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Fitness and wellness lifestyle

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Lois Kingscott, Posted: Monday, 25th April 2022, 09:00

In order to get the maximum “bang for buck” out of your health and fitness activity, there are a number of areas you need to target specifically to see ‘gains’.

While I’m not here to tell you that you’re doing something wrong, wasting your time at the gym, or eating the wrong foods, there are some very clear elements that, taken together, will empower you to make the most of your fitness and wellness journey and see the results your efforts deserve.

In this two-part series, I am going to focus on the combination of elements that will result in achieving successful fitness and wellness outcomes, so if you’re looking to get ‘in shape’ this year, pay attention!

Whether you’re aiming to get bigger muscles, fitter or stronger for performance, or just into ‘good shape’ as a lifestyle choice, essentially what you’re saying on a physiological level is that you want to lose fat and build muscle.

Now, while most of us don’t want big bulging muscles, building lean muscle is the surest way to achieving a lean, healthy physique and enabling wellness in an individual. The first pillar to work on in bringing about this goal is your nutrition.

Nutrition
High-calorie, high-protein meals and snacks are essential for muscle growth. The best method of ensuring optimal protein intake for muscle growth and repair is to spread it out throughout the day, through both meals and snacks.

When it comes to building muscle, some people go for the quickest and easiest route, which is eating a lot of calorie-dense, but not necessarily nutrient-rich, foods. A much healthier way to increase your caloric intake is eating ‘clean’, where the focus is on eating mostly whole, nutrient-dense foods.

While we’re all unique in the way our bodies react to food, the following guidelines are helpful in working out our macro-nutrient intake amounts:
• Carbohydrates: 45-60%
• Protein: 30-35%
• Fat: 15-30% (predominantly unsaturated fats such as plant oils, nuts, avocados, etc.)

Additionally, high-calorie, high-protein snacks are important within one to two hours before and after a workout to fuel muscle growth and repair. In these busy times, preparing your food in advance can save you both money and time, while also maintaining your control over the ingredients and portion sizes of your meals.

Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals and can be a useful way of teaching children how to cook and eat healthy food.

Training
While it might sound counter-intuitive, regular, appropriate intensity exercise is one of the key habits that will enable you to build lean muscle and ensure your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems are at an optimal state.

There is no magic bullet – getting in shape isn’t difficult, but it does require effort and consistency. Like your diet, variety of exercise or training methods stimulates the muscles differently, reduces injury risk and minimises training plateaus, while keeping you from getting bored.

Movement is key, so whether you lift weights, swim, cycle, run, walk, hike, climb, play sport or engage in Yoga, doing something you enjoy is the best way to ensure consistency and longevity in your fitness journey.

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