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How to achieve healthy body composition changes

Trinity Sport Fitness Instructor Mark McGauran gives his nutrition tips for healthy body composition changes

Published: April 28th, 2020, 15:00hrs

Today, there is an immense pressure on young people to look and be a certain way. With the explosion of social media over the past ten years, there is more information out there on nutrition and training then there’s ever been. Extremes of anything rarely work and aren't sustainable, this is especially true of nutrition and training. Here are some tips for healthy body composition changes:

Sleep is king:

Sleep is king, without 7-9 hrs of restful sleep we will struggle to reach our health goals. Set up your very own bat cave, keep the room as dark as possible and remove devices that have LEDs. Write up to ten lines of a grateful log before you sign off.

Carbohydrates - friend or foe?

'Carbs' are the optimal fuel for brain and body, but they have been getting a pretty bad rap in the last number of years. They are incredibly nutritious food and you cannot expect to perform optimally without enough intake of carbohydrates. Timing, type and amount are important. Instead of changing how much and which type of carbohydrate to eat, some people just drop them completely. Familiarise yourself with the Glycaemic Index (G.I.) of foods, especially carbohydrates. The G.I. is a measure of how fast a food raises your blood sugar. Low G.I. carbs tend to be higher in fibre and nutrients. Consume low to medium G.I. carbohydrates during the day such as apples, berries, steamed brown rice, lentils, boiled sweet potato, quinoa. Higher G.I. carbs can be used before or after training.

Protein comes from the Greek word Proteios 'Primary or first place', fitting!

We need protein to repair and build new muscle from our workouts. You don’t need to overdose on protein (the body can only utilise so much) but adding a little protein to all our meals, lowers the overall G.I. of that meal and helps to balance blood sugar, making it more conducive to body composition changes. Protein has a thermic effect, which means the body uses energy / calories to break down and digest it, thus contributing to overall calorie expenditure. Balance meat and fish intake with vegetarian sources like lentils and beans (also great sources of fibre)

Fats - the good, the bad and the ugly

Fat is calorically dense so don’t over consume. Monounsaturated fat is heart-healthy example olive oil, avocado. The omega-3's found in fatty fish have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (you can better utilise the sugars from carbs), reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol ratios. Saturated fat has been linked to heart disease so use something like butter sparingly. Trans-fatty acids are to be avoided completely but thankfully are seen less and less in foods.

Resistance training and HIIT

Resistance training has been scientifically proven to improve insulin sensitivity, again, this is key to healthy body composition. Building a small amount of muscle will boost our metabolisms, even at rest. Resistance training can be a kettlebell class or Multifit class. HIIT training has been shown to burn more fat than slow state steady cardio but don’t overdo it! (4-6 weeks is plenty), as it is very taxing on the nervous system. Try Tabata’s or a HIIT spin class. Low to moderate cardio training still has its place and is great for recovery days.

Don't forget to drink water

It helps transports nutrients around the body and helps gets rid of waste.