Rest, food and exercise are the three legs, depending on each other, on the tripod of feeling good and healthy. If you skip one of them or do to much of one the tripod falls over or tilts. If you have the right combination of these three you should feel good, both body and mind. But how do you know what you should eat or how much you should train and sleep? Food Food is our energy source and building material, but all food aren’t good. You don’t just have to eat the right food, you have to combine it right to. Since every individual’s body is unique, the same food combination doesn’t always work on everybody. What you eat is regimented by what you do, if you train 2-3 hours a day you shouldn’t have the same food combination as a person who just take a walk 2-3 times a week.
To have a good combination you have to think about how much you exercise and plan your meals around that. If you train much you need more energy; you should therefore eat many carbohydrates and less protein and vegetables, since carbohydrates is the richest energy source. When you are loading for a contest you should upload with slow carbohydrates, like pasta or potatoes, which is stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver until you competing. And after a competition is it important to refill your glycogen storage by eat or drinking something with fast carbohydrates, such as a banana or sports drink.
How much carbohydrates you should eat depends on how much you exercise. If you don’t train it’s enough with a quarter of your plate, but if you are a hard training person one half of your plate should be carbohydrates. However, your meals can’t just contain carbohydrates; since you destroy your muscles when you exercise you have to rebuild them again and this is what protein does. Protein is like small building blocks that repairs the cells in the muscles. To get protein into your body you should eat meat, fish or chicken; for those who are vegetarians there are protein in some beans and other leguminous plants. But you shouldn’t eat to much protein, about a quarter of your plate should be enough.
In most meat products there are different kinds of fats. And it’s not like many people think, that fat is bad for you, no it’s the other way around; fat is good for you. There are three head groups saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated; you should get some of each when you eat, but if you don’t exercise you should eat more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated than saturated fats. One important thing fats do is liberate vitamins.
Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are small, but important for the body. Vitamins helps to build up you immune defence, minerals makes the skeleton stronger and antioxidants protects the cells. There are many different kinds, all important, and can be found in different types of food. Vitamins are often found in vegetables and fruits, but also in nuts and fish. You can find minerals in some vegetables, meat and seafood. Antioxidants, which protects the cells from radicals, can be found fruits and vegetables.
The amount of vegetables and what kind you should eat also depends on how much you exercise, since some just contains mainly water and others mainly carbohydrates. If you don’t use up much energy you should fill one half of your plate with vegetables and if you consume a lot of energy you should just eat about a quarter of a plate. Fruits and vegetables contains a lot of water, but just because you eat a lot of it you shouldn’t skip drinking water or other liquids. Water is just as important as food; you should drink about 2 litres liquid per day and spread it out so you drink little but often. If you have a competition you should drink a lot before, since you dispose water when you sweat; you should also drink a lot afterwards to refill the water storage.
Rest No matter if you exercise or not, you have to sleep so your body can rest after a days work. A normal teenager should sleep about 6-8 hours; just to lie down and watch TV works too, the body is resting even if you are awake. But lying still and watch TV shouldn’t replace sleep, your mind have to rest too. When you rest or sleep the body repairs itself, the muscles get patched up. To repairs itself the body needs energy, and that energy it takes from the stored fat.
So you’re actually burning fat while you’re sleeping. Exercise It is important to train and use the energy we have stored in our bodies, so we build muscles and stay in shape. If you aren’t active in some sort of sport you don’t have to go to the gym 5 times a week or run a mile every other day, but you should at least take a few good walks a week, maybe go for a swim on a regular basis. Just make sure that you exercise in some way.