In our current multi-tasking lifestyle scenario, maintaining a healthy body is of utmost importance. However, easier said than done! Sometimes, just the thought of exercising or planning a nutritious menu seems overwhelming, and what we need is someone to give us just a small nudge in the right direction. For this purpose, there are various gyms and nutrition consultants who can offer help with fitness classes, nutrition coaching and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One of these institutions, Fit to Last, has dedicated personal trainers in Clapham, a suburb of London. Here, not only do they focus on weight loss training and an end-fitness result, but also treat each person individually with personal trainers, or with group therapy, based on the requirement.
There are many features to maintaining a fit and healthy life, some of which are highlighted below. Of course, the effort should be sustainable and not just for a short period, reverting to previous habits as soon as you start feeling fitter.
A healthy and balanced diet: Depending on whether you are a non-vegetarian, vegetarian or vegan, there is a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods to choose from.
According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, an adult is required to consume
- 10-35% calories from protein,
- 45-65% calories from carbohydrates
- 25-35% calories from fat
- Less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat.
The British Nutrition Foundation suggests the following for a balanced diet:
- Fruit and vegetables: 5+ portions per day
- Starchy carbohydrates: 3-4 portions per day
- Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins: 2-3 portions per day
- Dairy and alternatives: 2-3 portions per day.
Best fitness foods include fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole wheat items, meat, poultry, fish and other protein foods. The most nutrient types are:
- Meat – beef, lamb, chicken, port – preference is grass-fed
- Wild-caught fish like salmon, haddock and trout
- Eggs: free-range or Omega-3 enriched
- Vegetables: spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and many others
- Fruit: apples, pears, blueberries, oranges, strawberries.
Eating moderate but sufficient portions at each meal helps in controlling the calorie intake while satiating the appetite and providing the necessary nutrients. According to experts, the following gives a guide to moderate portions:
- a clenched fist is about a cup — and a cup is the amount experts recommend for a portion of pasta, rice, cereal, vegetables, and fruit.
- A meat portion should be about as significant as your palm.
- Limit the amount of added fats (like butter, mayo, or salad dressing) to the size of the top of your thumb.
Regular meals: Eating meals at standard timings is beneficial. Skipping meals can lead to desperate hunger which will result in overeating. Snacking between meals is also not recommended as it can become a habit which is difficult to overcome.
Water: Drinking sufficient water to keep well hydrated and cutting down on alcohols will add to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Foods to be avoided:
- Soft drinks, processed fruit juices, candy, ice cream and other products that include added sugar.
- Refined grains – polished rice, wheat, rye, barley as also all-purpose flour, bread, cereal and pasta
- Trans-fats, mostly artificial, industrially-produced trans-fats such as hydrogenated oils.
- Diet and low-fat products; Even though many dairy products, crackers or cereals have reduced fat content, they contain added sugars.
- Highly processed food.
- Starchy vegetables should be limited as they are high in carbohydrates.
However, no food item should be cut out completely, as the body needs all nutrients. A reduced intake will help to keep the diet balanced.
One tip is to read the food labels/ingredients list carefully, even on food packets which are marked as healthy.
Besides a nutritious, balanced diet, many other factors complement a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Being active: The importance of exercise cannot be downplayed, and physical activities such as aerobics, walking, jogging, swimming, biking, climbing stairs or playing games like tennis can help. However, exercise should not be overdone at one particular time. Keeping the body flexible can make everyday activities more comfortable, like climbing stairs or carrying groceries. It can help with balance and prevent falls.
Sleep: Getting a sufficient amount of sleep helps in keeping the body fit. At least 7 hours of sleep are required. Eating 3 – 4 hours before going to bed also helps.
Stress: Reducing stress can also lead to a healthy lifestyle. But how does one do that? Try thinking positive. One stress exercise is deep breathing – while sitting or standing comfortably, breath in slowly through the nose and exhale through the mouth while silently counting.
Brain active: Stimulating the brain also helps with keeping the body fit and healthy. Reading, doing word puzzles or math problems can keep the mind busy; so can activities using physical agility such as painting, drawing or craftwork.
According to your height, sex, age, hereditary and current lifestyle, a personal trainer can help you improve your fitness and nutrition, leading to an overall healthier you – body and mind.