Define Health?

I’m a college athlete, so it’s safe to say that my fitness routine is cut out for me. Between lifting 2-4 times a week, having 2-3 hour practices every day, and of course game days, I think I get my fair share of exercise. But health is 80% what you eat and 20% the physical activity you do. That means I cannot get away with eating anything and everything under the sun with the assumption that I will burn it off during my next workout.

First of all, it’s important to realize how amazing our bodies are. They can heal and grow all by themselves and are capable of things we cannot even imagine. More importantly, our bodies are temples and we must fuel them in the best ways possible. Just as you can’t put regular gas in a Camaro and expect it to run like the champion car it is, the same goes for your bodies. Food is not solely consumed for pleasure, but because it gives our bodies energy, allowing us to concur our daily tasks whatever they might be.

At the beginning of each year, gyms are packed. Everyone is convinced that they are going to start leading healthier lifestyles. I am definitely in support of those decisions, but my purpose for writing this post is to convince people that health is more than the time you spend at the gym. Health should be looked at from a nutritional perspective first, not solely through physical fitness. Here are some tips to critique your nutrition habits before killing yourself during your next workout session.

Food journal

First, let’s look at what you’re actually eating. Are you getting enough protein? Is every meal you eat heavy on carbs? These are all things you should know because you cannot out work bad nutrition. One way to find out this information is to keep a food journal. I know, that is not the most appealing suggestion, but it keeps you honest and can be an eye-opening experience. You’ll begin to realize that you’re having a couple too many rolls at restaurants or that you can afford to cut back on the desserts throughout the week.

Portion sizing

Too much of anything is a bad thing. I like pasta as much as the next guy, but when you realize how much one standard serving of pasta is compared to what is put on your plate at restaurants or even at home, you will begin to realize where the extra calories come into play. As a general rule, you can never have enough green vegetables, but that’s about it. Everything else should be watched closely and should be consumed in moderation.

Talk to a nutritionist

As a student athlete, I am fortunate to have access to our sports nutritionist, but a few things I have realized is that you are worth the investment, your health is important, and you don’t have to go it alone. For the last few years you’ve been trying to embark on this journey to a healthier lifestyle and for some reason, you keep hitting the same road bumps. Don’t be afraid to seek help from an expert or to invest money in your own health. If results, guidance, and accountability are what you are after, seeking the help of an expert is a great route to take.

Be diligent

Change is hard. When you go from eating large portions to smaller ones, it is an adjustment. When you make an effort to go to the gym five times a week instead of two, that’s an adjustment. When you’ve been consistent for two weeks and have seen no immediate progress, that’s an adjustment. Stay the course! Visible changes and gratification are around the corner. Don’t look at the scale too often and wonder why you haven’t lost 20lbs in one week. Remember…

  1. Muscle weighs more than fat.
  2. Anything worth having is worth waiting/working for.
  3. Instant gratification doesn’t always yield long-term progress.
  4. One miss step does not mean your journey to a better lifestyle has to end.

Roll with the punches and keep going. Your journey to health is just that, a journey, not a destination.

How do you plan on attacking your nutrition and moving towards a healthier lifestyle in 2017?

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