Can your diet make you fitter?

We’ve all heard the advice from our personal trainers that exercise alone won’t help us achieve our weight loss goals. From portion control to banting, they all have a food philosophy that they live by. It’s the time spent sweating that will however benefit your heart health and overall fitness. But now scientists from Skidmore College have shown that a healthy diet tweak can also help you get fitter, faster.

“It's not about simply eating less calories and doing more exercise. It's about eating the right foods at the right time and incorporating a combination of exercises that most effectively promotes health and fitness,” Skidmore College exercise scientist Paul Arciero told Science Daily. The journal goes on to report that when the trial ended, Arciero and his team found that although both groups improved on nearly every measure, those who had followed the protein-pacing and antioxidant-rich diet showed the greatest improvements in fitness, including upper body muscular endurance and power, core strength, and blood vessel health (reduced artery stiffness) among female participants; and upper and lower body muscular strength and power, aerobic power, and lower back flexibility among male participants.

The research promotes the benefits of consuming moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout the day (protein-pacing). It makes sense. To get fitter, you have to build more lean muscle. And to do this, you have to increase your protein intake. Of course you’re not going to achieve much if you don’t watch your calorie intake when you up your protein…

Some other tweaks to your diet that will help improve your fitness include sticking to as natural foods as possible. Foods that are not processed are higher in nutrients – stuff your body needs to energise and repair. Also, don’t get rid of carbs altogether. Carbohydrates provide your system with a source of energy – something you’ll need plenty of if you’re working out. Remember to stick to high quality complex carbs, such as whole grains.

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