Nutrition, hydration and sleep: Why these three things are so important...

Weightloss help and advice in berkhamsted buckinghamshire

Nutrition, hydration and sleep are so important to a healthy mind and body.  They also play a crucial part in helping to keep your energy levels up. Coach Kelly explains how addressing these key factors can help so many different areas of your life, from weight loss to preventing headaches and other ailments...

Nutrition:

Getting the balance right is where most people struggle. Should I eat carbs after 5pm? Which type of fat should I eat, how much? What is a portion of protein – the list just goes in.  We are bombarded daily about how we should do diets and healthy eating and people are really struggling to get the balance right. 

We treat every client's needs individually. We discuss what your day to day life is like. Setting the initial goals is important but they have to be realistic. If you have a family to cook for, then meal choices may have to be tweaked as well as times that you eat. 

We get asked all the time about carbs protein and fat.  These are called macro nutrients.  Here are some general guidelines that could start to make some really positive changes to your diet, and will hopefully help to get your macro’s balanced! 

* Always eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking.  Breakfast should include protein to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and prevent sugar cravings

* Make sure your diet has carbohydrates in it. YES! I mean real carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables or quinoa, rice or potatoes, beans (chickpeas, kidney beans)  Starving the body from carbs can have a detrimental effect on your sleeping patterns and leave you feeling very low on energy.  If you are an inactive person you probably don’t need to eat carbs with every meal, however, if you have a level of activity eating carbs post training or in the evening will have a positive effect, as carbs can raise serotonin levels helping you to sleep more peacefully.

* Try to consume protein at EVERY meal time. It will aid muscle repair if you are active and training regularly and it will keep you feeling full throughout the day. As a guide we encourage clients to make sure their protein portion is approximately the size of a pack of cards. 

* Eat FAT! YES FAT! In the form of, coconut oil, avocado, seeds & nuts. (there are many more types of fat these are just a few examples) Eating the correct type of fat will keep you feeling full.  Fat has other many benefits like transporting vital vitamins and minerals around the body. If you don’t eat fat, you can’t burn fat. 

Hydration:

There are so many benefits to drinking good old plain water.  If I tried to list them all I would literally be here all day and this post would become very very boring! To mention a few…….

* Increased energy levels and brain function

* Maximises physical performance

* Aids digestion and helps constipation

* Reduce headaches

* Flushes out toxins from the body

So as you can see, these are just a few of the reasons why water has NO SUBSTITUTE! 

I get asked all the time, can I add squash to it? Can I drink fizzy water. Quite simply, if you want some of the above results just drink plain water.  If that’s too boring for you add some lemon and lime or even strawberries to give it a natural flavour.

How much water should we be drinking? 

There are some scientific calculations that can be done, however as a guide drinking a minimum of 2 litres per day on days you are not exercising or active.  On exercising days, add in at least another litre to your daily consumption.

Rest and Sleep:

Un-interrupted good quality sleep……I think most people are getting around5-7 hours per night.  This just isn’t enough! We live in an age of blue lights before bed, increased alcohol consumption due to stress, working longer hours and just not being able to switch off.  Lack of good quality sleep can have a detrimental effect on your weight loss plans too. When you have sleep deprivation it effects your hormones. Have you ever woken up tired and felt like you needs to eat carbs all day? 

Feeling really tired has placed additional stress on to your hormones sending them into orbit and you craving carbs.

We all know we should be getting better sleep and sleeping for longer so how can we do it? 

* STOP using devices before bed! Leave at least half an hour before bed so your brain switches off from the blue light.  Purchase a blue light filter.

* Limit alcohol consumption just before bed. Alcohol will affect the quality of your sleep. 

* Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm in the daytime. Caffeine will stay active in the body for around 8 hours, so drinking it before bed may affect your sleep in the early hours. 

* Do something before bed that will relax you. Take a bath, or read a book where you actually turn the pages, not swipe a screen. Watch something trashy on TV that will send you to sleep! Listen to something calming……of course there are many more we’re just giving you ideas.

If you train regularly, make sure you programme in rest days too. Overtraining the body can be as harmful as undertraining or no training at all.  We recommend (if you are a regular gym user or very active person) a minimum of two rest days per week.

Depending on your training schedule you can programme in many different ways, there is no right or wrong but simply listen to your body.  If you feel like you need a rest day, then take one! Its really not going to affect your appearance by missing one day.  Programming in rest will mean you can progress and grow at a safe and comfortable rate.   Walking and yoga are recommended for rest days too, so if you feel like you just cant take a day off, go for a walk or do some gentle yoga.  This will help to reduce cortisol levels within the body and will still give your muscles a rest from weights or cardio training at intensity.