Categories: Fitness

How to Balance Diet & Workouts To Get The Fitness Results You Want

If you’re struggling to get the fitness results you want, it can be frustrating and demotivating. There are many factors contributing to your fitness results which can mostly boil down to your workouts and your diet. No matter if you’re looking to slim down, bulk up, or somewhere in between you’ll need to tailor your fitness strategy. Here’s how to balance your diet and workouts to get the fitness results you want.

1. Why Diet is so Important — Necessary Fuel

It’s argued that healthy eating is the most important part of fitness. There are a few different areas of healthy eating that contribute to fitness results including reducing body fat, gaining muscle, and most importantly, fueling your body. You can’t workout and expect your body to be able to perform efficiently if you’re eating mostly sugars and fats or if you’re not eating enough food in general. There isn’t going to a perfect solution to your diet. Everyone’s body is different and so we have to find a healthy diet that works for our body, workout plan, budget, and moves us towards the fitness results we desire.

2. What to Eat/Avoid (Carbohydrates)

There are many different diet options depending on your personal allergies, taste preferences, and more importantly, the fitness results you strive for. However, there are some universal truths about certain foods that are good to have in your head when trying to make a healthy diet. You may have heard or read about how carbs (carbohydrates) are horrible for you and should be avoided no matter what. The problem with this statement is that carbs are not so easily categorized as junk food like cake or chips. Carbs can also be found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and more that aren’t necessarily “bad” carbs. The big difference between them is the presence of fiber and sugars. In junk food like cookies or cakes, there’s very little fiber but lots of added sugar so you get quick energy that burns off fast. Whereas with fruits, beans, and whole-grain bread, there’s a higher presence of fiber which helps your body to digest the food slower and give you more energy for a longer period of time (“slow carbs”). Depending on the fitness results you’re looking for, you need to tailor your intake of carbs without a doubt. Cut back on carbs if you want to lose weight, maybe eat more carbs (healthy “slow carbs”) if you want to bulk up, or find somewhere in between if you want to bulk up and lose weight at the same time. As previously stated, everybody has a different body that will respond better to different diets. Nothing is full-proof, it just takes some practice and experimentation to find a healthy diet that works for you!

3. What to Eat (Protein)

Protein is a very important part of a healthy diet when working towards any desired fitness results. Protein is extremely important for your fitness as it works to create and repair tissues throughout your body. In terms of your workouts, protein is essential to help your muscles repair faster, get stronger, and facilitate more growth. There are a few different options for where you can get your protein from for your diet. There are supplements such as whey protein powder, which is a lot of people’s go-to as their post-workout protein intake. You can get all the protein you need with fast digestion and you can also add other things such as peanut butter or bananas into a well-balanced, post-workout smoothie. There are nutrition bars that offer some protein as well as carbs, sugars, and salts that your body also needs after a workout. Of course, you can also find great protein in lean meats and cheeses such as chicken or turkey. There are many forms of protein you can implement into your healthy diet, so depending on your desired fitness results you can experiment and find the foods that work for you! No matter what you’ll need protein to help your body grow and to recover after workouts.

4. Looking to Slim Down

If you’re looking to slim down and lose weight then there are many ways you can tailor your diet and workouts to get the proper fitness results you want. In terms of diet, you want to make sure you’re burning more calories daily than you are consuming. No, this doesn’t mean you just starve yourself and you’ll magically lose weight. You need to find the right diet that will provide you the proper vitamins and nutrients but won’t give you excess in sugars and such. You want protein, fiber, and “good” fat that will all work together to help you feel full longer and also give you healthier vitamins/nutrients. Drink lots of water and cut out candy and sugary drinks like soda. In terms of your workouts, you need to ramp up your cardio in order to lose weight. Strength training can help too but if you’re looking to work your body and burn that fat then you need to get your heart pumping and increase your cardio workouts. 

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5. Looking to Bulk Up

If muscle gain is the goal for your fitness results then you need to eat more and workout harder. For your diet, you’re looking to consume lots and lots of protein! Ideally, protein from lean meats such as chicken, turkey or fish. Red meat can have a lot of fat but that can also be good for bulking up as it can be good for increasing your calorie intake. But too much can be bad for you so be careful.  In general, you wanna strive for about 20 grams of protein per meal! Don’t let bulking up be an excuse to eat whatever you want. If you really want to bulk up without gaining weight in fat you need to eat healthy as well.  For workouts, you want to focus on strength training with some cardio as well here and there. The myth that cardio kills all your muscle gains is only true to an extent. Cardio will only slow your muscle gains if you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming because then your muscles can’t repair themselves efficiently. For workouts, you need to start with at least two to three strength workouts per week with some time in between to rest and let your muscles recover. As you get more consistent and stronger you can workout more often but still make sure to have at least one or two days of rest, ideally after your toughest/longest workout days. Muscle growth relies on consistent workouts with a gradual increase in weight and intensity to continually push your muscles to get stronger and bigger. Combine that with your protein-packed healthy diet you’ll be well on your way towards your fitness results of building muscles and bulking up.

What are your favorite ways to balance diet & workouts to maximize fitness results? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Samuel Anderson

I have a passion for helping others and see journalism as a great way to reach and impact many people. Born in Texas but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area! Then with a short detour in Boulder, Colorado to get my bachelor's in Journalism with a minor in political science. I'm a determined, motivated individual striving to make a difference in this world. I have hopes to play a role in the continued development of journalism and in maximizing efforts to inform and inspire the public. Check out my articles on Society19!

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