We all have our fitness goals that we want to meet and we all know that nutrition and exercise are how we meet those goals.
What if you are in the middle of your journey and suffer a serious injury that impedes your ability to exercise?
Let me tell you, injuries aren’t the only reason an individual might not be able to work out. Whether it be an injury, medical issue, or any other reason at all, is all hope of achieving your goals lost? Will you eventually end up back at square one? Should you just give up right now?
Thankfully, the answer is no. While we do know that the most effective way to lose weight is with nutrition and exercise, weight loss can be achieved by just nutrition alone. Let’s explore how.
Nutrition is the common pathway for all goals
You have all heard terms like, “abs are made in the kitchen” “you can’t out train your diet” or “you are what you eat.”?
These terms exist because there is a lot of truth behind them. Nutrition is the base on which your goals need to be built from. Without this solid base, you will have an extremely hard time achieving your goals.
Even if you work out like crazy, without proper nutrition, you will never reach your goals.
So what does proper nutrition look like without exercise?
The carbs and fats
Don’t be afraid of fat or carbohydrates:
There is a lot of misinformation about these two macronutrients floating around the internet. So let’s make it clear. Fat won’t make you fat, and carbs are a vital macronutrient required for fueling muscles and keeping your metabolism high.
The consumption of healthy fats is vital to your health and survival. Dietary fats help with fat-soluble vitamin absorption (Vitamins A, D, E, and K), brain development (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29046155) , inflammation control, blood clotting and cell health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15727042)
Nobody could survive with 0% body fat, so healthy dietary fats should have a place in everybody’s nutrition plan.
Knowing that there are 9 calories per gram of fat though, which is more than double that of carbs and protein, one should be careful to not over consume on dietary fats.
A lot of confusion surrounds the term carbohydrates. A lot of people avoid carbohydrates because they don’t understand what they are or their importance.
Carbohydrates are the main and preferred source of fuel for our brains (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3900881/). It is also the preferred source of energy for our muscles, which is known as glycogen in its stored form (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21190/).
These are only two of many important functions that carbohydrates serve while in our bodies. It is important to know though, the differences of carbohydrates and how they each affects us.
Simple carbs, like table sugar, should be avoided because of the quick breakdown and spike in blood sugar they cause.
Complex carbs, like green-leafy vegetables, and starchy carbs, like sweet potatoes, should be a staple in everyone’s nutrition. They both break down into the same glucose monomers, the smallest molecule that all carbs breakdown into, but do so slowly and don’t have a drastic effect on blood sugar like simple carbs do.
The most important macronutrient in this scenario though, is protein. You must increase your consumption and here is why!
One of the most important components of weight loss is keeping your resting metabolic rate, or commonly referred to as metabolism, high. Having a higher RMR, means burning more calories per day without exercise.
Now, exercise is one way to increase RMR, but not the only way. Muscles are extremely metabolically active tissue that use a ton of energy/calories. The more muscle mass that you have, the higher your RMR will be compared to the same person, same weight, but made up of excess adipose tissue.
It is well known that if you don’t produce tension on a muscle, you will lose it. Without exercise, your body and muscles will go into a catabolic state. This leads to lower RMR levels and slowed weight loss.
To combat this phenomena, we can increase our protein intake to between 1.0-1.3 g/kg of body weight per day (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26797090). This increased protein consumption, increases protein synthesis and helps to maintain the muscle mass that we have.
Increasing protein can be done through foods like red meats, poultry, fish, legumes, beans, rice, etc. The problems though, is that meats can be expensive and legumes/beans also contain carbohydrates, which we might not want to add to in our daily amounts to avoid excess amounts.
So how do we solve this problem? The answer is surprisingly simple. Supplementation.
Why supplements will become your new best friend
Supplements are an incredibly effective and inexpensive way to bridge nutritional gaps that might be present in your plan.
Just like the example above about how adding more food for increased protein consumption might not work because of money or macronutrient concerns, protein powders and BCAAs could be your saving grace.
How can they help you?
We will start with protein powders because they are exactly what they sound like. Powdered protein, that you can mix into water, milk or just about any liquid to help increase your protein consumption and help increase your RMR to help increase your weight loss.
One scoop of MyProtein or IdealFit protein powders will add 20 extra grams of protein to your daily amounts, which like I said, is an easy and cost effective strategy.
BCAAs , or branched-chain amino acids, refer to three essential amino acids. Essential meaning that our bodies can’t synthesize them and must acquire them through our nutrition. ( check out our article about it HERE )
Consuming BCAAs insures that your body gets these essential amino acids, which increases protein synthesis to help deter that catabolic state from a lack of exercise. Because you are consuming just the BCAAs, that means you can do all of that for 0 calories, therefore helping your weight loss progress even more.
IdealFit and Myprotein both have BCAAs in a variety of flavors to help you supplement your protein intake and continue losing weight.
When you can’t exercise, it is important to have a nutrition plan in order to continue losing weight.
The plan can’t neglect fat or carbohydrates and must increase protein consumption to compensate for the lack of muscle stimulus. Supplementation, from protein powders and BCAAs, are the most effective ways to ensure that this increase happens and is extremely time and cost effective.
Get your supplements and ensure that your progress isn’t stalled without exercise!