Have you ever wondered if your fitness routine is the best that it can be?
Have you changed it and perfected it over time?
Well let me tell you that nutrition is just as important to your end goal as is your fitness regimen.
In fact if you are not eating clean you are not getting the best benefits out of your work out.
Whatever your end goal is, whether to tone up or get ripped, clean eating is the healthiest nutritional approach out there.
What exactly is clean eating?
Clean eating is eliminating most processed and pre-packaged foods from your diet, and getting back to the basics. Simply said it is consuming whole foods.
Getting rid/eliminating as much chemicals from the diet will nourish your body and give you the best physique you can have.
First lets understand what constitutes processed foods…
- Additives of any sort – salt, sugar, fat to add flavor; preservatives to keep food from spoiling
- Changing the form of the food – removing bran and germ from whole grain to make refined bread, making apples sauce from apples.
- Components manufactured in a lab – any ingredient that you can;t pronounce was likely created artificially.
Why Should You Eat Clean?
- Healthy Nutrients – Eating clean allows for the consumption of the most healthy components such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Being Healthy – If you eat highly processed foods you will gain fat and your health will suffer not to mention your physique.
- Looking Lean – Many diets these days allow you to eat whatever you want so long as you fit into the allotted calorie limit, however studies have shown that if you take this approach you will not achieve the lean look you are seeking. If you opt to consume processed foods even when calories are similar, your physique will show for it, low body fat can only be achieved through healthy clean eating.
How to Eat Clean
- Do it yourself – Instead of ordering out or buying pre-made foods, try to cook homemade food. In this way you know what goes into your meal and gives you the ability to choose the best and freshest produce.
- No Processed Foods – Not all process food is bad. “The key is to avoid foods that are ‘ultra-processed,'” says Fanzo — basically, anything food-product-like or ready-to-heat.” Processed foods such as pasteurized milk, kale smoothies and instant oatmeal are not the same as doughnuts and diet cokes.
- Foods To Eat – Stick to fruits and vegetables as these are whole foods. You know where they come from and that they have not been broken down or processed. The idea here is to eat food that has not been altered by people in any way. When eating meat choose lean cuts, stay away from fatty and processed choices. Meats provide protein which is paramount in building and maintaining lean muscle. Grains are also part of clean eating, specifically whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, rye breads and oats. Stay away from white breads, rice and pasta. Last but not least nuts are a great snack, they are high in healthy fat so eat in moderation.
- Healthy Fats – Consume healthy fats which are rich in nutrients such as avocado, almonds, olive oil and nut butters (coconut)
- Hydration – Drinking is paramount, water is best. Stay away from sugary drinks and juices. If you crave something sweet best option is to make your own juice at home from whole fruits/vegetables.
- Shop Clean – Choose foods with as little ingredients as possible and stay away from ingredients you can not pronounce or which you do not recognize.
- Cook Clean – Avoid deep frying or using animal fats. Stir frying, grilling and steaming is best.
- Plan ahead – Nothing is worse than when you are starving and grab the first thing at hand. Make sure you stock your fridge regularly and have foods accessible for easy and fast snacking, nuts, fruits, vegetables (cucumbers, fresh peppers are great snacking options).
Your Results are 70/30 Based
Remember 70% of your progress is diet and only 30% is fitness.
If you have been working out regularly but do not see results in your physique it is most likely due to your diet, evaluate, readjust and persevere.
Consume only good fats and avoid foods that are overly processed, refined and high in sugar.
Don’t waste all that time and energy in the gym only to sabotage it with an unhealthy diet, trust me that doughnut is not worth it!
Marina is a 34 year old writer by passion and mother of 2 who loves to stay in shape and views exercise not just as a physical form of staying healthy but as an essential way to maintain spiritual balance in life. Though she has a busy schedule, Marina exercises regularly, she is health and nutritionally conscious and raises her kids to follow her lead. Marina’s Healthy Living Blog can be found here