We all know that diet and exercise are key to weight loss, but according to Sam Wood, there's a third - equally important - factor that you need to include for success.
Spoiler alert: Weight loss is not simply a combination of good nutrition and effective workouts. While it's true these are two huge factors to be considered if you want to lose weight, if you truly want to feel your best and have sustainable results then there is one more step that needs to be taken into account. And that crucial but often overlooked element of any health and fitness journey is your recovery. Your nutrition needs to be in sync with your workouts and your workouts need to be in sync with your recovery. This is a beautiful triangle where when all three factors are working together in a complete synergy, good things happen.
Nutrition + workouts are the start
A car can’t run without petrol or oil. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with weight loss... I like to look at the food you consume as the petrol in the car (your body) and water as the oil that keeps your engine running day-to-day. You wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in your car so you shouldn’t put the wrong fuel in your body. Food will fuel your workouts, aid your recovery and assist with your progress. You also need to be drinking enough water (2.5 - 4 litres per day depending on your size and your weight) to keep your metabolic processes working effectively. Remember, how you exercise and what you eat complement each other, so make sure you don’t focus on one in isolation if you truly want results.
Now add recovery
If you’re working out consistently, your body needs time to repair and rebuild to prepare to go again. Neglecting your post-workout behaviours can delay your progress and hinder your results. Make sure you cool down after each and every workout and have a good stretch when necessary to help relieve tight muscles. Foam rolling, my best friend and worst enemy, is another great way to reduce muscle tension and get out some of those tough knots. Undoubtedly the key player in our recovery is our sleep. Sleep is absolutely vital to recovery and will ensure that our bodies are prepped and ready to get the most out of our workouts. When we’re asleep, we’re not using as much energy and this allows for the high-quality food we have consumed to help us efficiently build muscle. In addition, our muscles are given a chance to recover and regenerate which is necessary for us to progress.
The reason for the holy health trinity
I don’t have an extreme view on health and wellness and prefer to take a holistic approach both for myself and as a trainer. Everything needs to be in moderation and more importantly, it needs to be sustainable. Crash diets are not sustainable, neither are intense workouts with no time for your body to rest and recover. Eat well, move daily, recover properly and remember - if you look after your body, your body looks after you.