To get truly amazing results with the HIIT workouts, you need to have a healthy HIIT nutrition plan. The body is a fantastic machine in which the proper nutrients play a key role for optimal functioning. A healthy, fit body requires the appropriate range of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates from a variety of food sources to provide all the building blocks for high energy and good health.
Understanding the Fueling Process
When you consider a diet, quite often the first thing you hear is to reduce or eliminate carbohydrates. While there is a certain degree of merit to that statement, it is a tremendous oversimplification that has a significant effect on your ability to exercise, especially the high endurance and intense activities of HIIT.
As a matter of fact, any ‘drastic’ dietary change such as overloading on protein or eating only fruits and vegetables results in tremendous challenges to the nutritional balance the body requires.
Misunderstandings regarding the nutritional requirements of the body and the need for the appropriate ‘fuel’ for the cells to function optimally are the primary reason many diets fail and can even result in gaining weight, particularly with the addition of an exercise program.
It’s All About Carbohydrates
Going back to the topic of carbohydrates, you can now see that removing them from the diet could present a problem. Here is the reason why: carbohydrates are the source of the energy that fuels muscle function.
The misunderstanding about carbohydrates comes from the fact that we think of ‘carbs’ as the elements in bread, pasta, cookies and such that pack on the fat. That is definitely true in a very broad sense but in strictly nutritional terms, carbohydrates in the body constitute the primary fuel supply that is broken down into smaller sugars that are used immediately for cellular energy or stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver or as fat in the body.
In cases of extreme carbohydrate deficiency, the body no longer has glycogen to use as fuel so it begins to metabolize its own protein. This leads to the breakdown of muscle, hair, bone and skin and forces the kidneys to work harder in order to eliminate the waste products associated with this type
of protein synthesis.
Just to be clear about the importance of dietary carbohydrates, these complex chains not only provide the energy needed for cellular growth and function but also:
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Provide nutrients for probiotics in the intestinal tract that promote proper digestion
- Aid in the absorption of calcium
- Assist in regulating blood pressure and controlling cholesterol levels
- Fuel the CNS (Central Nervous System) and the brain
A Healthy Clean HIIT Nutrition Plan
Your Body Needs All These Components Of Nutrition:
- Carbohydrates: So many people think these are bad and cut them out of their diet, but we need these daily to give us energy.
- Protein: This is needed to help the body repair itself and build tissue.
- Fats: (Yes, again, these are good, as long as it is good fat.) These help supply long-term energy so that the body is fully charged.
- Fiber: It is essential to help maintain good digestive health.
- Minerals: These are needed to help control metabolism and cellular activity.
- Vitamins: These simply help make the body work properly.
If you daily eat all these food components, you will feel in optimal health. But if you deprive your body of these nutrients, you won’t function properly! It‘s as simple as that!
The Importance of Size
Nowadays foods portions are way too big and have doubled and even tripled in size. so no wonder we are all getting bigger, as we are simply consuming too many calories. So know what size portions you should be eating. This is a simple tool to familiarize yourself with. And this guide of mine will help keep you on track, as size really does matter.
– Vegetables: small saucepan
–Lean meats: size of a deck of playing cards
–Pastas, pulses, grains, cereal: size of a tennis ball
–Cheese or dairy products: size of a matchbox
–Fruit: size of a tea cup
–Fish: size of a checkbook
–Oils, honey, and dressings: size of thimble
Your Diet and HIIT Workout
When you decide to participate in HIIT workouts, just like you should have some degree of fitness, you should also start with a relatively healthy diet. If you live on pizza and beer, take a few weeks of eating a more well-rounded diet aiming for better nutritional choices.
Equally as important, if you are on a highly restricted carbohydrate diet, allow some time for your body to adjust to eating more quality carbohydrates to ensure an adequate glucose supply to provide enough energy to successfully complete a workout.
Some additional dietary suggestions include:
- Eat breakfast every day
- Boost fruit and vegetable intake to 7 colorful servings per day and include lemons or lemon juice
- Take 10 g of fish oil per day
- Select foods rich in Omega-3 fat
- Eat a small portion of a lean protein with every meal and snack
- Make smart carb choices at each meal (starches and other low Glycemic Index carbs are preferable to sugars and other high GI carbs)
- Drink green tea and avoid caffeine (since it is a diuretic and removes needed fluid from the body)
- Consume whole foods along with herbs and spices* to help to ease inflammation, promote detoxification, aid digestion and assist in recovery (*Anise, Basil, Burdock, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Cloves, Cumin, Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng, Licorice, Milk Thistle, Mint, Nutmeg, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Schizandra, Thyme, Turmeric)
The Role of Meals
We’ve all heard that breakfast is important, but it’s particularly so when you’re exercising in the morning. A good breakfast provides a lot of the nutrients and energy needed to get the most out of your workouts. One of the healthy and delicious morning meals is oatmeal with berries and almond butter. A smoothie with protein powder gives your body a good boost—I really like one that incorporates frozen berries, almond milk, and chia seeds or chia pudding (simply, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 1 cup of almond milk, stirred together and left to set in the fridge overnight) blended with a little honey.
Lunch is a perfect time for incorporating energy-boosting foods that help conquer that mid-afternoon circadian slump that seems to hit around 2:00 p.m. A sandwich packed with veggies or a simple snack of turkey and avocado slices can make eating healthy on the go easy.
The last meal of the day should be packed with mouthwatering whole foods that fill you without making you feel stuffed (which can lead to grabbing a bunch of sugary snack foods before bed). Smart choices include a sushi roll bowl (cooked white rice with salmon, cucumber, avocado, nori strips, and sriracha), barbecue chicken with sweet potato and roasted green beans, or roasted chicken with a fresh veggie salad. On the lighter side, you could choose a Cobb salad with romaine, hard-boiled egg, turkey bacon, olives, and feta—just don’t forget to inspect the salad dressing’s ingredients before eating.
Fueling our workouts provides our bodies with the energy to make the most of them and optimizes muscle recovery. Here are some simple guidelines for what to look for in pre- and post-workout foods.
The benefits of doing cardio exercises while fasting, known as fasted cardio, has been well established. In the morning when your body is not using carbohydrates for energy (you’ve been sleeping, so they’ve already been burned), fasted cardio can kick you into a fat-burning state more quickly.
But not everyone can work out on an empty stomach. If you need pre-workout fuel, try something small that digests quickly, like a banana with a little peanut butter, a piece of toast, or fruit. If you’re working out later in the day, have a satisfying meal or snack an hour or so before your workout to help minimize digestive issues while you exercise.
You do not need to eat a huge meal after your workout. After strength training, try, instead, a combination of quality proteins, carbs, and a little bit of fat (like a piece of toast with turkey, hummus, and veggies or a smoothie with berries, almond milk, protein powder, and a little peanut butter).
It’s a myth that you need to eat within 60 minutes after your workout for optimal results, though with a fasted workout, you’ll absolutely need some fuel after you’re done. Just ensure you get enough protein, healthy carbs, and smart fats throughout the day. Protein, in particular, is important for preserving lean muscle while you’re training
Don’t Neglect Proper Hydration
The importance of water cannot be stressed enough! Especially when you are involved in vigorous activities and lose water through sweat, you need to diligently replace your body’s stores of liquid, preferably in the form of water. That can actually add up to 2 to 3 gallons (9 to 13 liters) of water per day when performing intense workouts!
There are several reasons why water is so important:
- It provides the fluidity to blood to transport oxygen and nutrients
- Water helps regulate body temperature
- Hydration facilitates digestion and other body functions
- Water helps flush out and remove cellular wastes and toxins.