Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
THREE of the most important and foundational things to consider when it comes to improving your health and fitness…
Nutrition can help or hinder almost every health and fitness goal. We talked about a few important things to do with nutrition last week (changes in weight are determined by total calories in vs calories out… not just calories burned in the gym. Macronutrients are the proteins, fats or carbs your food is made up of and even though energy balance is the foundation, macros still matter for various reasons. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals needed for health. Meal timing doesn’t matter much. Supplements don’t matter).
If you have weight management or muscle building/”toning” goals, ignoring nutrition has the potential to really hold back your progress. Normal people like you and I will not be able to out train poor nutrition for long, if at all. Competitive athletes might be able to, but won’t have to, because competitive athletes know the importance of prioritising nutrition (it’s part of how they became competitive).
We’ll talk a lot more about nutrition during the rest of the “lessons” I have planned but if you’re looking for something to do today consider trying some or all of these if you don’t already do them: Eat some form of protein with almost every meal (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes). Eat some form of fruit or vegetable with almost every meal. Drink a glass of water/zero calorie fluid before and with almost every meal.
You don’t have to do cardio for weight management. Get the calories you consume right relative to calories burned through eating the right amount and you never have to do exercise to burn calories at all. But you should do some form of cardio for the health of your heart and lungs. Use varying durations and intensities depending on needs and schedule (some high intensity, some medium but longer duration, some walking because it’s easy to recover from).
Note that you do not have to run if you don’t like it. You don’t have to do anything you don’t like. If you really like to run you’ll be more likely to do it more often (consistency) and that’s great! But if intensity is matched there isn’t any major benefit to running over dancing or skipping or anything else! Do what you enjoy. If you enjoy it you’re more likely to be consistent, and, as we stated last week: Consistency is where results live.
Even if you don’t care about building big muscles or looking toned you should do some form of resistance or strength training for your long term health (and yes, even if you don’t like it that much… it’s that important). People who are stronger before and as they get older are better able to hold on to their independence. Two sessions a week will do if you really don’t like it. Start with a half dozen exercises that will actually add to your life if you get better at them (for example if you get better at lunges climbing a hill or lots of stairs will be easier, if you get better at deadlifts lifting and carrying things in day to day life will be easier). Each time you do them, actively try to be better at them in some small way (an extra kilo, an extra rep, better technique, greater range of motion, less recovery between sets, more sets). Add in more exercises down the line if you want to.
If you’re not sure where to start: Some form of squat. Some form of hip hinge movement (deadlift is a great place to start). Some form of pushing movement (push ups, shoulder press). Some form of pulling movement (lat pulldown, inverted row). Some form of lunge. And, if you have time, some form of load carry (farmer’s walk, single arm farmer’s walk). Perform 3-5 rounds of 6-12 reps of each or max time in the case of the farmer’s walk. Keep notes. Check notes. Try to do better than last time. If you want more help search @AdamWrightPT on Instagram or Facebook.