The Fundamentals of Nutrition

The Fundamentals of Nutrition

When people stop exercising and no longer care about what they eat, they can gain five to ten pounds a year, on average. That's why in five short years, people step on a scale and cannot believe that they are nearly fifty pounds overweight. Weight has a way of sneaking up on you over time. Gaining weight doesn't happen overnight - and you don't lose weight overnight either. Both take time, and fortunately, you can lose weight faster if you follow a strict nutritional and exercise plan. Both take only minutes a day.

Here are a few eating tips and some ideas on quick exercise routines to try when time is limited:

1) Lay Off Fast Food

Before you go on a trip or a long day at work, try to eat before you leave and pack a lunch. Foods high in protein mixed with a natural carbohydrate are great energy meals. Try a lean turkey or chicken sandwich with vegetables like lettuce and tomato. Watch out for the mayo - too many calories and fat grams. Try mustard instead. Fruits are great quick snacks too. Try apples, oranges, and bananas for natural sources of energy. Read "The Stew Smith Way of Watching What You Eat" for more ideas.

2) Wake up and Burn Some Calories

As busy days pile up with more and more obligations, the scheduled 5:00pm workout can easily get bumped! Make thirty minutes of exercise fit into your mornings and do some type of workout.

- Try biking, walking, or running for 30 minutes - Go to your gym for a quick circuit routine - Try calisthenics like jumping jacks / pushups / a crunch routine and jumping jacks / squats / lunges / crunches - Try using dumbbells for arms and shoulders - Another Tip - if you do not schedule a workout - it does not exist!!

3) Don't Wait - Start NOW!

Why wait? When you can, you should try to eat at regularly scheduled times during the day. Healthy snacks and meals will carry you through your stressful days much better than skipping meals or binge eating. You will find that if you keep a good schedule, you will lose weight and inches. Add exercise to the plan and you will also get fit and feel better than you have in years. Try an eating schedule of the following recommended times:

- 0630 - Breakfast - 0930 - Morning snack - 1230 - Lunch - 1530 - Afternoon snack - 1830 - Dinner

If your days are longer than 15-18 hours you should try another light snack at 2100 of foods like yogurt, grapes, milk. Other snacks during the day can be salads, fruits, lean meats, small sandwiches, boiled eggs and others. Refer to the chart below for better ideas on what to eat during the day and before and after exercise sessions.

4) Walk More

When safety is not an issue, try to walk farther than normal when going about your normal day. Burning a few more calories by walking is one of the easiest ways to walk off that extra weight. Just twenty minutes of brisk walking can burn over 100-150 calories.

5) Keep Working the Abdominal Region

Not with food but with exercises like crunches, situps, and lower back stretches. Check out the articles "Achieving Washboard Abs" and "Lose the Love Handles" for ideas. When you do these exercises for just 5-10 minutes daily, it's easier to remember to watch your food intake and stop yourself from gorging.

Overall, it's important to keep up the habit of moving more and eating foods that are better for you. These tips can help you prevent unneeded weight gain. Also helpful is the Fundamentals of Nutrition Chart below:

The Fundamentals of Nutrition
Morning Meal (Serving = fist size): Eat 2-3 servings of any *minimal fat 1 qt water Proteins - boiled egg whites, yogurt, milk, lean meats, protein shake, vegetable beef stew... Carb/Protein mix - some fruits like grapes, bananas, blueberries, cereal with milk...
Mid Morning Meal Eat 1 serving Slimfast meal bar, boiled egg, Go-Gurt, Tuna... Fruit salad, apple, orange, banana etc...
Lunch 1 qt water Chicken, tuna, fish, lean meat sandwich on wheat bread, no mayo - mix meat with salad Mixed salads with variety of vegetables - green leafy lettuce, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, onion
Mid Afternoon Meal 1 qt water Optional - peanuts, almonds, high calories Optional - juice, fruit, vegetable - small salad
Evening Meal 1 qt water Lean chicken, fish, meat, broiled NOT FRIED Large Salad - above eggplant
Pre - Post Workout Meals
Before Your Cardio Workout Before Your Lifting or PT Workout
Carbohydrates: 75-100% Carbohydrates: 75% & Protein 25%
Prior to running, swimming, biking etc. at medium to high intensity levels for 30-40 minutes, it's best to eat a small snack to boost sugar levels in your body, especially if your workout is before your morning meal. After a night of sleeping and not eating for over 10-12 hours, you need a boost to help you get through the workout. Fruit or fruit juice is fine 20 minutes prior to and during workout. Foods with small amounts of protein can be eaten pre-workout and will help post workout requirements of protein too. Sample Ideas for pre-workout snack are: 1-2 hours prior to lifting eat protein foods and carbohydrates so the protein is there for you after the workout. Lifting weights and doing high repetition calisthenics will break down your muscles and require protein immediately after your workout - within 30 minutes. Foods high in carbohydrates to replace the loss of glycogen stores are needed within this time too. A great rule of thumb - after you workout, eat protein, carbohydrates and minimize fatty foods. Foods that should be considered are:
Bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, juice, Gatorade, (any fruit of your choice). Before workouts longer than 30-40 minutes, add some protein to stabilize absorption rates so you can last longer: Eat the following about 1-2 hours prior to exercise: Yogurt, protein drink*, milk, boiled egg, slice of meat or cheese, or Slimfast meal replacement bar. Sip water and carbohydrate drinks throughout the workout.*Met-rx powder is highly recommended - I like to take 1/2 of recommended amount. Pre-workout ideas for lifters / PTers: Bananas, berries, boiled eggs, tuna fish, Met-rx Drink / bar. Protein or carb replacement drinks are great if post workout occurs mid-day or early morning. See above meal options for protein and carbohydrates sources and these below: Tuna, chicken, boiled eggs, and green leafy salads with tomatoes, broccoli, cucumber, carrots, onions, and light dressing or oil.
Post Workout Meals
The key is to replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during the workout - drink Powerade / Gatorade immediately after workout. Another important factor is to add protein to help rebuild muscles - see above meal / snack ideas within 30 minutes of working out.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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