by Paula | December 30, 2013 1:27 am
Having the motivation to participate regularly in exercise is a huge part of the success in your goals for fitness but there are other variables that MUST be present!
Many athletes and weight loss enthusiasts don’t make the connection that must be present to combine the exercise piece AND the food-intake piece. You will never find the long-term results that you desire if you don’t make that connection in your mind and your habits.
Many people will plug away for hours doing cardio at a steady pace, monitoring their calorie burn with a heart rate monitor and celebrate their hard work with a grande latte or a scone. I am a firm believer that there are a lot of skinny-fat, fitness enthusiast (I was one of them until a trainer explained that being thin, with little muscle tone, is just being skinny-fat~ and yes I was insulted at the time). Weight training will not make a woman look masculine unless you are weight lifting heavy weights for hours every day, or you are taking steroids. A balance between cardio, weight-bearing exercise, and mind-calming exercise such as yoga will help you achieve balance, power, energy and a manageable weight.
The next piece that is important is the food intake aspect of your program. You can have the perfect balance of all the components described above and feel tired and frustrated that you aren’t hitting your milestone because your food doesn’t fuel your workouts. According to the December issue of Oxygen Magazine, up to one third of female athletes are lagging due to low iron levels. Iron is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissue, muscles and brain. If you lack in iron levels, you supply less oxygen to those essential organs. This results in lower energy, lower body temperature, and difficulty with concentration.
Women in general are more susceptible to low-iron levels than men, due to their blood loss during menstruation. According to Diane M. DellaValle, PhD, RDN with the US Department of Agriculture, “Among the general population, 16 percent of females are affected by iron deficiency, but about 30 percent of active women are iron-depleted without anemia.” DellaValle explains that iron is lost when feet come in high-impact contact with the ground through cardio and is also lost through sweat.
You can have your iron levels tested but be aware that the test results may vary from lab to lab. In women, a value of less than 12.0g/dL may indicate anemia. If your premenopausal, the level recommended is 18 milligrams.
If your iron levels are found to be low, your doctor may recommend supplements. Also, eat a balanced diet that includes iron-rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish and egg yolks. Animal based iron is absorbed by the body more easily so if you choose to be vegetarian or vegan you may be at an increased risk.
Thinking through your bodies’ needs will help you attain your fitness and weight goals more easily.
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