Most of us embark on an exercise program to improve our health and fitness. But let’s face it: many of us are also in it to shed those few extra pounds. The lucky ones manage to keep body weight in check throughout the exercise program, but what about the rest of us?
As I’ve said before, patience is the key. By carefully following the InTraining program your fitness is bound to improve. And, as every doctor knows, an added bonus is that regular exercise helps to increase the metabolism. The result is usually a system that burns fuel (calories) more efficiently. In turn, with proper nutritional habits, you will either maintain your body weight, or eventually begin to reduce it, depending on your situation. You may find you actually GAIN some weight because you’ll build muscle (which weighs more than fat). But you may also find that your clothes begin to fit better as your shape changes.
As a former high-performance athlete I am constantly asked about what I used to eat when I was training seriously. The truth is, there was nothing magical about my diet, and that remains true today. The path to optimal health is balancing your nutritional needs with your activity level. It’s a simple equation and no "fad" diet is going to get you out of it. As you can tell, I am not a supporter of any "fad" diets; I am a supporter of balance and consistency.
When you run and walk, you burn primarily carbohydrates (breads, muffins, cereal, pastas, fruits, and yes, sweets – but you’re better off to stay with complex carbs). So if you’re burning carbs, you should be eating mainly carbs. The optimal breakdown is 60% carbs, 30% protein and 10% fat. For more information on nutritional concerns, check out the articles in the Performance Nutrition section of the SportMedBC Library, and also the 'Ask our Dietitians' link in the 'Ask Our Experts' section of the Community.
On a lighter note, here’s what Ellen Degeneres has to say about getting in shape:
"You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking 5 miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is."
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