The Importance of Proper Nutrition

I was approached by Fast and Jacked to write an article about the importance of nutrition in Physical Training, and I am truly honored for the opportunity!

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My personal background consists of weight training for the past 20+ years, 6 years in the U.S. Army, competitive bodybuilding, and most recently I am in pursuit of my master’s degree as a Registered Dietitian. Within these past few years I have been recovering from severe back surgery, which left me with a 17 inch scar. I was told I would never touch a weight again…

Today I have hit 360lbs on bench, 405lbs on deadlift and 225lbs on squat, and all without any pain medication. You ask how? – and all I can say is NUTRITION CONSISTENCY!

So, we all know how important our diet is when it comes to exercise; however, the importance goes way beyond making gains or muscle building. First we must understand our own specific requirements and then work within those limits to find the correct mixture for non-training and training days.

As most could understand, our needs decrease on non-training days due to less energy expenditure. With this decrease, we must lower the calories we consume. Otherwise there will be excess, inevitably turning into fat. So, where should the decrease come from? The best answer is a reduction in carbohydrates. The reason being; there are many purposes to maintain a healthy balance of fat within the diet, and it is vital to keep protein levels elevated during the rebuilding phase after a workout. The body can make energy from protein, but it can not make protein from carbohydrates. Thus, we must ensure to maintain a quality, and sufficient protein balance even during our “off” days.

There has always been a discrepancy of how much protein is needed within our diet; the honest truth goes to 0.8g-1.2grams “PER KILOGRAM” of bodyweight (your weight divided by 2.2). If your diet consists of the proper content and you are meeting your calorie needs this will be sufficient enough to make gains as well as limit recovery. However, it is vital that this stay consistent even during rest days/recovery time due to the importance of this macronutrient. While it is vital to have the proper energy to maintain a quality workout, the recovery process extends out over the following 48 hours and proper nutrition will help mold the results of the work you put in.

As stated above; you should decrease the amount of calories taken in by reducing your carbohydrate intake. However; it is vital to ensure that the following meal after your workout incorporates a heavy dosage of them. For the following few hours after exercise is a very critical time, this is when your body is most receptive to use the glucose taken in and use it to refill your glycogen storage. So, what is glycogen storage? This stowage is what your body uses for energy during intense physical exercise and, upon depletion, the individual becomes exhausted. So, believe it or not, immediately after a workout you are dictating how your next will be by what you take in!

The hardest thing about nutrition is that there is not an instant result to the food taken in, same as instant pump for one weight lifted. But by continually pushing and lifting the same weight over and over; gains are made. Diet must be looked at the same way. Just because you do not see immediate results, don’t give up!

So to sum it all up, your mom was right. You are unique, and because of that, a diet is truly a personally specific thing. Every one is different and we must respect that what works for “Bill” may not necessarily work for “Tim” since nutrition is not a “One Size Fits All” kind of thing.

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