Misconceptions where fitness and health are concerned exist, and the idea that everyone who works out wants to be fit and flex is one of them.
But Awonke Mfaka from Randburg, Mncedi Meje from Cape Town and Andisiwe Cetyiwe from Makhanda believe that people train for different reasons, but constant in their fitness journey is their nutrition – what you eat is more important than anything else.
Makhanda based radio personality, Cetyiwe (21) says even though his initial goal was to lose weight, he has realised that nutrition plays the bigger role.
“I started working because I wanted to lose weight and keep my body active. I also wanted to work on certain parts of my body so that they can look good. But I learnt that it is important to eat the right foods when on a fitness journey and have a good balance,” he says.
“Eating nutritious food help you reach your goals faster, especially building muscle.”
Since the beginning of his working out journey, Cetyiwe has been eating:
- Food rich in protein like steak and chicken
- A lot of vegetables
- A couple of eggs after each session
- He also cut off some starches like potatoes, rice, and normal bread
Meanwhile, 28 years old body builder, Awonke Mfaka says he now works out because it has always been his passion.
‘Fitness and Heath, same WhatsApp group‘
In his experience, Mfaka says anyone intending to start working out should make sure that they marry fitness and nutrition together because “they go hand in hand.”
“While nutrition complements your training, it is essential for active individuals to have a good nutrition for muscle recovery and other recoveries after working out,” he says. “With proper nutrition you able to see the results of your hard work faster,” Mfaka adds.
Mfaka’s diet includes:
“I have an off-season consisting of high carbs, that helps me to pick up muscle mass. For competitions or photoshoots, he gets on a less carbs and high protein diet.
“Understanding what you consume is very important in this fitness industry, remember, you are what you eat because your body is determined by what you eat,” he adds.
Former Mr Worlds SA top 10 finalist Mncedi Meje from Somerset is what he eats and does at the gym. He says he started working out because “setting and achieving fitness goals helps me set and achieve goals in every aspect of my life,” he says.
Meje’s diet is filled with:
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
- And low-fat dairy products
Nutrition for fitness junkies
Registered dietician Leepile Mantjane advises that when trying to lose weight you need to, at least, know your ideal body weight and go on a lower caloric diet than what you are currently consuming.
This is because you don’t want to either undereat and “end up with depleted energy stores, damaged organs and muscles. Or overeat and delay your weight loss progress and/or make yourself gain even more weight,” she says.
Mantjane says while speaking to a sports nutritionist regarding this journey, it is important that start up gym fanatics understand the basic principle of nutrients where working out is concerned.
“Knowing the types of food to eat for your fitness goals is very important. For instance, someone who does high intensity exercises like running, jump rope, HIIT aerobics, etc. might require high carbs to replenish their energy post exercises.
She further adds that until you consult a sports nutritionist, a balanced diet with the following food combinations is very important:
- Wholegrain carbohydrates: The right carbs are like bottomless source of energy. Mantjane suggests healthy carbs like, oats, bran flakes, Mabele (soft porridge), brown rice and wholewheat bread.
- Lean Protein: Meat is good for preventing muscle damage, Mantjane says. Add
- meat, poultry, legumes, eggs, milk to your diet.
- Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are good for better metabolism, blood and oxygen flow and bone health. Mantjane suggests B-vitamins, Iron and calcium respectively, differently coloured fruits and vegetables.
- Healthy fats and oils: Include avocados and select nuts.