Physical Training July 2003
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The Fit Life

By Glenn Archambault Glenn Archambault

Nutrition and Fitness

Glenn Archambault for Physical Training
I am a firm believer that nutrition is 50% to 80% of the solution depending upon your fitness goal. If you are trying to lose weight it's probably closer to 80% and if you are trying to build muscle to have a drop-dead gorgeous physique it's probably is 50%.

I am not a fan of fad diets. If you are serious about getting into shape you have to make a life style change, including nutrition.

There are six essential nutrients the body needs to function: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Carbohydrates are an important energy source for muscles, the brain and nervous tissue to function properly. Protein builds and repairs body tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments. Fat provides essential fatty acids. Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary for good health and have to be obtained through diet. Minerals provide a variety of functions. There are 20 to 30 important minerals required which we consume through diet. Water is essential for survival and your body weight is made up of 60% water.

All food groups are essential to live a healthy life. Why would we want to go on a diet that eliminates all fat or carbohydrates? My philosophy is to make a life style change and eat wisely - do not eliminate food groups.

If losing weight is your goal, its not always easy but starving yourself is not the answer. Starving your body too much sends a message that there is a shortage of food, causing metabolism to slow down and your body starts to store fat for a rainy day. This defeats the purpose of why you stopped eating in the first place. Eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day and trick your body into thinking that there is an abundance of food. Your body will continue to burn calories and you will lose weight - providing you are eating the right foods.

What is the right food? Most high calorie fast food is not good for you, as it is high in fat. There are two types of fat, HDL and LDL. LDL transports cholesterol to the blood vessels (not good), while HDL extracts cholesterol from blood vessel walls and returns it to the liver for metabolism (good). You want to avoid LDL fats as much as possible and increase HDL fats such as salmon, tuna, olive oil and nuts. Did you know that most butter is 100% LDL fat? Margarine isnít much better. How do you know whicht fats are good and which are not good? You do this by reading labels. Look for fats that are low in saturated fats, found in dairy, meat and other animal products. Make sure the fats you eat are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Most labels will tell you this.

I want to share how easy it is to calculate the amount of fat there is in a food product. Did you know that on average 2% milk has 35% fat? If you look at a label on 2% milk it will read somewhat like the following:

Energy............................................... 129 cal.
Protein.............................................. 8.6 g.
Fat...................................................... 5.0 g.
Carbohydrates................................ 12.0 g.etc.

To calculate the fat, take the grams of fat and multiply by 9 and divide this into the total calories per serving. In the example above the fat content equals 34.88%t. 1% milk is approximately 22% fat and skim milk is approximately 3% fat. The formula you should know is:
Fat grams multiplied by nine (9) divided by Total Calories per serving = Total Fat Content.

Start reading your labels and look for polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fats. If the product has more than 25% fat put it back on the shelf unless it is high in HDL fat.

Do not eat more that 20% of your diet in fat and only eat fat that is going to benefit your health. Eat 25% protein such as lean meats or protein powder and eat 55% carbohydrates such as vegetables and fruits. Try to avoid pastas, potatoes, rice and bread after 5:00 PM, as it is hard to digest before you go to sleep.

Nutrition is essential for good health and a great physique and is even more beneficial when combined with a great exercise regime.

For more columns check out the column archives.

Glenn is a Certified Personal Trainer who has been involved in sports and fitness all his life. After years in the corporate world he now devotes all his professional time to health and fitness.
Physical Training July 2003