Monday, February 27, 2012


Nutrition is hands down the most important  factor in living a healthy lifestyle. What you eat, and what you don't eat can make all the difference on and off the field. In general I suggest a higher ratio of proteins/fats to carbohydrates than most people do. This is because of the purpose of Carbohydrates in the body. They serve as a source of energy for the body, while they don't serve an essential purpose like proteins (essential amino acids) and fats (essential fatty acids) I suggest about a 40% Carbohydrates, 40% Protein, and 20% Fat ratio for maintaining a healthy, lean physique. I'll go over the each individual macro nutrient in depth in this article.

Carbohydrates are great for long, and short term energy!
Carbohydrates. Now this doesn't mean that you can drink pop all day long because there is a difference. Soda is all empty calories, meaning that your body doesn't get any nutrition from it, it actually uses up more of the vital nutrients to digest it than it gives you back.

Carbohydrates can be broken down into 2 types, Simple Carbs and Complex Carbs. Now this may seem complicated but somebody has already done the work in figuring out the two types for you! This is called the Glycemic Index or GI. It measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI. A low-GI food will release glucose more slowly and steadily. A high-GI food causes a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels and is suitable for energy recovery after endurance exercise or for a person experiencing hypoglycemia. High GI foods are also good for post-workout as they will stop the process of catabolism, or the breaking down of muscle tissue for energy in the body. *highly suggested to take protein with High GI foods after workouts for optimal results*

Low Glycemic Index Foods:  55 or Less on the GI: most fruits and vegetables, legumes/pulses, whole grains, meat, eggs, milk, nuts, fructose and products low in carbohydrates.

Medium Glycemic Index Foods: 56-60 on the GI: whole wheat products, basmati rice, sweet potato, sucrose

High Glycemic Index Foods: 70 and Above on the GI: baked potatoes, watermelon, white bread, most white rices, corn flakes, extruded breakfast cereals, glucose

Proteins should form the basis of all your meals.     

Proteins. Protein is to your muscles what Carbohydrates are to your energy level. Aside from water Protein is the most abundant molecule in the human body. Protein is found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. This also includes body organs, hair and skin. Protein is one of the key components in exercise. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are used for building new tissue including muscle, as well as repairing damaged tissues. Proteins, however, only provide a small source of fuel for the exercising muscles when carbohydrates and lipid resources are low. You should aim to eat about your body-weight in grams of protein daily to maintain lean muscle mass, and build new muscle.

There are many different sources of protein ranging from whole protein foods (such as milk, meat, fish, egg, and vegetables) to a variety of protein powders (such as casein *slow digesting*, whey *fast digesting*, and soy). Protein powders are processed and manufactured sources of protein. Protein powders may provide an additional source of protein for exercising muscles. The type of protein is important in terms of its influence on protein metabolic response and possibly on the muscle's exercise performance. The different physical and/or chemical properties within the various types of protein may affect the rate of protein digestion.

Nuts are a great source of healthy fats.
Fats. (the healthy kind) Fat is a major nutrient and is vital for proper growth and development and maintenance of good health. Certain Vitamins (A, E, and K) are only soluble in Fat. Not all fats are good for you though. You should try to steer clear of any saturated fats, which are the artery clogging ones. You'll find them in butter, some meats, and palm and coconut oil. You'll also want to avoid trans-fatty acids (fats the are formed when foods are hydrogenated and that are found in deep fried commercial foods and many packaged foods, especially baked goods). These fats act like saturated fats only worse. They raise your bad cholesterol level, and lower your good levels, putting you at a higher risk for heart problems.

Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are the better fats for you. They're found in foods such as Olive Oils, and Canola Oil and are absolutely necessary for the many functions of life. Our bodys also require essential fatty acids (EFAs), such as linoleic and alpha linoleic acid, for normal cell growth and development. They only way to get these acids is through your diet. EFA's are found primarily in fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and in certain nuts, oils, and dark green vegetables.

Hydration is equally important, so don't forget to drink about 2 quarts of water daily. ( Exercise and Nutrition are vital to allowing your body to thrive instead of just survive. Supplements are fine but don't rule out natural sources, which are bound to always be at least easier for your body to process. Stay away from the center aisles at your supermarket and you can't go wrong.