Whenever there’s a discussion about unrealistic body standards, women steal the spotlight. While it is true that they do have impossible standards to uphold, men are unjustly ignored in this regard. Sure, they may not be as pressured into looking fit as women are, but be serious – have you seen Jason Momoa, for example? As aware as we all are that his kind of body shape is a result of impossibly long gym sessions combined with killer diet regimen, we can’t help but feel a bit inadequate when our own flabby belly is mentioned. So, to help you battle those pesky pounds, here are some suggestions on how to improve your diet.
1. Careful with the carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a necessary component of your diet because they give you energy. Therefore, you shouldn’t avoid them. Still, there are good and bad kinds. Green and root vegetables are abundant with good carbohydrates, so those are the foods you want to eat. Try to eat the carbs earlier in the day, so your body has enough time to process them before bedtime. Also, make sure you eat starchy carb after exercise, in order to replenish the energy your body’s used during the training. In any case, avoid all kinds of carbs for at least a couple of hours before bed, or they’ll stick right to your high-risk areas – usually the belly.
2. Up your protein game
Protein is extremely important. Your body uses it to build and repair tissue, including the muscles, so it’s highly relevant for all of us who want to get into shape. It is also included in the creation of enzymes, hormones, and so on. It’s a macronutrient, which means that your body needs plenty of it. Interestingly, the body cannot store protein, which means that the intake of protein needs to be fairly regular in order to help your organs function properly. In practice, when it comes to your diet, protein is important because it keeps you full for a long time. This fact makes you less likely to reach for sugary snacks, so it’s very beneficial. For all these reasons, you should make sure your protein intake is sufficient for your daily needs. Find some supplements if you need. There are excellent whey protein products on the market which can help you boost your diet. These kinds of supplements are great because using them is a very convenient and quick way to add some protein to your diet, without going out of your way to cook more often.
Research shows that eating blueberries reduce inflammation and enhance immunity. They help you recover after a workout and boost the levels of serotonin in your system. It means that you’ll generally be healthier and happier. Furthermore, blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which means that they will easily combat the negative health effects of a diet rich in fats.
4. Tart cherries and watermelon
Tart cherries will help immensely with pain and strength loss. A study confirmed this by comparing the results of two groups of subjects. One of them was given tart cherry juice, and the other a placebo drink. Both groups drank their beverage every day over a period of eight days. After two weeks, they switched the drinks for both groups and repeated the process. As it turns out, cherry juice reduced the pain significantly, and the group drinking it lost an average of 4% of their strength. When you compare it to the 22% loss of strength in the placebo group, you can really see the difference that the cherries make. A similar study has shown that watermelon reduces muscle soreness. Therefore, if you have a problem with sore muscles and joints after a workout, these are the two plant-based snacks you should include in your diet.
Fish, in general, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is linked to a variety of health benefits. That in itself can be reason enough to include salmon in your diet, but if you’re not convinced, there’s more to be said on the subject. Did you know that eating salmon is connected to the increase in the muscle tissue? As it turns out, regular meals that include salmon (and most of other seafood), helps muscle development. Your body can use the amino acids to build tissue, most importantly skeletal muscles. More muscles mean fitter body, so make sure you eat enough fish.
6. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant, which means that can reduce blood pressure and control the insulin and cholesterol levels in your system. In 2014, a study showed that cyclists who ate 46 grams of dark chocolate a day saw a 21% increase in their speed and stamina. The great thing about chocolate is that it widens the blood vessels, helping the blood flow. This means that the oxygen from your blood goes into your muscles more easily, which can help you endure more effort. Another wonderful thing about chocolate – it’s chocolate. Even though it’s not as sweet as a regular chocolate bar, dark chocolate can help you satisfy the cravings you get if you’re on a strict regimen. Therefore, it provides you with two important benefits – the naturally useful properties of cocoa, and the help with controlling your cravings.
7. Whole grain
Whole grain foods are all the rage right now. There’s a good reason for that, though. Whole grains are extremely healthy and can prevent all sorts of health conditions, from heart disease to diabetes. In addition, they can be a real help in losing weight. Firstly, they are very filling, which can prevent overeating and reduce the risk of obesity. Secondly, they are rich in fiber, which is useful when it comes to digestion issues. Still, when eating whole grain foods, try to restrict yourself to grains, not flours. Even though whole grain flour is healthier than the regular one, it is not as good as, for example, rolled oats. The less processed they are, the more benefits you reap.
8. Beet juice and honey
Beet juice is great for stamina, while honey will improve your endurance. Some studies claim that beet juice is even more effective energy-booster than caffeine. On the other hand, honey will provide you with plenty of time-released fuel, which will help you train longer. Both stamina and endurance are very important for successful training, so make sure you include these two foods into your diet.
9. Good-night food
There are certain types of food that will help you sleep. Turkey, salmon, and bananas are some examples. These foods are rich in tryptophan, which an amino acid that turns to melatonin when it enters your system. Melatonin regulates your wakefulness, so these foods can help you cure insomnia. This is especially important if your body answers to training-related stress by refusing to fall asleep. In order to be healthy, you need to be well-rested, so don’t neglect this type of foods.
Becoming Jason Momoa isn’t easy, but for those less ambitious, these tips and tricks will do nicely. With several small adjustments in your lifestyle, you should be able to reach your fitness goal in no time.