New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

Jan 4th 2019

With a new year here, you may find yourself contemplating the past year and determining goals for 2019. While some people lament that no one ever keeps their New Year’s resolutions, this is not entirely true. Many goal-minded people succeed in accomplishing what they set out to do at the beginning of the year.

New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

(Pixabay / tortugadatacorp)

Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around fitness and health. Whether it be eating better or exercising more, people who are interested in improving their overall health generally start strong at the beginning of the year. However, busy schedules begin to get in the way of exercising and time crunches make getting junk food, rather than cooking your own meals, a more convenient option. Before you know it, you may find that you’ve been derailed from your quest to become healthier.

Before you give up, though, consider drawing some inspiration from NBA players. Some of the greatest examples of fitness and health out there are professional athletes. While athletes spend most of their time training, their enviable physique is a combination of intense exercise, healthy eating, and discipline. The needs of players differ from sport to sport and from player to player. For example, NBA players need a range of 6,000 to 7,000 calories per day while training and playing to have the required energy to perform. However, the food they eat needs to be filling and have all the nutrients they need to keep them going throughout the day.

While the nutritional needs of NBA players are vastly different from the average person, many of them have habits that are very useful for people looking to live healthier in 2019. Here are just a few of those habits:

1. They eat breakfast — When you go long periods of time without eating, your body begins to store fat because it starts to think that it’s starving. In this mode, your body will want to save what you consume just in case it constitutes your last meal. Eating breakfast each day can help solve this problem. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of breakfast. The most important nutrient that your muscles need in the morning is protein. Eating eggs, which are high in protein, will give your muscles energy, especially if you are working out afterward.

You should avoid sugary cereals, as they are low in nutrients and also don’t keep you feeling full. If the foods you are eating aren't filling you up, there's a greater chance that you will snack on foods later in the day to curb your hunger. And more often than not, when we snack, we pick unhealthy foods. So make sure your breakfast will keep your hunger at bay until your next meal.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Utah’s Donovan Mitchell on game day. For home games, he eats pancakes, waffles, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, while having smaller meals of salads for lunch and dinner before the game. While this seems like a lot of food, for an athlete like Mitchell, he needs to make sure he has enough calories in his body to keep up his energy on the court. If you’re not a professional basketball player, you shouldn't attempt to eat as much as Mitchell does. 

2. They get their nutrients from food — One costly mistake that people make when trying to eat healthier while exercising is to rely on supplements to meet their nutritional needs. While supplements can be helpful for those who are anemic, most nutritionists agree that it’s better to get vitamins and minerals from the food you’re eating, rather than relying on supplements. This can be easy to do if you’re picking the right kind of foods to eat.

Oatmeal is an excellent example of a nutrient-dense food. It’s high in protein as well as rich in other nutrients, such as phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, iron, magnesium, and thiamin. These features make oatmeal an ideal candidate for breakfast or a snack, as long as you aren’t adding excessive amounts of sugar to the mixture.

Additionally, absorbing vitamins and minerals becomes more difficult as you get older. If you are trying to get fit, but are also older, it may be beneficial for you to take supplements so that your body isn’t deficient in any essential nutrients.

3. They save carbs for high-intensity workout days — While dieters generally cut carbs first, they are an essential part of your diet if you work out regularly. Since carbohydrates fuel your body and give you energy, if you don’t eat enough carbs before a workout, you may begin to feel tired or sluggish before you should.

Remember that the type of carbs you eat is important. Simple carbohydrates like white bread, candy, and drinks with sugar may give you a burst of energy, but they won’t have the same longevity or health benefits as the complex carbohydrates found in fruits, beans, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. An hour before a high-intensity workout, you should eat a small amount of complex carbohydrates that are slow to digest. Some options could include whole grains, beans, nuts, or fruits and vegetables. After the workout, you should consume fast-digesting carbs like white rice, corn flakes, or oatmeal to increase your energy quickly.

On days when you aren’t doing intense workouts, you should consume fewer carbs, otherwise, the excess amount could be stored as fat.

4. They prioritize protein — Most people know that protein is one of the essential nutrients that you can put into your body if you are trying to be leaner. Protein doesn’t only build muscle, but it helps your metabolism move along so you can burn fat. Good protein sources include nuts, chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, Greek yogurt, quinoa, and grass-fed beef.

You should aim to eat around 1 gram of protein for each pound you weigh. Consuming protein during the 30 minutes after a workout can help your muscles recover and become stronger.

While exercising and being more mindful of the food you put in your body can help improve your overall health, there will be times when you will be too busy to exercise or lack the willpower to pass up a sweet treat. That’s OK—everybody gets lax sometimes. Don’t get discouraged and get back on track as soon as possible. Prove all of those New Year’s resolution doubters wrong by staying committed to your fitness goals in 2019.