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Nutrition is key: 4 ways to stay on top of your health goals while gyms are closed

Gym closures and limited dining hours shouldn’t have us compromising on our wellness goals.

Round four of government restrictions are in full force this week, and in lieu of gym closures, the waterfronts, rooftops and parks are chock full of fitness enthusiasts trying to stay in shape. Whilst frustrating, it is important that we remember the foundation of health — nutrition. A closer look at your food intake and some easy adjustments to your routine will have you coming out the other side looking and feeling your best.

Founder of Nu Performance, Luke Davey weighs in on why nutrition is key as we ride out further government restrictions.

Energy expenditure

Image courtesy of Akash Rai via Unsplash

A major plus side of living in Hong Kong is that you can clock up your traditional 10,000-step count simply by commuting to and from work. With more people working from home than ever before however, it is likely that your traditional energy expenditure and NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is far lower than your norm — even if you are keeping on top of your exercise regime.

To tackle this, there are two options: Either get out and move more, or make an active effort to reduce your daily calorie intake. Depending on your height and weight, you will burn around 30-50 calories per 1,000 steps. Try to make feasible adjustments. Movement is always better than a deficit where possible.

Top tip: If your goal is to maintain muscle mass, frequent feedings of high-quality protein every four to five hours is a good strategy to minimise muscle loss.

Ordering in

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Between spending more time at home, gym closures and news of our favourite restaurants shutting early, we’re scrolling through food delivery apps and typically welcoming a daily army of motorbikes at our door. Whilst convenient (and there are some good choices on there), the majority of us will naturally opt for a burger over a chicken breast. Look to remove temptation and uncertainty by devoting time to weekly meal prep. Admittedly a mundane task, it will ensure that you are getting the nutrients and calorie intake you need to hit your goals. Alternatively, there are plenty of healthy meal delivery plans in Hong Kong that will deliver to your doorstep. No matter the option you choose, consistency is an overriding success factor.

Snacking with hormones Ghrelin and Leptin

The desire to snack can be triggered by several factors. On a hormonal level, Ghrelin and Leptin work in unison to help manage hunger. Produced in the gastrointestinal tract, Ghrelin’s core role is to regulate energy balance and prepare the stomach to ingest food by increasing gastric mobility — signaling to the brain that energy is required. Leptin signals the opposite, and provides the brain with the sensation of satiety and fullness.

Why is this important? Well, multiple lifestyle factors affect increasing levels of secretion — including poor sleep and stress. Look to improve quality of sleep by targeting 7-9 hours per night, and explore different techniques to manage stress in difficult times, like exercise.

Top tip: Upping your protein intake can dramatically increase satiety levels, reducing the likelihood of overeating and continuous snacking.

Vitamin D

Image courtesy of Big Dodzy via Unsplash

Vitamin D is a fat soluble micronutrient that is essential for the functioning of everyday life, including cognitive function, immune health and wellbeing — all very important in today’s climate. Traditional sources of absorption come from direct sunlight, fish, and dairy with additional vitamin D.

When we’re stuck at home, not to mention in the middle of winter, exposure to our number one source of vitamin D — the sun! — can be a rare commodity. Explore supplementing with vitamin D and give your immune system a boost. Dosages of vitamin D vary depending on the source, but a recommended guide would be  20-80IU/kg daily.


Hero image credited to Pixabay

Nutrition is key: 4 ways to stay on top of your health goals while gyms are closed

Luke Davey

Luke is a high-performance specialist consultant with ten years’ experience delivering quality, bespoke nutrition programs and strength and conditioning services working with international and amateur sports men and women across Hong Kong and Asia.For more information about Nu Performance or for consultation enquiries, get in touch with Luke at luke@nuperformance.com.hk

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