Do Athletes & Fitness Enthusiasts Need to Monitor Food Intake?
As spoken by many an active fitness enthusiast: “Oh, I don’t really worry about what I eat because I work out three times per week, that should take care of it, right?” or, “I can eat anything I want and still expect to lose weight. I workout almost every day!” But, is this a reasonable approach?
It is an age-old question that has confused many a dieter and sports enthusiast alike. Should you be able to exercise your way to “no gain” or better yet, weight loss?
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with several speed-skaters from the local ice arena. Many were Olympic hopefuls, practicing and burning 3500-5000 calories per day! And, as you can well imagine, did not feel they really needed to address what foods made up those calories. For this particular group, however, there was a need to have tremendous endurance, energy, and strength. We discussed the natural foods that would stay with them longer and provide more energy; such as fruits, simple dairy and yogurt products, high-energy bars between meals, as well as lean meats and vegetables for meals. Having a consistent supply of sustainable, good calories was what worked best for this group. Many found themselves feeling better and having fewer “highs and lows” during practice.
The same philosophy exists for the “everyday” athletic enthusiast; sustained endurance, and calories throughout the day. It is best to say that the lack of attention shown by many regarding diet and nutrition can ultimately cost results for both, diet and fitness.
6 Easy Tips to Help You Balance Exercise & Diet:
- Plan good nutritional foods before and after workouts.
- Keep foods spread throughout the day.
- Keep foods simple in nature, or “green.”
- Never plan on fitness to provide you with a complete answer to weight loss.
- Give some attention to the calorie levels you are consuming. If higher than what you need, you will probably gain weight.
- Use tracking apps such as My Fitness Pal. (Note: experts recommend using fitness as an advantage for weight loss, but keep calorie intake consistent.)
And don’t forget to contact your fitness trainer or myself for more personalized information! We can help calculate calories for weight loss based on the individual. It is a precise and easy method to ensure your success!
Looking for more healthy tips? Set up a consultation with our Registered Dietitian!
By Rita Larsen, RD, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor