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      FITNESS TIPS FOR 1/31/2001                  

Nutrition for Health and Fitness   
by Tracy Anderson

Nutrition is probably the most important piece of the 
healthy lifestyle puzzle, and usually the limiting factor 
in performance.  In this article I will cover the topic 
generally, and after this series of articles I will go 
more into detail.

First of all you must realize that all foods are made of  
the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  
Micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and water 
will be covered in a later article.  Proteins are made 
of amino acids and is the nutrient that builds and 
repairs tissue, such as muscle.  Carbohydrates are 
the best source of energy that you can give your body.  
Fats are also a good source of energy, having twice 
the calories, but can easily be stored as body fat.

Protein contains 4 calories per gram.  So 10 grams of 
protein would yield 40 calories.  Protein consumption 
should be high enough to ensure your body has 
sufficient amino acids to repair body tissue.  Also, 
muscles will use some amino acids, called branched 
chain amino acids, as fuel, this is why athletes need 
extra protein.  Athletes consume ample amounts of 
protein, because it is broken down during intense 
exercise and used as fuel by the muscles.  Extra protein 
needed for muscle gain is actually low, you need 
extra protein because muscles will use these branched 
chain amino acids as fuel and you still need some left 
for repairing of the muscles.  The USRDA is .8 grams 
per pound of body weight.  Athletes usually will 
consume 1 to 2 grams per pound.  Some extreme 
athletes or advanced bodybuilders and powerlifters
will consume even more.

Carbohydrates also contain 4 calories per gram.  So 
15 grams of carbohydrates will have 60 calories.  
Carbohydrates are the best energy source for the body.  
Realize however that carbohydrates are not created 
equally.  Basically there are two types of carbohydrates 
and they are complex and simple.  Complex 
carbohydrates can even be broken down further into 
starchy and fiberous.  An example of a starchy 
carbohydrate would be a potato, and fiberous would be 
broccoli.  Simple carbohydrates can also be broken into 
smaller groups, but for know it is beyond the scope of 
this article.  Simple carbohydrate examples would be 
sugar, lactose and fructose.  Simple sugars should be 
avoided because of the intense insulin response.  Insulin 
helps carry nutrients into cells, such as muscle cells 
and fat cells.  This is why a steady insulin level should 
be achieved.  You don't want your insulin levels to raise 
or lower abruptly.  When blood sugar levels get too high 
insulin is released by the pancreas to lower the blood 
sugar level.  It does this by helping the transportation of 
nutrients into cells.  When your liver and muscle glycogen
stores become full then the rest is stored in fat cells.  
When blood sugars get too low, glucagon is released by 
the pancreas to help raise blood sugar levels back to an 
acceptable level.  Your body will strive to maintain this 
level, because your central nervous system (brain and 
spinal cord) always needs some blood sugar for normal 

Fat has 9 calories per gram, so 20 grams of fat would 
yield 180 calories.  I am sure you have heard about the 
good fat, unsaturated, and the bad fat, saturated. I agree 
that you should keep saturated fat to a minimum.  
However, I think you should keep total fat intake to a 
minimum also.  Total fat intake averages about 40%, 
of the average American diet, with a large portion of 
that being saturated.  I think that you should have a 
total fat intake of 10-20%. Remember however you do 
need fat in your diet.  Fat helps in the absorption of 
the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Fat also helps 
with cellular functions involving most systems in the 
body.  Fat is also a good source of energy, when 
you can tap into it, and cushions your body's 

Reducing fat is relatively simple. Read the nutrition 
labels of everything you eat and keep a mental track 
of your total daily fat calories. Reducing fat will 
yield a more healthier lifestyle while reducing 
heart attack risk, and lowering cholesterol levels.

This concludes the brief overview of the nutrition 
aspect of the four healthy lifestyle basics. Please 
keep in mind that nutrition, in my opinion, is the 
most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. 
Without proper nutrition, your training will suffer,
your results from aerobics will be hindered and most 
importantly your goals will be harder to achieve.

I have helped hundreds of people with their diet and 
have the experience to help you. But remember, I 
can't eat the food for you, you must have self 
discipline and be self motivated. The limiting 
factor in achieving health and fitness goals is 
usually nutrition. And the limiting factor in achieving 
proper nutrition is usually discipline and self 
motivation.  If you have been exercising for awhile 
and see little, if any, results, take a good look at 
your diet. Most people think they are eating 
healthy, when in fact, they are way off the mark.


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