Nutrition

In many diets or recommendations for getting into shape, the emphasis is always on the macronutrients. While it is obviously very important to be monitoring your macronutrient intake, if nothing is ever said of the micronutrients then your diet is not going to work in the long run. It is possible to start getting into shape by just focusing on your macros, but if no attention is paid to the nutritional content of your food, then long term you will develop health problems. So being in great shape and staying in great shape requires knowledge about nutrition.

 What are they?

Above we mentioned the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients. Micronutrients are just another word for vitamins and minerals. These are used by your body to help regulate hormones, and for the healthy functioning of organs. Ultimately, a deficiency in your vitamins and minerals will take an effect on your body that will affect how ‘in shape’ you are. This is because there will be an effect on your ability to gain muscle and lose fat. Beyond that, ensuring that you have a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals will mean longevity and good health.

How do they work?

There are hundreds of different vitamins and minerals, and making sure that you are getting everything you need can be a difficult task. Having an idea as to their function can help to reinforce how important it is to get them into your diet.

Many of the vitamins and minerals that you ingest are produced naturally in the body; however, they are not produced in a great enough supply to fulfil all your needs. The uses of micronutrients are very varied, for instance they help to repair cell damage (which is what happens during exercise). If you have a wound, the ability to heal can be aided by having a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals in your body (this is because the collagen produced in your body aids with wound healing). There are hundreds of different functions that are all vital to your health, without labouring the point, making sure your micronutrients are kept in check should be a high priority.

How do you use them?

Ensuring that you are fully supplied with all the micronutrients you need can seem like a tricky task. There are hundreds of different supplements sold that it is impossible to stay up to date on them all. What is the practical way to make sure you are getting a healthy amount of micronutrients? In all likelihood, the diet you currently have is deficient in vitamins and minerals; therefore, before you start thinking about supplementation, you should get the basics right.

Follow this simple rule in your eating. Eat vegetables with every meal of the day. Don’t just stick with one sort either, take in a large variety of different colours. Spinach, kale, broccoli, peppers, sprouts, cucumber, leaves, beetroot, etc. Some of these should always feature at every one of your meals. This is the perfect start to making sure your body is not lacking in the majority of your vitamins. Another tip would be to get some regular sunlight for some good old vitamin D. Another factor is to ensure you are getting some fatty fish, and some good cuts of meat into your diet. Aside from being great sources of protein, a bit of meat or fish is an excellent way to get some vitamins into your diet.

When adding veg into your diet, you should not count the calories. This only applies to vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, sprouts, peppers etc. You should count the calories of root vegetables. So make a rule that you can eat unlimited green veg every single day. The rest of your food you are required to track, but with green veg you can leave this out of your calculations. If, somehow you are able to eat hundreds and hundreds of grams of green veg per day, then perhaps you can start counting the calories, however, a regular person should just eat as much as they like.

Supplementing vitamins into your diet can be great in the long run, but as we are discussing the basics of getting into shape, sort out your consumption of vegetables and whole foods first. Once you are comfortable with eating healthy nutritious food, then beginning to look into specific supplements that your body needs can be done. This should be done with the aid of a doctor or nutritionist, going at it alone unless you do plenty of research is not most likely not going to result in you finding the big picture and supplementing properly.

To summarize:

  • Vitamins and minerals are otherwise known as micronutrients
  • They are vital to the functioning of your body
  • Start getting them into your diet by eating vegetables with every single meal. Don’t count the calories of green veg.
  • After getting into the routine of doing this, then look into supplementing any deficiencies you may have. But not before!