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Why Is Nutrition the Most Important Part of Fitness?

Why is nutrition so important? Image via Pexels/Trang Doan
Why is nutrition so important? Image via Pexels/Trang Doan
Natalie P.

You may have heard of the importance of nutrition when it comes to working out. Sounds pretty simple - if you want to lose weight, get on a calorie deficit. If you want to gain weight, go in a calorie surplus.

Great! So it shouldn’t matter what you put into your body, as long as you follow these rules, right? Well, it’s not that simple. You need to look at exactly what you’re putting into your body. It’s not just the number of calories concentrated in each food item you eat; it’s also the macronutrients that they contain.

The three groups of macros are protein, carbohydrates, and fat.


Nutrition to lose weight

While it is widely known that protein is great for building muscle, a surplus of protein isn’t only ideal for those looking to put on weight. Studies have shown that following a nutritional plan of a high-protein, low-carb diet works best for those looking to shed some weight.

Carbs should never be eliminated as they are the body’s source of fuel. Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, which get stored within the body and are converted to energy to fuel activities throughout the day. Cutting them out will leave you feeling weak and low on energy.

Protein is important to retain muscle mass as the numbers on the scale drop. Moreover, protein takes more energy to digest, thus burning more calories during digestion.

A good amount of fat is essential even if you’re trying to lose weight. Keep in mind, there are two major types of dietary fats: saturated and unsaturated fats.

Unsaturated fats are those that are natural and come from natural sources, such as meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, etc. Saturated fats are those that are processed and are unhealthy for the body.

These are found in high amounts in fried foods, processed meats, etc. you’ll want to stay away from them. Healthy fats are required to facilitate digestion, absorption of nutrients, and to keep the heart healthy.

Fats are required to maintain balance in nutrition. Image via Pexels/FoodieFactor
Fats are required to maintain balance in nutrition. Image via Pexels/FoodieFactor

One must not restrict themselves either. If you're craving snacks, they don't always have to be unhealthy. There are tons of healthy snack options out there that are just as delicious!


Nutrition to gain weight

Sure, a surplus of calories is the right path of nutrition to gain weight. However, that doesn’t mean you load up on junk to reach that intake goal. For people looking to pack some serious muscle, carbs are just as important as protein as they will fuel your workouts and allow you to lift heavier and push more.

A deficit of carbohydrates will mean your body will start looking to the glycogen reserves within muscle mass for energy, thus impairing their growth.

The right nutrition plan is important even when gaining weight. Image via Pexels/Nathan Cowley
The right nutrition plan is important even when gaining weight. Image via Pexels/Nathan Cowley

Eating the right forms of fats is also key when it comes to gaining weight. Although fried foods and processed meats are higher in calories, the saturated fat content is unhealthy and can lead to higher cholesterol levels and clogged arteries, increasing your susceptibility to problems like cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, etc. Moreover, you will pack on more fat than muscle.


Nutrition to maintain weight

Maintenance calories are the easiest to consume; you just eat the equivalent of what you expend in a day, including calories burned during your workouts. A little decrease or increase a couple of times a week is bound to happen, and it’s not something you should worry about.

Fitness apps with in-built calorie-tracking features make it easy to figure out how much of what you should be eating in a day.

A balanced diet is the best nutrition plan. image via Pexels/Pixabay
A balanced diet is the best nutrition plan. image via Pexels/Pixabay

Ultimately, nutrition is key regardless of what your fitness goals are. Whether it’s to gain, lose, or maintain weight, exercise and diet go hand-in-hand. You cannot simply focus on one and neglect the other. This will deter you on your path to seeing results or maintaining your health at its peak.

That being said, allowing yourself a cheat meal or two a week will not harm you. In fact, your body needs it so it doesn’t start craving things and feels suppressed when you don’t feed it with what it craves. So eat clean, workout regularly, and hydrate well! Your body will reward you for taking care of it.


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Edited by Prem Deshpande

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