No matter how much exercise you do – you are what you eat. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

6 nutrition rules to swear - Fuel 101 for fitness fanatics - PHOTO - Women's Health & Fitness

Up to 80 per cent of having a sustainable healthy body is due to good food choices. When you start to see the benefits of exercise, you’ll see this threefold combined with good nutrient-rich fresh foods. By the time your skin is glowing and you jump out of bed in the morning, you can be assured that your internal organs and functions are running optimally.

In a nutshell, you’ll want to follow these guidelines for looking, feeling and training at your personal best:

1. Carbohydrates are not evil.

They are a necessary part of your nutritional mix, as nature intended. It is important to select the right forms of carbohydrates. Anything man made should be avoided as our bodies are not designed to break down and assimilate all those chemicals and artificial flavours. Examples of healthy, energy-providing carbs that won’t spike your insulin levels:

  • Dark rye or stoneground flour toast with natural peanut butter as a pre-cycle option

  • Oats

  • Rice (including rice pastas)


  • White breads, pastas, packaged rolls, processed carbs, fried foods, ‘nutrient enriched’ breads

  • Carb-loaded drinks and bars with ingredients you can’t pronounce

  • Anything with fructose corn syrup added.

2. Eat protein after you exercise.

Protein repairs muscles, supports the immune system and is vital for the healthy function of organs and your body’s biodynamic function.

3. Good fats are essential!

Essential healthy fats oil your joints and are crucial for eyesight, brain and organ function. Not manmade processed fats and oils. Instead hunt for these in your market or supermarket aisle and stock up each week. Avocado, cashews, almonds, macadamia, non-farmed non-GM salmon.

4. Consume amino acids

Our body does not produce amino acids – but they are found in food sources.

5. Vitamins and minerals from nutrient-rich food

Fresh vegetables and fruit are nature’s supplements. Rather than being stripped out of plants as extracts, you are getting the minerals and vitamins in their ideal combination to work at their optimal levels.

The darker the colour of the vegetable, the better it is for you. Vegetables and fruits also contain essential water, which hydrates the body and aids the transportation of sugars, fats, carbs and nutrients throughout your body.

6. Nothing beats good-quality filtered water.

At least 2.5 litres per day to keep your body ticking over like a well-oiled machine. Ditch the high-fructose ‘sports drinks’ and opt for water along with a balanced diet. Once you start to go over and above two hours on the bike, you can add a natural electrolyte powder from a reputable company that does not add aspartame, sweeteners and artificial elements. Magnesium and potassium are key for recovery of the muscles as well.


Guzzling sports drinks during a workout

To many women the food and drink in their fridge is a true reflection of their lifestyle. A fridge that’s stocked with a wide range of condiments states that you eat out a lot.
The number-one thing your fridge reveals is your eating habits! A fridge stocked with nutritional foods and drinks indicates that you care about your health. So should you be opening your fridge to find sports drinks?

Nowadays it’s the in thing and it's become routine to consume sports drinks during and after a workout for refreshment. These work well if you require rehydration during an extended workout, but if you're going for just a couple of hours, then stick with water as you don't need the extra electrolytes and calories.

A common nutrition mistake

A mistake you may be making is using sports drinks far too often around your workout. Water along with a good pre and post-workout meal will do the job impeccably. Sports drinks may seem like a healthy choice, reinvigorating you with their refreshing taste, but when it comes to maintaining clean and hygienic teeth, we would recommend avoiding soft drinks.

The reasons for this are tasty drinks – soft drinks, coffee, tea – all contain a dark pigment that may stain your teeth. Soft drinks may discolour your teeth, and in worst cases, it may be permanent.

After exercising, you may think that drinking cold and refreshing soft drinks are the best, especially because it’s icy cold. But the disadvantages are that these drinks contain a lot of acid and dyes that will really weaken your tooth enamel, along with destroying your teeth after consistent use, making them more susceptible to cavities. So while they may taste and feel good, you are doing your teeth a great disadvantage if you continue to guzzle these sugary drinks.

Using a substitute for calorie-rich energy drinks:

Energy drinks are famous for their high sugar content. Even one small drink may comprise of more than 100 calories. Energy drinks are also loaded with caffeine, which can result in irritability, anxiety and sleeping issues. Other ingredients such as taurine, ginseng and Ginkgo biloba are said to boost energy. For women who are seeking energy and hydration, look for a drink that has zero sugar and calories.

Whatever the case, you should also see a dentist every six months for a check-up. Most women should already be prepped on proper dental etiquette: flossing once every 24 hours and brushing twice a day for around two minutes; not eating or drinking anything for 30 minutes after using mouthwash. Bond Street Dental or Malo Clinic are some of the dentists who will ensure your teeth are getting that special attention. If proper steps are not taken, this may lead to permanent stains and tooth decay on your pearly whites. This is why it’s so important to achieve optimal health, which is the key to all facets of living a healthy life.


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