Pairing Nutrition With Fitness: How to Develop Eating Habits to Support Your Goals

we have heard it before – working out is only part of the equation when it comes to overall health and fitness. Dialing in your nutrition is the next step.
Healthy nutritional meal prep

No matter what your goals are: weight loss, building muscle, performance, or overall health and well-being, dialing in your nutrition will be the thing that helps take you to that next level. 

The question is, where do we start? With so many resources and differing opinions, it is extremely difficult to know the right path to take when it comes to what we eat. 

If you wish for more guidance and one-on-one help with your nutritional journey, click here to learn more about nutrition coaching at CrossFit Billings. 

If you struggle to know the steps to take when it comes to food, start simple. There is no ‘perfect plan’ that will accommodate everyone. We are all different, and we all have different needs when it comes to nutrition. Do not think you have to have everything perfectly figured out; experiment using some of the tips below and find out how to best fuel your body to get your desired results. 

You may have heard this one before, but it is a crucial step. Protein is not only a satiating macronutrient, but it is also essential in helping us build muscle. 

If your goals are weight loss, protein will help you feel fuller between meals, making a caloric deficit easier to stick to.

If your goals are performance or muscle building, protein will help build or maintain your muscle mass.

No matter how you put it, protein is important. Try for some lean meats, eggs, nuts, beans, and yogurt. Mix some in with every meal, and make it a priority to do so throughout the day.

Moderation is key, so never restrict food groups completely, as this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.

However, although we can include everything in moderation, try to make 80% of your diet consist of quality, non-processed foods. This includes things like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and eggs. These foods will satiate you more than their overly-processed counterparts and, again, will make it easier to stick to a nutrition plan. 

You do not need to tell yourself you can never again have a cookie. Choose a couple of days a week to include a treat, or plan each day so you eat 80% of your calories in quality food and allow yourself a small treat each day to satisfy your cravings. 

Overall, most of your food should be nutrient dense. Not only does this give your body what it needs to stay healthy and happy, but it will lead to better results in whatever goal you are chasing.

Here is another one that you may hear a lot, and once again it is important in reaching our goals.

Drink your water, especially if you are completing high-intensity workouts every day. Shoot for at least a half gallon, or ideally one full gallon, each day.

If you struggle with getting your water, start with small goals. Drink a glass of water with every meal, then carry a water bottle with you throughout the day that you re-fill one to two times, depending on its size.

Water is extremely important to a variety of functions in our body. To name a few, water helps transport nutrients through our bodies, it helps regulate body temperature, supports cognitive function, helps our skin, and supports our overall health and performance.

Needless to say, getting enough water can make a significant impact in our health, and its impact is often overlooked.

Be mindful of what you build your meals with. Try to include a healthy, whole grain carbohydrate, a protein, fats, and vegetables. You can view the diagrams below by Precision Nutrition to get a good idea of how much of each to include in a well-balanced meal.

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Again, here we are not limiting any food groups, rather, we include them all for balanced nutrition. Do be mindful of cooking oils, as those are fats that should be taken into consideration.

No matter your goals, structuring your meals this way may help you achieve better results. Your meals will be satiating and full of nutrients, providing your body with everything it needs without getting overly hungry throughout the day.

It is easy to get pulled into all the quick fixes these days. There are so many diet and nutritional plans advertised as ‘the best.’ But as mentioned earlier, there is no perfect diet. Every single person’s body operates differently, so everyone will be slightly different in their nutrition.

Instead of researching the best diet for whatever your goals are, try to integrate health habits that can lead to long-lasting results. Otherwise, you may notice short-term success, but you will not keep that over time. 

Accept that nutrition is not something you will have all the answers to right away. You will need to work with your body, learning how it reacts to certain foods and how much calories you actually burning though the day and need to consume to meet your goals.

Though tracking calories may not be for everyone, it is a valuable tool for helping us get a sense of just how much food we are eating, and how to create a sustainable meal plan.

If you have never tracked calories before, I recommend creating a diary of everything you eat in a day and estimating how many calories you currently consume to get an idea of your baseline. From there, adjust your diet as needed to fit your goals. 

You can use many free apps to count your daily calories and recommend a diet plan. MyFitnessPal is a great place to start; from there, you can look at other options (I use Macrostax to count my calories, but RP is another popular option). 

Of course, personal nutritional coaching will be more tailored to your personal needs and lead to better results. Click here if you are interested in nutritional coaching. 

Overall, counting calories and macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) will give you the best idea of how to pursue your nutrition goals. It will teach you how to measure your food, and how to eyeball correct portion sizes.

Nutrition is important – perhaps just as much as our fitness plans. It is always worth dialing in your nutrition goals, and we can help you with that here at CrossFit billings.

Article by Karisa Stapp

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