Why are proper hydration and nutrition important
Whether you are an athlete, a weekend warrior, fitness enthusiast, or if you want to lose a few extra pounds - proper nutrition and hydration play a key role in creating a healthy body, mind, and living a long vital life.
I’m a firm believer in eating healthy food in proper amounts. Basic biology class taught us that nutrition is important as it provides a source of energy required to perform an activity.
The food we eat impacts on our strength, training, performance, recovery, and even our mood.
Strict, deprivation diets are not sustainable and they can cause more harm.
Many of my clients are pleasantly surprised that by increasing their daily caloric intake, results come much faster.
My magic formula that transforms my clients?
Tailored training + proper nutrition planning and distribution = sustainable healthy lifestyle.
I can help you transform as well.
But first, let me explain why is proper nutrition and hydration so darn important
Hydration, why is water important for our health
Water is essential for life. There is no doubt about that. Have you ever let a plant die because you forgot to water it? I have, for sure! I still feel bad about it.
Many of my clients struggle with the same issue - they ‘forget’ to drink enough fluids during the day.
Proper hydration is an essential part of our health as water is the main component in our body and muscles.
I urge my clients to drink a couple of glasses of water first thing after they wake up. It starts up their metabolism.
Hydration doesn't only come from fluids we drink, it can also be obtained from food.
If you struggle with the drinking part (and I mean drinking water), try to set an alarm on your phone to ‘drink a glass of water every hour’. It certainly helps many of my clients.
What else does proper hydration do to your body?
Water improves your performance and energy levels
It is not uncommon to lose 4 –10% of body weight through sweat while exercising or performing strenuous activity. When I’m conducting group classes, I always encourage my students to sip water throughout the entire exercise.
I spend a lot of my time on the beach (I’m currently in beautiful Italy, in my hometown), training my clients or working out.
I see so many children playing and running around. Children may be at greater risk for dehydration during exercise or playing as they may not recognize the need to hydrate. So be extra careful when working with kiddos.
Water keeps your kidneys functioning properly
Evidence shows that being well hydrated may reduce the risk for kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Proper hydration helps your kidneys to remove waste from your blood effortlessly (yes, the more you drink, the more you pee. But that’s a good thing!)
Water keeps your blood vessels open so that blood can deliver essential nutrients to your kidneys. Drink up!
Water can relieve joint pain
Did you know that dehydration can worsen or cause joint pain? Yep! Joint pain usually happens when the cartilage has been impaired or damaged.
About 60% of joint cartilage is made from water - so there you go. Water is essential!
Water keeps your skin healthy and glowing
The skin is the largest organ of the body - everybody knows that - hence it's made up of cells. And skin cells, just like any other cell in your body, are made up of water
If you don’t drink enough water, your skin may turn dry, tight, and flaky. Not a good look on anybody. The drier the skin, the more prone to wrinkling. Hydrate your skin from inside and out (‘out’ - as use a good moisturizer)
Hydration and weight loss
Ok, I don't like to use the word “suppressant”, but water is a natural appetite suppressant
And by hydration I mean WATER.
Especially when your goal is to lose weight, stay away from soda, juices or sweetened drinks.
You’d be surprised how many calories you can accumulate by drinking such drinks. The majority of people turn a blind eye to how many calories there are in sports drinks, and of course booze.
One of the things I teach my clients is to pay attention to their bodies. Especially when they “feel hungry”. More often than not we are not hungry, but thirsty. So before you reach for that snack, drink a glass of water and wait 10-15 minutes.
Ok, let's move on to nutrition.
Essential nutrition for a healthy body
We all need to eat. We all love food. Most people know that proper nutrition and physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and overall well being. And yet, proper nutrition is the most neglected part. It breaks my heart when my potential clients start the sentence with - “So, I’ve been following this ………….. diet, but I can’t lose the weight and I don't have energy.”
I’ll let you fill in the dotted line. I bet you know a couple of fad diets. You might have even tried a few of those. And that's ok. I’m very happy you decided to leave those fad diets behind.
What is essential nutrition?
Simply put, essential nutrition means that your body gets ALL the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best.
“We are what we eat” -Hippocrates
Hippocrates had no idea how accurate he was, especially in today’s ‘everything fast’ and fad diets society.
Our physical and mental well-being is directly linked to what we eat and drink. The nutritional content of what we eat affects the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, hormones, tissue, organs, skin, and hair. Our bodies are replacing billions of cells every day — and using the foods we consume as the main source. So yes, we are what we eat.
I read this amazing research done by University of Oxford stating that the diets of organisms can even affect the composition of their genes. The DNA! Isn't that fascinating? I wonder what the next generation will find out about us. I’m hoping (and striving) that our DNA will be the strongest and healthiest!
Our body has a self-cleansing system that filters and removes all the junk out and we make it work overtime.
“How” you ask?
Stay with me, slowly getting there.
Sugar and glucose intake
“Isn't glucose sugar?”
Well, glucose is a type of sugar found in a range of foods. Glucose is also called "blood sugar" as it is created when your body breaks down carbs (both sugars and starches).
Sugars in food include all kinds of sugars, such as fructose and lactose.
The biggest struggle my clients encounter is understanding how to nurture and move their bodies to get the best results.
Your body is a masterpiece and it likes to use the fastest and easiest way to feed itself.
But if we fuel our body mainly with carbs and sugar - and I don’t mean the good kind - our body gets used to taking energy from them. Hence it will produce toxins at the cellular level.
Let me explain it this way: Having sugar as the primary source of fuel is like a toxic smoke pipe or an old diesel truck polluting inside your body. Just like our environment, we are willingly and knowingly polluting our bodies by eating junk. The more junk we eat, the less energy we have.
By choosing good nutrients your body will run on clean energy. My clean energy includes avocados, almonds or sweet potatoes. Yum!
Alcohol and sugar intake
Alcohol is another big obstacle for many, but not only because of the calories but because of the way it affects insulin levels. Alcohol interferes with blood sugar as well as the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Any rise in blood sugar signals the pancreas to make and release insulin, which instructs cells to grab the glucose. Without insulin, glucose drifts around the bloodstream, unable to transfer into the cells that need it for energy.
When you drink alcohol, your liver has to work extra hard producing fats, in order to remove the alcohol from the blood instead of managing blood sugar levels.
Heavy drinkers can ravage their energy storage in a few hours. Isn't that something?
Drinking alcohol goes hand in hand with overeating therefore increasing blood sugar levels even more.
I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy a glass of wine or enjoy a romantic dinner. I’m asking you to be smart about it. If you don't know how to let me help you.
Following self-proclaimed weight-loss gurus or fitness influencers promoting the ‘best new diet’ - it might give you the impression that the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will do the magic.
If you eat the same things, the same quantities - weight loss is assured. Right? Not! This couldn't be further away from the truth!
We all have different bodies, different goals, and different lifestyles, and the way we eat (and what we eat) should reflect that.
I eat around 4500 to 5000 calories a day. This calorie intake is specific for me because of the muscle mass and my metabolic rate.
I eat carbs, protein, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. Yep, all of it! A balanced diet is the key!
Before I even start talking about this with my clients, I ask them to first track what and how they eat.
“But I’m counting calories!” - I hear some people say.
Fair enough. However, there is a difference between eating 1000 calories in the form of a burger, fries, diet coke, and a cake, then avocado salad and salmon. I bet you know which one is better for you. I do understand the struggle though.
We eat certain foods because we like the taste or the way they make us feel. We know it's not good for us and yet we eat it! I bet you have your comfort food.
But try and do 100 burpees (or just 10) after the burger and cake! I bet your energy level will be very low.
Personally, I see calorie counting as a huge distraction and excuse some people use to justify their calorie intake. Please don't get me wrong, if it works for you, I'm really happy.
I’m from Italy, so I learned pretty early on, that cooking healthy is more important than counting calories. Yes, we always add a dash of love into our food.
What you eat is a huge upgrade or downgrade at the cellular level or your health, biological software, hormones, and so on and on.
Healthy fats intake
In my household, we use a lot of extra virgin olive oil. And not only because our region produces the largest quantity of olive oil in the country.
Studies show that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil can offer some powerful health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease
The benefits of healthy fats are among the few things that most people in the nutrition industry agree upon.
Condiments, sauces, and dressings
Who doesn't like to ‘spice up” their food? Bursting and tingling flavors, fragrant herbs - hmmmm!
It breaks my heart when I see people turning their healthy and delicious food into toxic waste by adding heavy and greasy sauces. Or when they drench their food in mayonnaise, ketchup, or syrup.
I like to use fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon, parsley, or poppy seeds. And of course a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Eating good fats is essential for our bodies especially when we constantly train; below I am listing a few of the best healthiest foods and sources of good fats you should always include in your diet:
These are my favorite foods I like to include in my meals:
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seed
- Sweet potatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
Bottom line There are so many opinions, plans, advice, and recommendations out there about hydration and nutrients.
I urge you to be patient and really take your time in finding what works for you. I strive to create a sustainable and healthy lifestyle for all my clients, that brings joy, happiness, and vitality into their lives. And I hope it will spill into the lives of their loved ones and so forth.
What works for me and my clients is eating every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
When you eat more often during the day, your metabolism keeps burning and hence delivering a steady flow of energy. No more ‘post-lunch dip’.
I like to start with a nutritious breakfast that sets me up for a day of intense training and coaching. I eat every 2-3 hours, until about 7 pm. I let my body get into the night and sleepy-mode. My digestive system deserves a break as well and so does yours.
Remember you are what you eat and food is your fuel and energy. Make sure it's clean and sustainable.
Health is your priority and your true wealth. YOU got this!
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