September 5, 2016

Diet or exercise: Is one better than the other?

You’ve decided to join Fitbox Method for various reasons. It may be to increase your endurance and strength, shed some unwanted pounds, or you just might find it fun to pummel a heavy bag to start your day or relieve stress after work. Whatever the reason, do you know how these high intensity workouts impact your body? Good nutrition is key to ensuring you get the most out of your workouts. Nutrition seems like an intuitive thing that has basic principles, right? A calorie is just a calorie so if I eat less than I burn I will lose weight. I need to eat more protein if I want to build muscle. Salads are good and white carbs are bad. Just as simple as that. Is it really? How well do you know what good nutrition is?

When you exercise, your muscles require additional energy to generate force, whether it is running, resistance training or hitting the bag. The respiratory muscles have an increased demand to move air in and out of the lungs to oxygenate blood and the heart works harder to increase oxygen supplied to tissues. So where does this energy used to fuel yourself come from?
The preferred energy our muscles use is from carbohydrates stored in the body as glycogen. When exercising, our body converts glycogen stored in the muscle into glucose to be used for energy by a process called glycolysis. The ability to sustain prolonged moderate to heavy exercise is largely dependent on glycogen stores. As they are depleted, our body uses fat metabolism to generate energy. The process of fat metabolism is less efficient and is associated with a decline in performance and eventually your body will start breaking down its own muscle to utilize protein as a source of energy. Carbohydrates spare muscle breakdown so consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrates during the day and before a workout is crucial to getting the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to exercise.

The type of carbohydrate you consume is also important. Carbohydrates containing fiber help regulate blood sugar so that we sustain our energy and do not crash and burn while working out which lets us workout to our fullest. About 45-60% of our daily calorie allotment should be in the form of carbohydrates. Did you know your body can store about 1800 calories worth of energy a day as glycogen? Good sources of carbohydrates include all starchy vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (the higher the fiber content, the more beneficial the grain), beans and legumes.
Good nutrition helps promote muscle building. Adequate carbohydrate intake allows you to reserve the protein you consume during the day for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue more quickly during recovery. Consuming carbohydrates in addition to approximately 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes after workout completion is recommended in order to enhance the recovery process and replenish glycogen stores. Protein should consist of about 15% of your total daily calories. Good sources of animal protein include lean chicken, fish, dairy and eggs. There are also many good sources of plant proteins including soy (organic/fermented), quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, hemp, beans, legumes, nuts and peas.

If you are consistently consuming more calories than you are burning, weight gain will ensue. Eating the right proportions of carbohydrates, protein and fat specific for your body’s metabolism will allow your body to function at its proper state and obtain the optimal benefits from your workout. To achieve your healthiest and best version of yourself, both good nutrition and exercise is needed. One is not more important than the other. Together they are the perfect marriage.

Contact us for a free nutrition consultation at info@FitboxMethod.com

Written by: Jennifer Bianchini, MS, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian

Groff, J.L., Gropper, S.S. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. 3rd ed. Washington DC: Wadsworth

Kapit, W, Macey, R.I, Meisami, E. Physiology. 2nd ed. California: Harper Collins

Rosenbloom, C.A, Coleman, E.J. (2012). Sports Nutrition. A Practice Manual for Professionals. 5th ed.