Saturday, October 22, 2022

Health & Fitness: Lesson 5 - Improve your understanding

Did you know that becoming and staying fit is 70% diet, 20% exercise and 10% rest? Probably. Have you heard that you cannot out-train a bad diet? Probably.  It's one thing to hear and therefore know these things. It's quite another to understand it. Understanding is what matters. Only when you understand what you're doing will you be able to take intelligent action. Understanding also allows you to be creative, and flexible. 

So how about getting some understanding now?

What 70% diet means

If you're disciplined with your eating, you probably eat 3 - 5 times a day. Some people eat more than this although they will not admit this. Every time someone in their household is eating, they will get a craving for that particular food😀. They will pick at your fried yam, then another, and another. Matter o! I didn't say you. Without realising it, those tastings of this then that will probably add up to six or seven meals a day.

But let's assume, Dear Reader that you don't do this and you only eat three times a day plus one plantain chips bought in traffic or is it bofrot? Yours is Judi foods? We hear you. So three meals and I snack. Do you add Fanyogo? So is that 2 snacks or still one? Hmm...

Now you're eating four times a day, everyday - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday including when you are sick or shall I say especially? So everyday without fail you eat.

And how often do you exercise? Three times a week, and only once on each of those three days. Then let's do some math.

In a month consisting of 30 days, you eat 120 meals, and exercise 12 times! But this ratio is 10 to one. So why do we say 70: 20? Because your exercise is not the only way your body expends energy. Your body uses up energy for all its bodily functions and every time you move, you use some energy. Even so, hopefully these numbers have revealed to you why you need to focus on your meals/diet!

The 70% diet consists of what you eat, quantity, and time (when you eat). 

What you eat

Different foods have different effects on your body. White rice nourishes your body differently from brown rice. Plain greek yogurt is different from a parfait with granola, sweetened fruit and a big dollop of honey. One can be eaten everyday, the other must be eaten as a once-in-a while treat.


A big bowl of fufu and groundnut soup with as much bushmeat as your body can take affects your body differently than 1 piece of boiled green plantain served with nkontomire, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and half of a medium-sized grilled mackerel. These are extremes. You probably don't eat as much meat as your body can take but maybe you drink 4 ladles of groundnut soup when really two is the recommended serving size. Improve your understanding of how much to eat by reading books by African dieticians.


Here, the key thing to remember is not to eat less than 2 hours before your bedtime. But this is not as important as what you eat and how much you eat.

What 20% exercise means

The exercise component follows the FITT principle -  frequency, intensity, time, and type. 


How often you exercise is the most important factor. Getting 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week is more beneficial to your body than a 5 hour keep fit session only on Saturdays.


When you exercise, try to challenge your body. Much of the growth happens when your body is challenged. Here is not the place to do the bare minimum. Here is not the place to give up at the slightest resistance. Try to push your body to do new things. You can get performance ideas from lesson 1


The recommended time is 30 minutes to 1 hour. No matter how badly you want to lose weight, if               you need two hours in the gym to maintain your weight, that is your indicator that you haven't fixed the diet issue. Some people even work out twice a day. That's not necessary unless for example you walk 30 minutes in the morning to the bus station and another 30 minutes back home in the evening but that is considered an hour of walking daily which is really all you need.      


All exercises work if you do them right. If you're walking, walk briskly. Swimming, swim enough laps. Pilates or yoga, get your technique right. Gymming, lift with good form, etc.

What 10% rest means

Take some days off to allow your body to rest, rebuild, and recover. Some people workout 5 days a week and rest on weekends. Others take a mid-week break on Wednesdays as well. Try these and see how your body responds. A tired body will not function as well as a rested body so do enjoy some rest days.

If you don't understand any of what I wrote or have additional or related questions, please leave them in the comments and I'll address it in future posts.

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