Specifically, your body uses proteins from your food to form the structural component of your muscles. Fats (the essential fats such as what’s found in fish oil) become part of every cell membrane in the body. No matter how good the exercise program design is, if you’re not getting adequate proteins and essential fats in the diet, the exercise program won’t yield good results, because the materials used to build with are simply inadequate.
Carbohydrates don’t form the actual physical structure of your body like proteins and fats do, but carbohydrates are analogous to the laborers when building a house: they supply the energy that allows the work to get done. Fats can be burned for energy too, but carbohydrates provide fuel for the brain, and carbs are required for fuel if you perform high-intensity exercise such as weight-training.
Vitamins and minerals (from the foods you eat as well as the supplements you take) serve the same purpose as the tools used to build something. Vitamins and minerals are what allow the chemical reactions in your body to take place that “put everything together.” They are the unsung heros of the nutrition and exercise puzzle. In order for your body to be able to process food for energy and for re-building, certain chemical reactions are required that cannot take place without the vitamins and minerals. This is similar to the situation of needing a screwdriver to twist in the screw when you’re building a house. Without that screwdriver, the screw and the wood are pretty much useless. In a similar fashion, without vitamins and minerals, your body cannot take the food you eat and put it to good use.
Due to all the reasons above, nutrition is responsible for about 80% of the weight loss and body toning results you get from a workout program. You’re actually better off with a mediocre exercise program and great nutrition than you are with stellar exercise program but poor nutrition. Make sure you focus on what you’re putting in your mouth just as much as what you’re putting on the bar when you train!
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