makes it harder for your body to absorb glucose from food. This can lead to weight gain and sluggishness that makes it hard to get fit.

Many elite athletes, including tennis star Serena Williams and NBA player LeBron James, aim for eight hours of sleep each night. That’s because sleep is important for keeping your metabolism and energy levels healthy, ensuring that your memory, reaction time and decision-making are at their best, and helping you perform optimally in the gym.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important for all activities and especially when exercising. It helps maintain optimal muscle function, flushes out waste and lubricates joints. It also aids in breathing by moistening the air and makes it easier to absorb oxygen. It’s also essential for maintaining energy levels, preventing cramping and improving mood.

Getting the right amount of water to drink can be challenging. The general recommendation is to consume 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, but the fluid intake you need depends on your size, activity level and climate.

Before exercise, hydrate with about 2 to 3 cups of water or a mix of water and electrolytes (such as sports drinks) that includes sodium and carbohydrates. This will help ensure you arrive at your workout fully hydrated-neither hyperhydrated with an excess of body weight or hypohydrated at a deficit. This is known as arriving at euhydration, which can improve performance.

Get Enough Nutrients

A healthy, well-balanced diet packed with fruits, vegetables and lean proteins helps support muscle function, the central nervous system and immune health. It also provides the nutrients you need to fuel your workouts.

Athletes who eat healthful foods may find that they have greater endurance and strength no matter what their training program is. In fact, even weekend warriors can take their exercise to the next level by eating right.

Carbohydrates provide quick energy to muscles and can help fuel high-intensity and long-duration exercise. It’s best to consume carbs at regular intervals throughout the day, especially before a workout. You can do this by eating a carb-rich snack, like a slice of whole wheat toast with jam or jelly, or by drinking a sports drink made with carbohydrates.

In addition to carbohydrates, protein is important for muscle function and recovery. You can get enough protein from a variety of foods, including eggs, chicken breasts and milk. Leafy greens and berries are good sources of nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide in the body to improve blood flow.

Exercise Regularly

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or pound mile after monotonous mile on a treadmill to reap the benefits of exercise. Even just 30 minutes of moderate activity on most, preferably all, days of the week is enough to improve your fitness level and reduce your risk of disease.

Make it a habit by scheduling your workouts on a calendar or diary and consider joining an exercise class with a friend. People who exercise with others are more likely to stick to a routine.

If you’re planning to work out, eat something with easily digested carbohydrates, such as fruit, about an hour before your session to give yourself a boost of energy. Avoid fatty foods, which can slow digestion and pull oxygen-rich blood from your muscles. Then, hydrate with small sips of water during your workout. Remember to slow down and listen to your body, especially if you’re new to exercise.

Make Exercise a Habit

The best way to improve your fitness and nutrition is to make exercise a habit. The most effective ways to make exercise a regular habit include planning, scheduling, and motivating yourself.

Plan workouts in your calendar and set reminders so you don’t miss them. Find a workout buddy to help keep you motivated.

Start slow. Remember the “no pain, no gain” philosophy? You’re much more likely to stick with exercise when you don’t feel like you’re pushing yourself too hard. Start with easy activities, such as walking or dancing, and slowly increase the length and intensity of your workouts.



Hydration is key to peak performance. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water daily and drink more during workouts. Make sure you’re getting enough micronutrients by eating a variety of foods and considering a multivitamin supplement. Finally, reward yourself for reaching a fitness goal — even if it’s as small as a walk after work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

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