Fitness for Every Body

Matt Green, Reporter

Editors Note: Matt Green is a senior sport management major and a personal trainer at Leverage Fitness in Forty-Fort, Pa. This is part one of a four-part health and fitness series special for The Highlander.

Everybody wants to be healthy. Okay, maybe not everybody, but most of us genuinely care about having the highest quality of life possible.

The question to ask here is “What is healthy?” To one person, healthy is being able to go throughout the day without medication or pills to help alleviate pain. To another, healthy can mean running a 5k. The point here is that healthy can truly have unlimited and infinite definitions. To work towards being “healthy,” we must first define what the word means to us as individuals.

Once we realize our personal definition, we can begin to live and pursue the healthier lifestyle. This means exercise and proper nutrition – notice, proper nutrition and not diet. I am a personal trainer who has been living the health and fitness lifestyle for almost four years now. I tell people I do not diet – I have a nutritional plan. The difference between diet and nutritional plan is that for me, dieting involves restricting and limiting yourself to a strict and unforgiving eating regimen.

A nutritional plan is exactly that, a plan. It’s structured in a way that is worked around personal goals. Whether a goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, etc. An eating plan and exercises should be structured in a way that targets specific goals.

Now, keep in mind, weight loss comes from a nutritional plan and muscle gain comes from exercise. The idea of overall health is a combination of both exercise and nutrition.

People are intimidated and even scared to ask questions when it comes to what to eat. They think that it’s a crazy science that they cannot wrap their head around. Students will have to learn the basics, but that is the foundation of healthy eating. Once we learn the foundation of what healthy eating is, then we can begin to apply that foundation to expand knowledge based upon on first-hand experience. Certain foods affect our bodies differently than they would affect others.

Every body is different/ Every body – two words – is different.

We are so easily inspired by, and gullible about, media and fitness “experts” when it comes to health, diet, exercises and fitness in general.

“If it worked for me, it can work for you” is the generic cookie-cutter phrase that’s overused. What we don’t realize is that our bodies react differently to exercises and foods compared to someone else’s.

This is where we set ourselves up for failure. In our heads, we already feel confident about this new health-kick, which is good, but we don’t understand that al- though the exercise or nutritional plan may have good intentions, it might need some tweaking to make it work for us.

So what happens? We give it a shot and get little or no results, then we give up entirely and lose motivation. For right now, let’s just focus on goals and how we should build an all-around healthy lifestyle with both exercise and proper diet. Learn to use time more wisely and more efficiently when in the gym. I hate to generalize, but most men believe that they need to spend at least an hour in the gym to get results. Sorry fellas, but that’s just not true.

I can have a workout that lasts 10 minutes – and it is both effective and efficient. The intensity of the workout is much more important than the time spent in the gym. By intensity, I mean how hard your body is pushing itself. When we talk about proper nutrition, many people get discouraged and confused. Vegetables, fruits, protein and complex carbohydrates are the foundation of a proper eating plan. The average person should be consuming .5 to 1 gram of protein for every pound in their body.

For example, a 150-pound male should be eating at least 75 grams of protein and at most 150 grams. Some people, myself included, can process and retain protein more easily than others. I am 160 pounds, but I consume close to 200 grams of protein daily.

In all honesty, ditch the idea of protein powders and supplements. Unless you have the money, which you don’t because you’re a college student, learn to get your quality protein from actual food. Granted, protein powders are convenient and easy, but quality food should always be the favored option.

We need to try to gauge how our bodies react to certain foods or exercises. If we feel that we’re not benefiting from a certain exercise, chances are we’re not. Our form may be slightly off, or that exercise may not be very valuable – not every exercise is created equal.

Same thing goes with nutrition. If we feel we get more energy from a specific type of carb rather than another – for example, I prefer rolled oats over whole wheat toast – only eat the carb that benefits
us more.

Once we learn to listen to our bodies, we will be virtually unstoppable. It takes time, practice and patience, but when we master it, we are one step closer to becoming the person we always wanted to be – both inside and out.

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