Eat well, look and feel great

So summer is here, with the usual plethora of campaigns for clothes, beach bodies and amazing diets. With hard work and commitment, we can make some noticeable changes to our physiques – though not quite on a par with the images we see displayed; the faces and bodies of professional models and athletes, using all the tricks of the trade – be it make-up, lighting or Photoshop. Conversely, we are real; with jobs, careers, time constraints, social lives and budgets.

So what can we do?

The key thing is to get our eating habits right. For the majority of us, this means we need to place this as a number one priority above exercise. The adage ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet’ is particularly true.  Whereas exercise can constitute up to 3-4 hours per week, our eating is seven days per week; and this will be the difference between looking and feeling mediocre, or looking and feeling great 

So how can we make this into something simple that will work?

  • Try to eat healthily and in line with your goals and energy needs for six days per week; allow yourself to be more relaxed and even a little indulgent one day per week. 
  • Eat the right mix of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Despite whatever the latest diet craze says, we need all of them; it's quantity, balance and timing that makes the difference.
  • Make the most of the wonderful seasonal foods available; the fresher the food, the more packed it will be with nutrients – as summer hits the northern hemisphere; the UK and Europe provides an abundance of vegetable and fruits,

Below are some fruits and vegetables to look out for:

Fruits: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, plums and gooseberries, as well as peaches and other soft fruits from across The Channel – are great sources of anti-oxidants, particularly anthocyanins,  – which have been associated with a lowered risk of certain cancers, and a positive impact on memory and aging.

Vegetables: spinach, watercress, radishes, courgette, sweetcorn, beetroot and runner beans provide a great source of anti-oxidants, B vitamins, and fibre; as well as being hugely influential on our metabolism and much more.

And finally, if you’d like to a little bit of extra reading:

Did you know beetroot can enhance our athletic performance? 

And broad beans are not as bland as you might think.

Here’s to a hot, healthy and happy summer…

Nick Owen is the Club's resident nutritionist and is available for one-to-one sessions with members and non-members. Check out his profile

ymca | 17 June 2014