The Importance of Nutrition
The biggest misconception people have about physical appearance is in regards to which factors influence it. Most do not know that when combined with an exercise program about 60% of appearance as body fat content is determined by nutrition. Bodybuilders will attest to this, so will the many fashion models, which do very little exercise but are slim and virtually fat free. Generally, exercise influence physical performance, then cardiovascular health, bone density and other important health factors, and depending on genetics, somewhere along that line physical appearance. Without a doubt, for most people, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ they eat are the greatest factor that influences their appearance.
We already know that the amount of calories we consume on a daily basis will affect our gain or loss of fat and body weight. But just as important as the caloric intake is the proper ratio of the calories that we consume (the ‘what’). This ratio is in terms of the proteins, carbohydrates, and fat intake, and will always be a topic of heated discussions. Some guidelines have been established, but I believe that it is based very much on the individual. During most of my career I have used the ratio of 40/50/10 (proteins/ carbohydrates/ fats); it is also what I would recommend to someone who trains and is trying to gain weight (muscular weight that is, and not fat).
For that same person, the ‘how’ would concentrate on the protein intake. I recommend some form of protein intake prior to going to bed, then shortly after waking-up and within 30 minutes after working out. A simple protein shake low in carbs and fats would suffice for each of these protein intakes, and none of these should be in lieu of the regular scheduled meals (at least 3). These regular meals should include some protein but would mainly focus on the carbohydrate intake.
Most important is that you adjust to a diet that becomes part of your life. Whatever your individualistic diet requirements are, they usually are yours for life. If you don’t enjoy or believe in what you are doing, you may do it for a few weeks or even a few months, but eventually you will revert back to your old eating habits, and then your old appearance.