While the effectiveness of fad diets continues to fail, there are some approaches to creating a balanced, nutrition menu such as the clean eat diet, that serve both athletes and health-fitness seekers very well. This method of focusing on clean eating habits throughout the week is one of the most effective nutrition & gym tips I can suggest. Whether your goal is sports performance, weight loss, leaning down, or building muscle, learning to eat properly and in accordance with your goals is a key component to your success.
It’s a common misconception that modifying your eating habits only applies to those who desire weight loss, but performance related goals require the same or more nutrition planning. In fact, most high performance athletes are fairly lean, and if your sport requires speed or quickness, losing weight by following a healthy, well balanced nutrition plan may improve your performance.
Learning the principles of the eat clean diet means creating a lifestyle instead of simply following a diet. You’ll adjust these principles to your individual needs and begin to lean down, lose weight, improve your performance, or all three! Eating clean means consuming high quality foods in their most natural state that are basically free of all unnatural additives. Foods that are free of sugar, hydrogenated fats, trans-fats and other unnecessary ingredients are all considered ‘clean’. At first glance eating clean might sound boring, but if you’re creative and learn to use spices, you’ll be surprised at all the menu of healthy and good tasting choices you can create.
The reason eating clean is so crucial to having a lean body, performance, and good health is explained when you consider your body on a cellular level. Invisible to the naked eye, microscopic cells work together collectively to perform all the large scale functions of a healthy body. Gross motor function, digestion, and even respiration is the result of groups of microscopic cells working together to perform functions we can discern with the visible eye. Eating low quality foods can prevent cells from receiving the necessary nutrients and reduces overall performance. You don’t feel outward physical effects from eating one unhealthy meal, but the effect accumulates and will manifest over time if you continue to ingest poor quality foods. For example, cell membranes may become damaged, losing their ability to transfer much needed proteins and waste into and out of the cell.
As more and more cells function on a limited capacity, various indicators act as ‘warning signs’ alerting you to the problem. You may experience symptoms such as a lethargy, regular headaches, a cold, or the flu. Atherosclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks are more serious conditions that take longer to manifest. Unfortunately, these life threatening conditions are becoming common health concerns for more than half of America’s population.
Is it natural for more than half of an entire country to routinely develop these conditions? I feel the reason these conditions occur is because of prolonged depravation of appropriate nutrients to the cells in our body. The symptoms, both minor and major are signs that your cells aren’t able to do their job. Undoubtedly, genetic dispositions and abnormalities can cause disease, but the most common diseases in America today are directly related to obesity that develops from poor lifestyle choices, including poor nutrition (the “American Diet”).
There is a substantial body of research indicating that the fast food, deep fried, sugary snack staples we Americans know and love are the cause of the downward trends in our nations health. The principles of clean eating are almost the complete opposite to the typical “American Diet”. Fast food, doughnuts, ho-ho’s, greasy hot dogs, white bread with no substance, all of these things have little to no nutritional value, yet even though they feel horrible, lethargic, and fat, they continue to eat more and more of the same junk.
It’s a well known fact that numerous medical studies site diet, exercise, and a healthy body weight as preventative measures for the degenerative diseases I previously described. Scientific studies prove that clean eating will build healthy cells and therefore a healthy body. Plus when you eat right, you will feel better! Pretend your body is an ultra performance sports car, and the food you eat is the gasoline, oil, and all that other important stuff that fuels the car. What type of fuel do you put into a Lamborghini or Bentley….I’m guessing it’s not going to be unleaded 86 octane. The car won’t perform well unless you fill it with the highest-grade gasoline. Well, your body works the same way and it won’t function effectively or look good if you feed it inferior quality foods.
The basics of eating clean are using a few simple rules for most of your meals each day. If you simply follow the rule of consuming a portion of lean protein (cold water fish, white meat poultry, etc.) in combination with complex carbohydrates (yams, whole wheat bread, etc.) at each meal you’ll notice a significant change in how you feel and how you look. In addition, adding fresh fruits and vegetables to each meal will leave you feeling full & healthy! Clean snacks include the apples, fruit & nuts, or chopped veggies with hummus (one of my favorites) the fiber in these snacks satiates hunger pangs; plus fruits and veggies are loaded with beneficial vitamins and nutrients. These guidelines are the basics of creating a healthy nutrition menu.
If you have the discipline to eat clean even 80% (90% is best) of the time, you will notice your body becoming lean, your energy levels will probably rise, and you will notice improved performance in your chosen physical activities. You can literally transform your body composition by eating clean. Eating regular, high quality meals supports your metabolic rate and your cells, by providing just the right combination of nutrients to empower your body to perform at the highest level. If you want to look your best & feel your best, you must eat clean!
Sometimes the best gym tips are based on the habits you must build in the hours you’re away from the gym. Learning the basics of the eat clean diet, then creating your own healthy nutrition menu is a key component to achieving your goals. If you want to learn more about healthy eating and get some ideas for healthy recipes, visit my blog at http://www.jesreynolds.com
Jes Reynolds is a fitness professional who has been studying health & fitness for over 12 years. In addition to actively participating in health, fitness and athletics, Jessica received a B.S. Kinesiology from Michigan State University. Her combined education and experience working with all types of individuals, from the physically or mentally handicapped to the elite athlete, allows her to understand both the scientific and behavioral aspects of weight loss, fitness and athletics.
Jes Reynolds is a leader in teaching proven strategies for reaching health, fitness, and athletic goals. If you want to learn more about health, fitness, and human performance, visit: http://www.jesreynolds.com
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