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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

The Fitness Puzzle: Nutrition, Workout, and Recovery

460050857Along the way, I have learned that fitness and wellness can seem quite complicated. Various mentors, self-described gurus, professors, doctors, and muscle magazines have provided us all with enough quick fixes, miracle workouts, and “sound” advice to help us become the person we want to become (and also fill an encyclopedia). Probably the best advice anyone has given me would be the old saying, “Find something you love to do, do it, and do it well.” If you do not love any form of fitness, whether it is ice hockey or Zumba, at least find something that you can put up with, such as outdoor hiking or gardening, and do it well.

There can be any number of pieces to a puzzle, but we will focus on three. While missing puzzle pieces make it harder to see the big picture, having no puzzle pieces makes it impossible to see your potential outcome. On the other hand, with all three pieces of this puzzle in place, there is no reason you will be unable to fulfill your goals and realize your potential.

The Pieces of the Puzzle

Here are the pieces:

  1. Nutrition: Most importantly, you should be aware of the number of calories you are consuming each day, how frequently are you eating, and the quality of food you are eating. There are registered dietitians who specialize in nearly every aspect of wellness, whether it is for weight loss or sports nutrition.
  2. The Workout: Comprised of both resistance training and cardiovascular work, we always seem to think this is the hard part, but it can be easier than you think. Think about how many hours there are in a week (168). Then think about how many hours you are recommended to exercise each week (a minimum of 2.5). Also, you have a built-in support network when you work out with friends, and especially with instructors there to help along the way. (Here are more reasons to work out with friends or a group.)
  3. Recovery: Recovery is not always associated with the big picture, but it’s equally important. This encompasses everything from getting a good night’s sleep, to getting a massage or foam rolling, to proper hydration. Really, all that matters here is readying your body properly for another workout, maximizing your potential, and decreasing chances for injury.

The Pieces Work Together

Getting back to the puzzle analogy: If I were to have an amazing two-hour workout but then followed it up with gas station pizza and then pulled an all-nighter with my buddies, I’m probably not going to see results. That example goes without saying, but there are plenty of distracters out there to sabotage your puzzle and big picture.

Focus on your weakest puzzle pieces and try to make them one of your strengths. Understand that there will be slipups and hiccups along the way, but ultimately, if you can find the three puzzle pieces of the fitness analogy, there will be very little that stands between you and fitness prosperity.

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: exercise fitness nutrition motivation goal setting group fitness recovery