Fuel Your Fitness: Nutrition Tips for Supercharging Your Personal Training in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Fitness and nutrition are the two keys to a healthy lifestyle, yet most people in Park Slope, Brooklyn aren’t taking full advantage of both. Contact us today to learn how you can!

Ryan Brennan

The two keys to a healthy lifestyle are fitness and nutrition. The problem is only 25% of adults in the US exercise on a regular basis, and the very strong majority of Americans don’t eat a well-balanced diet daily.

This is what we like to call a recipe for disaster. 

If you’re not eating the right foods and drinking the right fluids, your body won’t have the nutrients or energy to function properly. And if you don’t have the energy, then your performance in the gym will suffer.

Whether you’re training for the Brooklyn Half Marathon or trying to lose a few pounds before summer rolls around, eating a healthy diet is just as important as exercising – you need both to reach your potential.

So, how can we better fuel our bodies? 

Eating a well-balanced diet requires a keen understanding of macronutrients and micronutrients – two words we’ve all heard of before, but what’s the difference between them? Let’s take a quick look: 

  • Macronutrients can be grouped into three different categories – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These nutrients are what the body breaks down for energy (or stores for energy later on). 
  • Micronutrients are primarily made of vitamins (water-soluble or fat-soluble) and minerals (trace minerals or macrominerals). They play a role in hundreds of processes happening in the body.

If you’re trying to get the most out of your health and fitness goals, then counting your macros (calories) and managing micronutrient intake is vital. Don’t worry – we’ll explain everything you need to know below!

Carbohydrates: Your Body’s Main Source of Energy

Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, are your body’s main source of energy. Some carbs are broken down right away, while others are digested over time – in fact, some carbs don’t get digested at all. 

Let’s take a look at the three different types of carbohydrates

  • Sugars - also known as simple carbohydrates, sugars are immediately broken down into glucose, fructose, and sucrose. They’re sent directly to cells, where they provide an instant energy boost.
  • Starches - also known as complex carbohydrates, starches take a little longer to digest but are eventually broken down into simple sugars before being converted and used as energy.
  • Fiber - a type of complex carbohydrate that the human body can’t digest. They primarily act as a source of food for the bacteria in your gut, which is vital for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

Furthermore, carbs can be broken down into one of two categories – refined (bad) and unrefined (good) carbs. The best sources of healthy carbs are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

COUNTING CALORIES: One gram of carbohydrates is equal to four calories. So, if your meal contains 20 grams of carbs, it’s equal to 80 calories. Carbs should make up about half of your daily calories. 

Fats: Your Body’s Secondary Source of Energy

Fat gets a bad rep, but it’s just as necessary as any other nutrient. And while most people try to avoid eating fat altogether, it’s not so much the amount that’s important – it’s the type of fat that matters. 

Let’s take a look at the three primary types of fat

  • Unsaturated Fat - also known as ‘healthy fats,’ unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and can be broken down into two categories: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
  • Saturated Fat - also known as ‘unhealthy fats,’ saturated fat is solid at room temperature and is commonly associated with heart disease and obesity. Try to replace it with unsaturated fats.
  • Trans Fat - also known as the ‘worst type of fat,’ trans fat is commonly found in beef and dairy fat. They are known to raise bad LDL, lower good HDL, and contribute to insulin resistance. 

Fat plays an essential role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (more on that later), but it can also be converted into energy (if needed). Excess fat is stored in fat cells, which duplicate and grow over time. 

COUNTING CALORIES: One gram of fat is equal to nine calories. So, if your meal contains 10 grams of fat, it’s equal to 90 calories. Total fat should make up about 25% of your diet, but target unsaturated fat.

Proteins: Your Body’s Experts in Cell-Building & Repair

And now for the third and final macro, protein is made up of amino acids – also known as the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids are those that the body doesn’t make naturally – on its own. 

There are two primary types of protein in food: 

  • Complete Protein - these proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, including histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. 
  • Incomplete Protein - these proteins are missing one or more essential amino acids. That doesn’t make incomplete protein bad, but it means you need to eat the right variety of incomplete protein.

Protein that comes from animals is almost always a complete protein, while protein that comes from plant sources is almost always incomplete protein. You can eat whichever, so long as you eat the essentials. 

COUNTING CALORIES: One gram of protein is equal to four calories (like carbohydrates). If your meal contains 20 grams of protein, it’s equal to 80 calories. We suggest 0.36 grams per pound of body weight.

Vitamins & Minerals: Necessary for Hundreds of Processes

Now that you have a better idea of what macronutrients are, how to count calories, and what types of macronutrients to target in your diet, let’s take a quick look at the different types of vitamins and minerals

First up are vitamins, which are normally classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Here’s the difference: 

  • Water-Soluble Vitamins - these vitamins only dissolve in water, meaning they can’t be stored in the body. Includes vitamins C and B-complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B4, B6, B7, B9, and B12). 
  • Fat-Soluble Vitamins - these vitamins are absorbed by dietary fats and are stored in fatty tissue and the liver. They stay in the body for days (even months). Includes vitamins A, D, E, and K. 

Next up, we have minerals – which can be broken down into trace minerals or macrominerals. Here’s the difference: 

  • Trace Minerals - these types of minerals are needed in very small amounts and include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium.
  • Macrominerals - these types of minerals are needed in larger amounts (though still small) and include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur.

Your body doesn’t need large amounts of vitamins or minerals – hence why they call them micronutrients. They’re involved in virtually every process happening in your body, whether you like it or not!

MANAGING INTAKE: Unlike macronutrients, micronutrients don’t provide direct energy – so they don’t contain calories. The easiest way to manage your intake is to look at the %DV on a nutrient facts label. 

PhysioRX: Where Fitness & Nutrition Take Center Stage!

Are you having a hard time fueling your body with the right nutrients? Have you been working out, but not seeing the results you were hoping for when you started? Do you want to supercharge your workouts? 

If you live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place!

At PhysioRX, we’re not your typical personal trainers – and this isn’t your typical workout program. Our hybrid approach combines both in-person sessions and at-home workouts – but we also have expertise in physical therapy and nutrition. We not only help you train, but also help you avoid injury and eat healthier. 

If you’re interested in taking control of your fitness and nutrition, click here to book a consultation with one of our experts. We can’t wait to help you transform your life!

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