March is National Nutrition Month AND our annual Barre Stronger Challenge, fueled by Perfect Bar & supported by Territory Foods. All around the country, Pure Barre members are taking on the challenge of completing 20 classes in 31 days. One of the keys to successfully completing the Barre Stronger Challenge is maintaining proper nutrition to stay energized through each tuck and every hold!
In fact, nutrition is a critical component of any fitness program, and it's essential to pay attention to what you're eating if you want to achieve your fitness goals. Protein, in particular, plays a vital role in fitness & nutrition, but before we dive into that, let's talk about what nutrition is and why it’s so important.
What is nutrition?
Nutrition is the study of nutrients and how food nourishes our body, and it is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition can give us energy to go through our day, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and improve our overall well-being.
The three fundamental components of nutrition are macronutrients, micronutrients, and water.
According to Healthline, macronutrients are nutrients that should make up the largest portion of our diet: carbohydrates, proteins & fats. They are the building blocks of our diet that provide energy and support growth development. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy and are found in foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables. Proteins are essential for growth and repair of muscles & tissues, and are found in foods such as meats, eggs, lentils, and beans. Fats, from foods such as oils, nuts, avocados and fatty fish. also provide energy and support cell growth & brain health.
Micronutrients are essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs in small amounts to carry out various functions. They are involved in processes such as bone formation, wound healing, and immune function. Some of the most common micronutrients include vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. These nutrients are found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean meats.
It’s not just about what you eat! Water is also a crucial component of nutrition, as it is necessary for numerous bodily functions, including digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients. It also helps regulate body temperature during exercise, acts as a lubricant for joints, and can help keep your muscles flexible.
The current recommendations for a healthy diet include a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines, a healthy diet should include:
- Fruits and vegetables: Fill half your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to reap the benefits of all the valuable micronutrients.
- Grains: Whenever possible, choose whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread, instead of refined grains.
- Protein: Opt for lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, beans, and nuts, instead of processed meats.
- Fats: Choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts and avoid saturated and trans fats.
How does nutrition contribute to fitness?
Ultimately, nutrition is an important part of fitness because food is fuel! A balanced diet can help you perform at your best and recover quickly from exercise. Inadequate nutrition can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased endurance.
In addition to supporting physical activity, nutrition is also important for overall health and well-being. A balanced diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Nutrition fuels your body
When you eat, your body breaks the food down into nutrients, which are then used to support all the different processes that keep you alive and functioning. This includes everything from breathing to thinking to working out. Without proper nutrition, your body won't have the energy it needs to perform at its best.
The type and amount of food needed for optimal performance depends on the intensity and duration of the activity, as well as your body composition and goals. For example, regularly taking a high-endurance class like Pure Barre Empower™ would require higher carbohydrate intake. If you prefer a full-body, strength-focused workout class like Pure Barre Classic™, you’ll want to prioritize eating enough protein to support muscle growth & repair.
Pure Barre is proud to partner with Territory Foods to deliver dietitian-designed prepared meals with the highest-quality ingredients and better-for-you nutrition. According to Territory Foods’ in-house registered dietitian Danielle, “the Pure Barre workout focuses on low-impact movements that strengthen and tone the whole body, so lean protein is important to repair, build, and tone muscles, as well as anti-inflammatory foods to help calm inflammation in tired joints and muscles.”
Nutrition helps with recovery
Working out puts stress on your body. This stress is necessary to stimulate your muscles to grow stronger, but it also means that your body needs time to recover. Proper nutrition can help support that recovery process, providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue.
What is the importance of protein on your fitness journey?
Now that we've established why nutrition is so important let's talk about the specific role that protein plays in your fitness journey. Simply put, if you're looking to build muscle, protein is essential. Your muscles are made up of protein, and consuming enough is critical to effectively building and maintaining muscle mass. When you work out, you create tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Protein is needed to repair and rebuild those fibers, making them stronger and larger over time.
So, how much protein do you need? That will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, weight, and activity level. In general, the recommended daily intake of protein is around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, if you're very active or trying to build muscle, you may need more. Aim to consume a source of protein with every meal and snack, and consider adding a protein supplement if you're struggling to meet your needs through food alone. Here are some easy snacks you can pack in your bag to eat after class to add more protein into your diet:
- Perfect Snacks - Perfect Bar is the official fresh snack of Pure Barre in 2023, and for good reason! All Perfect Snacks products are gluten-free, non-GMO and low-GI, and deliver up to 17 grams of whole food protein and 20+ superfoods in each serving.
- Trail mix - Nuts are a powerhouse that provide protein and fat into your diet to help you recover from class. Trail mix has the added benefit of carbohydrates from the dried fruit to replenish your energy!
- Jerky - Jerky is a quick, easy and accessible snack that packs a protein punch to support muscle growth after your workout.
In conclusion, nutrition is a critical component of any fitness journey, and protein plays a particularly important role. By following a balanced diet and making informed food choices, you can work towards achieving your fitness goals, Get started on a new fitness journey at Pure Barre by filling out the form below to try a Pure Barre Foundations Intro™ Class at a studio near you!