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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:


Photo credit: Fresh Caught Trout on a Salade Niçoise base. via photopin (license)

Nutrition is a topic that I like to call “simply complicated,” where the fundamentals of nutrition are so simple, yet the deeper you go the more complicated it gets. What I can tell you is the fundamentals of nutrition have always remained the same. When it comes to your health and performance, nutrition must be your first-stop and primary focus.

But before we look at nutrition, I am going to let you in on a secret. A secret that will allow you to get the best results possible.

The secret to long-lasting results and better health and performance is patience and consistency.

I know right, it sounds too simple to be true. You were waiting for something far more detailed weren’t you? Well, the truth of the matter is that there is a deeper aspect to this, but ultimately if you are patient and consistent with a healthy nutrition plan and exercise regime you will get results that you can maintain for a lifetime.

So now that you know ‘the secret’ let’s talk about the fundamentals of nutrition.

Nutrition Fundamentals

Nutrition is the baseline for your health; it’s the most important aspect. So with the most common goal in society these days being for individuals to lose weight, you need to know ‘the weight loss equation’. This being Energy In Vs Energy Out. Sounds simple, right? Ultimately this means that if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight or if you eat fewer calories than you burn, then you will lose weight. If you find the number somewhere in the middle, that’s how you’ll maintain your weight.

By now you’re probably asking yourself a few questions, such as:
1. What are calories?
2. Where do they come from?
3. What calories are best, protein, fats or carbs?

So let’s see if I can answer these for you. Firstly, what we need to understand is eating in a caloric deficit or having a low-calorie intake for long periods, such as years, in an attempt to lose weight can be damaging long-term to your health. So rather than constantly trying to reduce the number of calories you consume look at what you’re eating.

What are Calories?

Calories are a form of energy or fuel that our bodies use to function. We eat food and drink fluids that contain calories and our body then converts this food and drink into energy so that we can move, talk and carry out daily living. If we consume too much food and drink, or poor quality foods and drinks, then we consume more calories than we need, and we gain weight.

Where Do Calories Come From?

Our calories come from three main sources that fall under the banner of “macronutrients” or “macros”, which is a more commonly used word these days. These macros being:

  • Proteins;
  • Fats; and
  • Carbs.

What Calories are Best?

Not all macros are not created equally. For example, 1 gram of carbs or protein contains approximately 4 kcals or units of energy, whereas 1 gram of fat contains 9 kcals. The macros we consume therefore make-up the total amount of calories that we consume for the day. For instance, 1600 kcals will be made-up of your three macros.

So let’s take a quick look at how our bodies burn calories to determine which calories are best for our body.

We burn calories all day long and in a number of different ways. The majority of these calories are burned from your every-day movement, which is also known as your ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’ or BMR. Your BMR is the amount of calories that your body requires to function on a daily basis at rest. This number can account for up to approximately 70% of your daily calories. Next, you have exercise or added activity which will account for 15% – 25%, and lastly eating or digestion which can account for the last 10%. So as you can see, our every-day function is a primary driver in burning calories on a daily basis. This number varies for every person and is based on your own physiological make-up.

Surprisingly exercise or added activity in your daily calorie burn does not account for as big of a number of calorie burn as many individuals would expect. Of course, this varies from person-to-person due to the amount of muscle they have. The more muscle, the larger your BMR will be as you’ll burn more energy.

Therefore, the best calories to consume are those that are high in nutrients, vitamins, and essential oils, which give us the greatest amount of energy, without compromising quality.  Your nutrition choices will have the greatest impact not only on your aesthetics but also on your overall health and performance. Our Bodies respond to the fuel we put in, the better the quality of food you eat, the better your body will respond. The benefits include a stronger immune system, more efficient weight control, a strong mind, strong muscles, strong bones, disease and injury prevention and slowing down the ageing process.

We need to change our focus from just aesthetic results and focus on health, performance and functionality to gain and maintain maximum results. This means exercising with purpose to improve your body’s ability, rather than exercising to alleviate poor nutrition choices and refrain from using exercise as a punishment tool. No matter how hard you try, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

P.S If you’re wondering how you can build muscle, then it’s time to hit the gym and consume better quality foods and drink. This means lifting weights, often, moderate to heavy and with precise technique accompanied with a wholesome diet of good quality protein, carbs and a little bit of fat.

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael MeredithMichael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column are based on the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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