Why do so many of us struggle in this arena called Fitness? We all know we should eat healthy. We also know that exercise is important.
We’ve been told that lifting weights is good for muscles and going for a run strengthens the heart. The answer to losing weight is close to being considered common sense at this point. Why, then, is Fitness a dreadful part of life for so many? Could it be because we don’t understand the way nutrition and exercise work together and the roles they play in our day to day lives? This article is here to submit, for your consideration, a three-in-one perspective of fitness: Diet, Resistance Training, & Cardiovascular Training. Three points that work together as one approach. Three behaviors that work together as one lifestyle. If we understand not only the benefits of these behaviors, but also how each of them complement each other and work together, maybe we will find it easier to put it all together and see the changes we are seeking!
Thoughts on Diet:
What we are putting into our bodies is what matters most. Before even thinking about what changes we want to see in our bodies, we first must consider what changes need to be made in our eating habits. How can we expect to feel healthy and see results if we are stuffing our faces with foods that do our bodies no good? “Because it tastes good” is no excuse for poisoning our bodies with loads of sugar and processed garbage. This is not the article that lists what to eat and what to avoid. As we put our hand to our mouth at meal time, we know in that moment if we should be consuming what is on the fork or not. This is the article that screams “Wake Up!” While we run around looking for the next eating trend to follow, our bodies are simply asking for a nutritious intake, well-balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Less fast food, more greens. Less alcohol, more water. Treats and sweets in moderation. The diet has become this mystery that we are searching for an answer to, but we have all of the science and information on proper nutrition available to us at the click of a button. The importance of a healthy diet is indescribable. It is what sets the atmosphere of our inner health and the tone of our outward appearance. For those of us who are not genetically blessed physical specimen, the diet is what sets our fitness in motion. With healthy food, let’s start treating our bodies better, CONSISTENTLY, with some exercise to go along with it!
There is a direct relationship between lean muscle tissue and body fat. As we build more lean muscle tissue, we burn more body fat. Training our muscles with resistance is what allows the diet to do its job in a way that builds more lean tissue, and therefore, more strength. This is how; when we lift weights, we literally tear our muscles down. The tearing occurs all the way down to the cellular level. After a resistance training workout, the targeted muscles have been put in a state of recovery. In this state, the muscles are called to re-build and grow so that more work can be done in the future. This is where the diet comes in. Our food intake is what rebuilds the muscles. It is no secret that consistent weight training leads to stronger, bigger muscles. The more often a resistance workout is implemented, and the more weight that is lifted during those workouts, the more muscle the body will need to build. The more lean muscle we put on, the more body fat that we will burn all throughout the day, even during sleep. Let’s not be afraid of the idea of adding muscle to our bodies. None of us are going to lift weights and suddenly look like a big, bulky bodybuilder. Let’s tear our muscles down with some good old fashioned hard work and allow the nutrients from our healthy diets do the recovery for us…A true recipe for melting body fat.
Where would we be without our heart and lungs? The breath is the essence of everything we do. From the time we came into this world up to this very moment, our hearts have been beating and our lungs have been breathing. It only makes sense that it is so incredibly important to train these two gifts that help keep us going. Whether it’s a walk around the block or an intense session on the treadmill, cardiovascular exercise is what will build the strength and capacity of our hearts and lungs. Increased bone density, better sleep, and reduced risk of heart disease are just a few of the many benefits of this type of training. Not to mention the clarity of mind that a good cardio session produces. A healthy cardiovascular system has been proven to relieve stress and temporarily reduce anxiety. As the difficulty of the exercise increases, whether by duration or intensity, the more we are forced to focus our minds and connect with our breathing. The importance of cardiovascular exercise is tied into diet and resistance training through a term known as “Maximal Oxygen Uptake.” This term relates to the maximal capacity of the heart to deliver blood to the muscles. When the muscles are in a state of recovery, as we read above, blood is needed immediately. The healthier the heart is, the easier the delivery of blood for recovery will be.
In conclusion; Diet, Resistance Training, and Cardiovascular Training are three key factors of the “Fitness.”
As we work to stay fit and live healthy lives, we must be aware of the importance of each of these areas. We also must understand the roles that each play, and how they work together as one. Consistency in healthy eating, moderate-to-heavy lifting, and cardiovascular exercise is what will lead to long term inner and outer change in our bodies. When these three keys become habits, our doors to a healthier lifestyle will be unlocked. This is not to downplay the many other steps that are to be involved in a healthy lifestyle. Of course sleep, flexibility, and hydration play important roles in fitness. However, it is to say that a healthy, fit individual is most likely one who intakes healthy foods, breaths from a healthy heart, and carries lean muscle.