Pilates & Diet for a Balanced Body
At Sheppard Method Pilates, we believe in achieving and maintaining a balanced body. But a balanced body doesn’t just come from the time you spend at the Pilates studio. What you eat will also have a huge effect on how you look and feel, and how truly effective your Pilates classes can be. If you want a truly balanced body, Sheppard Method Pilates offers some suggestions for changing or improving your diet to compliment your fitness classes.
Drink Water, Not Juice
We’ll start out with the simplest piece of advice for both in and out of the Pilates studio – staying hydrated with water. Fruit juices, sports drinks, and sodas are always tempting, especially immediately after any kind of exercise. Unfortunately, most fruit juices – even the ones that claim to be healthy – are loaded with sugar, and often a lot of preservatives, too. Sports drinks are no better, despite supposedly being designed for “sports performances”, and it goes without saying that soda does you no favors.
Energy drinks are also something you should steer clear of – especially before or after a Pilates class, or any other kind of exercise. The energy boost you get from an energy drink is potentially harmful because of the way it can suddenly raise your heart rate, and you’re also more susceptible to a crash. It’s much better to increase your heart rate through exercise than through an artificial boost. Any health and fitness or dietary professional will tell you that water is almost always the best choice of beverage.
What to Cut Out
If you’re looking to get serious about achieving a balanced body, there some types of food you should think about cutting out entirely, or at least significantly reduce your intake. High fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, often in the drinks we listed above, should go. While they claim to be a healthier substitute for sugar, they often trick the body into reacting the same way as it does to real sugar. You should also try and reduce your intake of artificial colors and flavorings, if not cut them out entirely.
As for foods that are better to cut down, but don’t necessarily need to be removed from your diet entirely, caffeine, starch-loaded vegetables, full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, and canned products can all be reduced. Many of these foods offer poor energy efficiency, and can often leave you feeling heavy, rather than really full.
Increase Your Intake
Striving for a balanced body isn’t just about denying yourself things! There are a lot of different kinds of foods out there you should increase to give you the right amount of energy, and the right amount of mental clarity to help you feel truly balanced. If you eat meat, and prefer not to cut it out of your diet entirely, starting looking specifically for leaner meats, and upping the amount of white meat and fish in your diet.
As for vegetables, a good rule of thumb for getting the right kind of variety is to mix up the colors – the more colorful your selection of vegetables, the more interesting and beneficial your diet will be. Also, dark green leaves, particularly spinach, are a really great staple of a good diet. For snacking, stick to nuts and grains, but be careful to check the ingredients list for additives, depending on where you get them.
A Balanced Body Needs a Balanced Routine
If you’re changing up your diet to get a balanced body and mind, make sure you stick to your routine once you achieve it. Always eat something for breakfast; eat less, but more often (typically every four or so hours to keep up your metabolism); avoid eating at night, and just eat until you’re comfortably full.
Sheppard Method Pilates Advice, Tips, and Classes
Remember, these just a few general guidelines for improving your diet in a way that compliments your Pilates classes. Everyone is different, and your dietary requirements might be more specific. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the foods you eat, or your weight, and what you need to do. Sheppard Method Pilates is always here to offer advice.