Is Nutrition or Exercise More Important to Stay Healthy? Why Do You Think That Is?

Just as important for your fitness journey is your nutrition. What you put in your body can drastically increase or decrease the benefits of exercising.

Nutrition provides your body with the energy and nutrients it requires in order to perform at maximum potential. Managing to achieve a good combination of healthy foods and exercise will help maintain both your physical and mental health. It will increase your energy and increase your good moods.

A good mood begins with good food, but it remains with exercise. When you exercise it can stimulate chemicals that make you feel happy; leaving you happier and much more satisfied with your life.

However there are many other benefits that can come from exercise and healthy eating. For example, it open up the opportunity to spend quality time with your family and loved ones. You can prepare meals together, visit farmers markets as a family, you can do workouts together or go for walks. It opens up all these other avenues for connecting with and engaging with those in your life.

I know that I personally love spending time in the kitchen with my wife, and although I’m not the best cook, being in the kitchen with her and helping her cook has helped to teach me a lot. Even working out, we often have to workout separately due to our lifestyle. Work etc getting in the way, but even just having her there timing me etc makes things even more enjoyable.

Plus the added physical health benefits from eating right and exercising make it even more worth it. Both of these done together can drastically increase your immune system, meaning less illnesses. This also means less sick time from work, meaning a smaller amount of pay lost throughout the year. It also means you’ll have the energy to do the things you love when you have time to.

Correct nutrition and exercise can also reduce the risk of getting certain medical conditions like osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and hear disease. However, even if you have already been diagnosed with a condition like one of them, this healthier lifestyle may be able to help you to manage the symptoms.

Rules for eating to help your workout…

#1 – Pay Attention

You’d be surprised how many active people don’t pay enough attention to what they’re consuming. Then they wonder why their body isn’t performing it’s best. it’s all about the basics; getting enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

So remember the basics and pay attention to what you’re eating. You need enough fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, whole-grain carbohydrates and plenty of fluid.

#2 – Fuel Up

Don’t believe that bollocks about eat less to lose weight. You need to give your body the fuel it need to perform at it’s best.

Not eating enough will reduce muscle mass, lower bone density and cause fatigue. This increases the chances of injuries, illness, increases recovery time and causes hormonal problems which can all lead to weight gain and further health issues.

#3 – Love Carbs

Research over the last 50 years has proven that carbs can in fact be better for you than a lot of people realise. Carbs can help your body during long and high-intensity exercise. The more active you are as a person, the more carbs you will need.

Carbs for an average workout – If you’re someone who’s in good shape and need to fuel a daily, light-intensity workout, you need to eat around 3-5 grams of carbs for every kilogram of body weight. Someone weighing around 70 kgs will need between 210 and 350 grams of carbs a day.

Carbs for longer workouts – If you’re exercising for more than an hour a day then you’ll need 6-10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight. Someone weighing 70kgs will need between 420 and 700 grams of carbs per day.

You’ll want to make sure you’re eating healthy carbs like brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain bread and pasta, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables.

#4 – Rebuild with protein

Protein gives your body the amino acids It needs to build and repair muscle, making it very important.

research shows that very active people should eat 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This means an 80 kilogram person should eat 96 to 160 grams of protein each day. Although people who aren’t active every day should eat less protein; around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Good sources of protein are poultry with 25 grams in 3 ounces and fish with 20 grams in 3 ounces. However if you prefer to avoid meat you can try soybeans with 20 grams per cup and legumes like beans, peanuts and chickpeas with 15 grams per cup. Eggs, Greek yoghurt, cheese and tofu are also good sources of protein.

#5 – Don’t ignore fats

Fat isn’t just the bad rep it has amongst a lot of us. It is actual very essential to a healthy diet. Fat provides that much needed energy that an active body needs as well as helping your body absorb vitamins. Certain vitamins like A, D, E and K actually require fat to properly benefit your body.

Good sources of healthy, unsaturated fats include avocado, olive and canola oil, flaxseed and nuts.

#6 – Know what you need pre-workout

Eating throughout the day will generally give you enough energy to cope if you work out less than an hour a day. But, if you will want to avoid eating right before you exercise. This will help to avoid GI issues.

Generally you will want to eat one to three hours before your workout.

#7 – Remember the post-workout 15

During a workout, your body will use it’s stored energy sources. This means that after exercise you will need to restore those nutrients as soon as possible.

Research shows that it’s best to eat high protein foods within 15 minutes of completing your workout. These foods will provide essential amino acids that help to repair and build your muscles. This can also increase the energy your body will put into storage to use in the future.

There are certain foods you can add to your diet which will increase your nutrient density. Some of these foods include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Berries
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potato
  • Turmeric

These foods contain antioxidants, complex carbohydrates and protein which are all beneficial for athletic performance.

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark green leafy vegetables are packed full with necessary nutrients like folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C and fibre. Eating greens like spinach, kale, collard greens and swiss chard have been shown to increase muscle function in people who do a lot of exercise.

These leafy greens also contain nitrates which convert to nitric oxide which opens blood vessels. This improves blood flow during exercise.


Berries have very powerful antioxidant properties; this makes them an important part of any athletes diet. Exercising causes oxidative stress, this leads to muscle damage and fatigue. Having enough antioxidants in your diet can help you increase your athletic performance as it reduces muscle damage and inflammation.


Eggs are quite rich in B vitamins, choline, iron, antioxidants and high-quality protein, including the yolk part of the egg. The protein that is found in eggs has high bioavailability, this means that it is easily digested and more efficiently metabolized by the body. They also contain fatty acids which are important for heart health. Along with this they also contain vitamins and minerals that help with cell growth and tissue repair.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are packed full with potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C. They are a great source of complex carbohydrates that are needed for fuel. Making sure you get enough potassium can also reduce fatigue, muscle cramps and the feeling of weakness.


Turmeric has medicinal benefits. It is known for it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, it may even help in preventing diseases like cance, heart disease and diabetes. Recent research into the effects of turmeric post-exercise shows that people who use it after a workout experience reduced muscle pain and tenderness, reduced muscle damage and decreased inflammatory markers.

Turmeric tastes amazing in food and can be used in many different things including on roasted vegetables, in curries and even making golden milk.

Regular exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand. Both things can be effective on their own, but together they benefit and work much better to keep you healthy both physically and mentally.

It’s important to remember though, that listening to your body is very essential. What might be good for one person won’t be as good for another. Depending on health conditions, allergies, lifestyle etc. So don’t assume all of the information provided will always be the same for everyone.

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