We have always wondered if this famous saying was true or incorrect. We’d have to say that it is true. This statement is especially accurate if you have specific health goals or if you are an athlete.
Why? Let’s dive in and find out!
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Why Does the Type of Food Matter?
It is highly unlikely that you will see a track or cross country athlete consuming high amounts of red meats and/or empty calorie foods. The food you consume is fuel and acts as an energy source for your body.
This equation is just like putting gas in your car. You can’t drive a car without fuel. Also, you can’t drive an 18-wheeler with the same type of fuel you would use for a Toyota Camry.
Foods that are lean and nutrient-dense provide your body with the necessary nutrients and energy needed to carry out daily tasks whether these tasks are working out or just going to work.
How Does Your Body Use Food?
Your body is just like a machine in terms of how it breaks down food and uses it. Some foods force your body to work much harder to digest them (i.e. red meat). Unhealthy food consumption leads to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Unhealthy foods can also lead to serious health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Athletes tend to consume high amounts of nutrient-packed foods such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.
This high consumption amount is due to the physical demand of their particular sport. If you are just your average gym patron you should still keep the same mentality.
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Using Food to Change Your Health
You are breaking your body down when you work out and your body needs the proper foods to repair those muscle fibers, cells, and tissues. If you are looking to gain or lose weight, certain types of foods need to be consumed for either scenario.
In order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than calories consumed, but do not use this as an excuse to starve yourself. If you do not consume enough foods then your body will go into protection mode and hold on to whatever food you do consume and store it as fat in the body.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, if you are trying to pack on weight then you have to consume more calories than you expend.
What Type of Food Is Recommended?
If you are unsure of what to eat, shop on the perimeter of the grocery store versus the aisles in the center of the store that are usually filled with processed, high-calorie foods.
Also, you want to eat foods that have the colors of the rainbow in them. Another key point to focus on is that if it wasn’t grown or killed then you shouldn’t eat it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How many calories should I eat?
How many calories you should eat depends on a number of factors. To get a rough estimate, check out this article.
What is bulking? What is cutting?
Bulking and cutting are techniques used by bodybuilders to grow muscle and shed fat. Bulking requires eating in a surplus while weight training in order to build muscle. Cutting requires eating in a caloric deficit to shed body fat in order to “expose” the muscle built during the bulking phase.
Do I have to bulk? Do I have to cut?
No. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, you do not have to bulk or cut to lead a healthy, happy lifestyle.
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. The more you know about what type of food to consume and how to strengthen your body, the better the results will be!
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