If you are interested in getting fit, your first step should be focusing on nutrition. Although it may be tempting to start planning your workout routines right away, you have to think about what you eat before heading to the gym. Nutrition is a vital part of getting in and staying in shape.

Why Nutrition is Important for Getting Fit?

Food is the fuel your body uses to function, and it plays a key role in getting fit. Before you even consider exercising, you should think about nutrition to make sure you are ready to handle the gym. Proper nutrition goes beyond calories since it focuses on everything your body needs to thrive.

Nutrition is important for getting fit because it affects your body and mind. Eating healthy has multiple benefits, such as lowering your body fat, helping you lose pounds and improving your overall well-being. You may also be able to fight infections better or reduce the risk of some diseases like diabetes.

In addition to the health benefits, nutrition has fitness advantages. It can improve your performance, speed up your metabolism and help you burn more fat. Your recovery time from workouts may be shorter if you eat right. In addition, it can reduce inflammation in the body. Eating healthy can help you achieve your fitness goals faster.

There are online calculators that let you make personalized calorie and physical activity plans, so you can see how to reach specific goals. It is important to think about both exercise and diet as you plan workouts and meals.

Different Eating Plans for Different Fitness Goals

If you want to achieve long-term results, then making nutrition part of your fitness goals is essential. Studies show that diet may be even more important than exercise if you want to reduce or maintain body weight long-term.

There are different eating plans for different fitness goals. For example, boxers and bodybuilders will follow a diet that differs from those who are Olympic athletes or dancers. Even playing different sports can affect what you eat.

For instance, if you swim, then you may need to load up on carbohydrates the night before a competition. In general, carbs provide the energy swimmers need. On the other hand, if you play basketball, you need to balance nutrients differently. A basketball player's diet should have about 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20% fats. Compare this to a football player who should eat about 55% carbohydrates, 15% protein and 30% fats.

Even if you are not planning to play a specific sport you should still tailor your diet to your workouts. A beginner to working out should fuel up at least two hours before the gym with water and carbohydrates: You can eat an apple or banana. After working out, your meals should have fluids, carbs and protein. This can include water, egg omelet and avocado on toast. Another option is water, grilled chicken and roasted vegetables.

If you plan to do weight lifting or strength training, avoid processed foods and focus on lean protein, complex carbohydrates and some fiber. Strength training requires balanced meals with both protein and carbs before exercising and a lot of protein after. For cardio workouts, avoid sugar and fats, but get high carbs with moderate protein amounts before the gym. Then, eat carbs and protein after cardio. Marathons require carb loading for energy with lower fiber and fat content.

Should You Consult a Nutritionist?

You may be wondering if you should consult a nutritionist for help. Beyond taking an online quiz to evaluate what is on your plate, there are steps you can take to craft a specific eating plan for a fitness goal, and talking to a nutritionist is one of them.

A nutritionist can discuss meal plans with you and answer questions. They can test for mineral or vitamin deficiencies, recommend supplements and help you set realistic goals. From putting together a grocery list to stocking the pantry with necessities, a nutritionist has the answers.

In addition to consulting a nutritionist, you should talk to a good personal trainer who understands nutrition because he or she has completed courses on it. It is important to find a personal trainer who has a nutrition certification because they will be able to guide you better.

Working with a personal trainer who has knowledge about nutrition is the best of both worlds. You get someone who understands both exercise and diet. They can help tailor meals to your workouts, so you feel full without gaining weight. They can also discuss your goals and how to achieve them.

When you are thinking about getting fit, make sure nutrition is part of the plan. You need to eat healthy to get into or stay in shape.

Author's Bio: 

Plan your meals and snacks to include nutrient-dense foods that are also low in calories. Tips for eating well.