(MSCC) Cyndie Burkhardt, May 6, 2015 — May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. It’s the perfect time to start getting physically fit–as most people aspire to do–for summer. While the seasonal motivation is driven by a desire to look good in a bathing suit, and people’s bodies are more exposed than any other time of the year, it’s also a great time to start new, healthy eating habits to support your fitness and sports endeavors. Regardless of your age or body type, everyone can benefit from daily activity and eating wholesome, nutritious food.

Have you ever thought about how food and exercise go hand-in-hand? Planning them together, you can create your best body (inside and out) and also gain lots of energy. What you eat, how you eat, and how you listen to your body changes everything…

A little background… Digestion begins in the mouth, then food travels to your stomach where it gets broken down and absorbed into your bloodstream. Nutrients from food create your cells, tissues and organs, and also affect your brain activity. If you consume poor quality food, including preservatives, chemicals, colorings, alcohol, and too much sugar, your cells won’t get the needed building blocks that wholesome nutrition provides. They’ll start to weaken and become damaged. Since messages and signals between your organs, muscles, tissues, and brain are literally formed from cells connecting with each other, these messages can become unclear and irregular. Over time, your body’s function will become compromised and, you can end up with disorders. If your body is unhealthy, it will be difficult to achieve or maintain physical fitness and energy, and your outer appearance will show what’s happening on the inside.

There are many variables between the make-up of your body and the composition of every piece of food you consume. It’s important to know how your body reacts to food (and beverages) and what your specific needs are. When you pay attention to the signs your body gives you, and you start to understand how food makes you feel, it will be easy to identify what makes you feel good, and what makes you feel bad. Then it’s up to you to adjust accordingly.

When it comes to exercise, most people think the benefits of exercise are weight control, toning, building muscle, mobility, and a certain level of fitness. Those are true, but all too often people use exercise to cover up poor eating habits. If you eat foods and consume beverages that elevate blood sugar and cause internal inflammation, yes, it’s better to burn them off rather than leave them circulating in your bloodstream. However, wouldn’t it be better to not have all the sugar, additives, pesticides, toxins, empty calories, and excess calories in the first place?

What you eat is the most important aspect of your health and if you eat poorly, exercise will not go very far in maintaining a healthy body, let along improving it. When you eat well with wholesome food, your body uses it to maintain healthy systems and optimal function. You can literally sculpt the body you desire.

Eating and exercise go together… Good nutrition boosts the positive effects of exercise. The efficient transfer of energy – from food to the body – is a key element both before and after exercise.

Before your workout: eat a small, digestible snack of simple carbs, approximately 45-60 minutes prior.

During your workout: sip water every 15-25 minutes, just enough to stay hydrated, don’t overdo it.

After your workout:

Immediately: have simple carbs and a small amount of protein, perhaps a recovery drink or something easily digestible such as kefir or a smoothie

30-60 minutes after:  eat a balanced meal with high quality protein and whole grains and vegetables

Always hydrate: dehydration is often mistaken as hunger and fatigue. Staying hydrated is one of the simplest ways to keep energized and focused, and keep from overeating. Drink plenty of WATER!

Finally, along with proper nutrition and daily exercise – honor your body and make the most of your energy

Get enough sleep

Stay hydrated with water throughout the day

Breathe consciously

Create natural and peaceful living and work spaces

CBpictureAre you interested in looking and feeling better? Cyndie Burkhardt, CHC, AADP, Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor, has helped lots of people jumpstart new fitness and eating habits. They all look and feel great! Find out more here