A very famous saying goes that “You are
what you ...
Physical Fitness and Nutrition
A very famous saying goes that “You are
what you eat” and it is right in that the human body can take what a person is
eating and make them work for or against the individual. When it comes to
instances that a person is taking part in a wellness program or wants to have a
good diet, having a proper nutrition is fundamental (Hopper et al., 2008). Good nutrition, on the
other hand, means that there is an intake of the proper amounts and quality of
calories, the macronutrients and also the micronutrients. They all have a role
to play in the human body and hence the need to ensure that they are included
in the diet of an individual. It is also imperative for very particular to
learn the importance of all the nutrients that they take up and also the best
time to take them to ensure that they maintain a proper nutrition and prepare
their bodies for the wellness programs (Hopper et al., 2008). The nutrients the
substances that are needed for growth to occur, metabolism and also for other
body functions. The nutrients in the food that we take may be broken down into
fundamental types which are the macronutrients needed in large amounts and the
micronutrients needed in smaller quantities. Every type of nutrient has its
unique functions in the body and also leads to a form of interaction with the
other nutrients to ensure that they all carry out their duties efficiently and
effectively (Mercola, 2015).
Macronutrients and Micronutrients
The macronutrients are the structural
and energy giving foods that contain high calories. They are needed in large
amounts for an individual depending on the intensity of the activities that
they may be engaging in at a particular time. The macronutrients include the
carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are usually needed in colossal amounts
(Bird, 2015). Whereas each of the macronutrients provide energy in the form of
calories, they all have varying levels and amounts of calories that they may
provide. The carbohydrates provide up to 4 calories per gram; the proteins have
four calories per gram whereas fats have up to 9 calories per gram (Mercola, 2015). Therefore, if a particular
food that an individual, intend to consume is said to contain 10 grams of
carbohydrates, then it means that it contains 40 calories in total (Bird, 2015).
Besides the fats, proteins and carbohydrates, Alcohol also provides calories
but cannot be classified as macronutrient because we do not need it for
survival. The macronutrients provide up to the 90% of the body’s dry weight of
the diet and also provides the 100% of the energy delivered to the body (Bird,
2015). The nutrients also differ in the speed at which they are converted to
supply energy to the body with carbohydrates being the quickest and the fats
are the slowest of the three. They are also broken down or digested in the intestines
and are broke into different basic units. The carbohydrates are broken down
into sugars while the proteins are converted to amino acids and fats digested
into fatty acids and glycerol (Bird, 2015).
Micronutrients are essential for the
daily biological processes of an individual and may include the Vitamins,
minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants which are necessary
for maintaining good health. They are needed in relatively lower amounts as
compared to the macronutrients required to be taken by an individual. The
micronutrients and the macronutrients are dependent on one another and hence
are key to being consumed together for the proper functioning of the body (Hopper et al., 2008). For example, the
vitamin Bs may help the body of a person to metabolize the macronutrients, and
the Vitamin C may also be critical in allowing the human body to absorb iron
that is fundamental for the transportation of oxygen. The nutrients coexist and
work together to ensure that the body works together and kept healthy while at
the same time optimizes its functioning. The body on the other hand, therefore,
uses the basic units to build the substances needed for growth, activity, and
In 1838 a Dutch chemist named Gerardus
Mulder coined the word protein from the Greek word “protos” that means “of
prime importance.” The human body majorly composed of proteins that closely
follow water in the composition of the body (Brandon, 2009). The body primarily
needs the proteins for repair, to build and maintain the muscle tissues. The
proteins are usually broken into amino acids that are often called the building
blocks of protein. The amino acids are around 20 of them of which nine of them
are essential. Since the human body cannot make them on its own but must be
supplied in the human diet.
proteins are enzymes that are critical at speeding up the actions such as
digestion of carbohydrates and also the synthesis of cholesterol by the liver.
are also some proteins that are hormones and hence are created in one part of
the body and then transferred to another carrying messages meant for another
body organ or part of the body. For instance, there is glucagon and insulin
made in the pancreas and is then transported throughout the body ensuring that
the blood glucose is regulated (Riccardi et. al., 2004).
of the proteins also provide a structure such as a collagen that is used in the
formation of bones, skin and teeth while the nails and hair are dependent on
protein keratin (Brandon, 2009).
also some proteins that act as antibodies and hence indicates the need for
proteins to be present to make sure that the body’s defense mechanism is secure
(Brandon, 2009). Without sufficient proteins, then the person’s immune system
may not be able to defend the person against pathogens adequately.
proteins are also critical to maintaining the fluid balance in the body (Hopper et al., 2008). With fluids being
present in the majority of the body’s compartments, there is need to keep the
balance. Moreover, proteins are too big to pass through membranes and therefore
separate the chambers and also attract water thus maintaining the proper fluid
are also essential for transporting nutrients and also other nutrients within
the body. Some proteins exist within the cell membranes and help at pumping the
compounds in and out of the cell. Other proteins attach themselves to nutrients
and also other molecules to engage in their transportation to other parts of
the body (Brandon, 2009).
proteins are also instrumental in maintaining a high acid-base balance which is
critical for human survival. The body
adjusts its acid-base by using the proteins as buffers.
proteins are stored as backup sources of energy in case of lower intakes of
glucose or carbohydrates.
It is imperative that the diet of an
individual contain complete proteins in that they have all the needed amino
acids. If the diet has an incomplete protein, it means that some amino acids
are missing. The Complete proteins are found in animal proteins and soy (Hopper et al., 2008). The incomplete proteins
lacking some amino acids include the beans, vegetables, nuts, and grains. These
are the plant sources of protein and do not contain all the essential amino acids.
The critical times to take proteins is in the morning in combination with
simple carbohydrates since the body is in a catabolic state and that one has
not eaten since dinner (Mercola, 2015).
The carbohydrates provide up to
approximately 45% to 65% of the body’s calories (Brandon, 2009). Sugar
molecules are the most basic structures of carbohydrates and classified
according to the number of sugars that they may contain. They are the body’s
primary source of fuel and are easily used by the body for energy since
virtually all the cells in the human body can use glucose as a source of
energy. Utilized by the major organs such as the kidneys, the brain and the
heart in their functioning. They may be stored in the muscles and liver and
then later used as a source of energy and are very essential in intestinal
health and waste elimination by the human body (Brandon, 2009). They are found
in some starchy foods such as grains and potatoes, milk, fruits and even
yogurt, there are also some plant products such as bean, vegetables, and nuts
but are present in lesser amounts.
There are some of the types of
carbohydrates that the human body is not in a position to digest. Such
carbohydrates include fiber and may pass through the intestinal tract intact to
help in the removal of wastes from the human body (Brandon, 2009). Any diets
taken in and are low in fiber may result in constipation, hemorrhoids and even
lead to an increased risk of some cancers such as the colon cancer. Taking
diets rich in fiber as a source of carbohydrates reduces the risk to heart
diseases, obesity and are also key to lowering cholesterol. Some of the foods
that have high fiber include fruits, vegetables, and some whole grain products.
They may be classified into simple
carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates are usually
naturally present in fresh fruit, milk and also some processed foods; commonly
referred to as sugars. The simple carbohydrates may also be single sugars
called monosaccharides, or they may also be disaccharides if they are more than
one sugar molecule. Glucose which is a monosaccharide is one of the most
abundant sources of energy to the human brain. The most common disaccharides
are the sucrose, table sugar and also the lactose. Lactose is the source of the
gas that most people experience bloating immediately they take milk. The
complex carbohydrates are those that contain more than two sugar molecules.
They may have a bad reputation for
causing obesity and weight gain, but some fats are critical for survival. 20%
to 35% of the calories in a diet should come from fats (Mercola, 2015). The fats are essential for
healthy growth and development of the individual’s body ad fat is also the most
concentrated source of energy and is, therefore, necessary for energy giving.
Fats are also critical for the absorption of some vitamins such as Vitamins, A,
E, D, K and also arytenoids.
Fat is mostly found in some foods such
as meat, milk products, fish among others. Three main fats include the
saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and the Trans fat. Saturated fats are found
in meat and butter while the Trans fat found in baked products, fried foods,
and even margarine. Unsaturated fats are primarily found in foods like
avocados, nuts, olive oil and even canola oil. It is imperative that an
individual replaces the saturated and Trans fat with unsaturated fats to reduce
the risk of developing heart diseases.
How do they help in fitness and muscle
Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are
essential for muscle development and fitness of an individual (Mercola, 2015). It is important that they all
be taken in balanced quantities and qualities to ensure that muscle development
occurs and one remains fit.
Proteins are essential for fitness and
muscle development primarily because proteins are the basic body building
blocks that an individual requires. It is vital for the muscle growth and
repair of the body tissues (Mercola, 2015). The body can also use the
stored proteins as a source of energy in case the carbohydrates have been
depleted. However, an individual should also engage in strength training or
exercise to build more muscle. It is because, if one takes too much protein, it
will be stored as fat, increases the chances of dehydration and also lead to
the loss of calcium.
Carbohydrates are essential to
providing the necessary energy in fitness and also muscle development exercises
(Mercola, 2015). Mostly stored in the muscles
and liver is hence leading to further muscle development. It is, therefore,
imperative that an individual takes up carbohydrates if it takes an hour at
exercising and also one may need to take more of the carbohydrates during and
after the exercises if I take more than an hour.
Fat intake is essential for the daily
diet of an individual. The human body heavily relies on fats to supply enough
energy to the muscles during activity. There is, however, the need to focus on
consuming the heart healthy fats that include olive oil, walnuts, almonds,
avocados and fatty fish such as salmons and trout. The fats contain up to twice
the number of calories as the proteins, and the carbohydrates may contain (Mercola, 2015).
Supplements may prove to be essential to ensuring that
the necessary nutrients for building muscles and also fitness are present. It
makes the nutrient intake easier and also offers an advantage while enhancing
training especially if taken in combination with a proper diet. They are
however not the replacements or substitutes for food since they may not contain
all the nutrients that the body may require. Their role is to ensure that
certain nutrients that may be difficult to be taken in enough quantities are
taken for the purpose of building muscle and fitness.