You are what you eat... and exercise

You are what you eat... and exercise

By Simon Dale, PureGym Quartermile

Summer 2014 has been predicted to be the hottest on record, so it’s no surprise that members of our Quartermile-based gym have started coming in more regularly. After a winter of being covered up, they all want to look their best for their upcoming holidays.

So, if you’re thinking about setting yourself some fitness goals, it’s important to remember that the correct diet and an exercise regime work hand in hand to achieving a healthier, leaner body.

The mantra ‘you are what you eat’ isn’t just an old wives’ tale…. and there’s also a lot of truth in ‘you are what you exercise’.

To detox or not to detox?

If you eat a lot of processed foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats, you can try detoxing alongside your regular exercise regime. Detoxing can be a good way of ridding your body of toxins, allowing it to repair itself, leaving you feeling refreshed and energised.

Be careful not to go overboard with detoxing though – once a month is more than frequent enough. If you decide you just want to consume fruit, vegetables and water for a few days, that’s considered safe. However, prolonged fasts are not recommended and simply lead to lack of nutrition, dizziness, mood swings, lethargy and headaches.

As an alternative to detoxing, I would recommend a healthy balanced diet of eating little and often. If you try eating small portions of healthy foods every three hours, you shouldn’t need to detox to rid your body of unwanted substances.

What to eat

People think starchy foods are bad for you – but it’s actually the fats found in oils and dairy products that are used when cooking starchy foods that are fattening. For example, it’s the butter and milk added to mashed potato that makes it less healthy, rather than the potato itself. Why not have a simple baked potato instead. Remember – foods containing starch are a great source of energy for your exercise regime, so don’t cut them out completely.

The protein found in fish, chicken, beans and nuts helps repair muscle tissue. It also prevents what we call ‘DOMS’ in the exercise world. This stands for ‘delayed onset of muscle soreness’, which you can get after working out.

Other extremely important food sources are of course fruit and vegetables as well as plenty of water. Try to make every plate of food you eat as colourful as possible, then you know your body is getting the range of vitamins and minerals it needs.

What to avoid

Sugary foods such as cakes and biscuits should be avoided before performing high-endurance sports or training at the gym. That’s because they can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leading to fatigue.

Because fried food is loaded with oil, your body takes longer to digest the fats inside them. This makes you drowsy and your stomach feel heavy - so not a good idea before exercising!

Try to avoid eating too much red meat, but avoid processed meats such as sausages and burgers in particular. Consuming creamy sauces, mayonnaise and high-fat milk is not a good idea before to exercising because these take longer for our bodies to digest.

As well as being sugary, fizzy drinks can lead to gastric problems when consumed before or after engaging in any kind of sports activity. They can also account for a sharp increase in insulin, followed by a drastic drop in sugar levels, post-exercise. Therefore, they’re a strict no-no for any sportsperson or gym-goer.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

The best way to get a beach-fit body is to train hard whenever you hit the gym. This increases your metabolism, which helps burn unwanted fat deposits around the body. So people should focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT), which consists of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

Watch this space, because Q360 will be posting my HIIT workout routine later this week!

PureGym at Quartermile is one of the busiest gyms in Edinburgh because of the incentives we offer. You don’t have to sign a contract and we have 24/7 opening times. To find out more visit the website or call 0845 077 3256 to speak to the manager, Colin Ferrie.

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