4 Pillars of Fitness

Working out every day without fail, but not seeing results? There is a simple explanation for this. This is because Fitness is not all about workouts. Getting Fit simply means balancing your mind and body in the 4 major pillars of fitness, namely Workouts, Nutrition, Sleep, and Stress. Sit back, relax, and read through as this article explains everything you need to know about the four pillars of fitness, their effects, and their importance. 

As always, if you feel like this article helps you, or could help anyone else, please feel free to like, share and comment down below

What Are the 4 Pillars of Fitness?

General Fitness is all about doing what is good for our body and mind in the right way. Although it sounds very simple and generic, there are four key areas that we need to focus on, on a daily basis to achieve proper fitness results. The four pillars that hold the bridge towards our fitness goals are Nutrition, Workouts, Sleep, and Stress. 


NUTRITION 

nutrition - 4 pillars of fitness

Nutrition can easily be classified as the Key to a fit body

Nutrition is simply the process of providing our body the food necessary for health and growth. Each nutrient has a particular series of functions in the body and some nutrients are needed in larger quantities than others. Each person/body has a different Nutrition requirement depending on their size, age, and gender. Some will have a whole different nutrition requirement if they have any physical condition or if they are undergoing any medical treatment. 

How Does Nutrition Play a Role in Fitness?

Food is the major pillar that provides energy for our body to do any physical activity. As you get more active, lose weight or become more fit, your energy needs (how many calories you need) may change. To get the energy you require, you need to make sure your body is fueled with the right source of nutrients. 

Note that Nutrition is not just important for workouts, just moving around, or even sleeping requires energy. Taking a simple car as an example, if we fuel a petrol engine with diesel, the car will lose its performance and definitely break down in a while.  

What Is the Most Important Nutrition?

The most important nutrition that your body requires is none other than water. Always remember to have the required water intake every day, in fact, make it part of your routine. Staying hydrated can help you with your performance, strength, and power during any and every exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level.

The recommended water intake for each individual is calculated as 

Water (in liters) to drink a day = Your Weight (in Kg) multiplied by 0.033.

What Are the Nutrients That Your Body Requires and Why?

Other than water, our body requires proteins, fats, carbohydrates (sugars, dietary fiber), vitamins, and minerals to work on a daily basis. Why? 

Proteins – help your body repair cells and make new ones.

Fats – helps the body absorb vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with the help of fats.

Carbohydrates – Our body’s main energy source. Aids in digestion, maintain blood cholesterol, and helps fuel our brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system.

Vitamins – Vitamins have more than 100 roles in our body. They help strengthen bones, heal faster, convert food into energy, boost the immune system, and so on. 

Minerals – Almost similar to vitamins, Essential minerals include calcium, iron, and potassium are essential for building strong bones and teeth and turning the food you eat into energy.

What Makes Up Good Nutrition?

A good healthy diet consists of mostly vegetables, fruits, and starchy foods. The remaining part of your diet should be made up of milk and dairy foods and protein foods. Make sure you limit the number of foods and drinks that are high in fat or sugar. Apart from these, the below tips will also help 

  • Replace saturated fat (cakes, butter, ghee, biscuits) with polyunsaturated fat (walnuts, fish, flax seeds, sunflower seeds)
  • Keep the amount of salt in your diet to less than 6 g per day.
  • Avoid Sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Avoid high-calorie but nutritionally poor snacks, such as sweets, cakes and chips.
  • Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day
  • Eat at least two servings of fish (preferably oily fish) per week (veg -soya, tofu).

Check out the Top 10 healthy eating habits to follow in 2022 by clicking here

Benefits of Good Nutrition

There are many amazing benefits for following good nutrition on a daily basis. The top 5 are 

  • Helps with weight loss
  • Improves heart health
  • Keeps your bones and teeth strong 
  • Gives you better moods and energy levels
  • Improves memory and brain health

WORKOUTS

workout - 4 pillars of fitness

Workouts or physical activity is literally the Door to a fit body. Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. When your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

Types of Workouts

There are two categories of training that can be done. Resistance Training and Endurance Training 

Resistance training: Resistance training is the type of workout that pushes our body to do more than it is used to. This in turn increases the strength of our muscles as the body tries to get used to the training that we undergo. Resistance training should increase in pressure over time as once our body gets used to the workout routine, we will stop seeing results. 

Examples of resistance training are – weight lifting, free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells), weight machine training

Endurance training: Endurance training is the type of training that helps our aerobic system and increases our body’s endurance levels. They help increase stamina, increase bone strength, help in weight loss, and much more.

Examples of endurance training are – Zumba fitness classes , plank, CrossFit, pushups, sit-ups, ..etc. 

What Happens to Your Body When You Start Exercising Regularly?

Within the first ten minutes your heart rate increases meaning there is an increased supply of blood to the brain, making you more alert, blocking pain signals, and then the body will use different energy systems depending on the duration and intensity of the exercise. Regular exercise helps you open up or unclog many parts of your body thereby keeping your entire body healthy and young. 

What to Do After a Workout

Each person has their own routine after a workout, The basic steps that you could follow after your workout routine should be 

  • Cooldown – If you stop exercising suddenly, your muscles will not get the chance to relax and might break, you would also feel dizzy and light headed. 
  • Stretch – It’s important to stretch your muscles so that they can return back to how they were when we started. The secret here is that muscles are not meant to be toned or buffed during or after a workout. They are meant to get in shape and tone while we rest. We will discuss more about this in the SLEEP section. 
  • Drink sips of water – Don’t drink too much, as water also gets harder to digest beyond and limit and so, too much can make you feel lazy and bloated (mainly because the body directs its energy towards trying to digest the water). 
  • Change your clothing and take a cool shower.
  • Let your body recover, relax and munch on the right snack (food items mentioned in the NUTRITION section)

Can I Transform My Body in 1 or 2 Months?

Your body transformation largely depends on what you eat and your workout regimen, as well as many individual factors including genetics. However, with a healthy diet and regular intensive workouts, you could start seeing results in as little as a month. 

If you are facing any other health issues, this could also slow your fitness process. But always remember, Fitness is a slow but rewarding process. Consistency is always rewarded in fitness. 

Should You Exercise on an Empty Stomach?

While there’s some research to support working out on an empty stomach, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ideal. When you exercise on an empty stomach, you may burn valuable energy sources and have less stamina. Low blood sugar levels may also leave you feeling lightheaded, nauseous, or shaky.

But at the same time, make sure you don’t eat too much before a workout, as mentioned before for water, food also needs time and energy to digest. The more you eat, the more your body focuses its energy there. Thereby not giving you enough energy to do exercise.


SLEEP

sleep - 3 pillars of fitness

Sleeeeeep….YES !!!, we all love sleeping. But mostly never actually get time to do it, because we indulge ourselves in other interesting events of our life, or are just pressurized by too much personal workload. 

Sleep can easily be considered as the Bouncer in front of the Door towards a Fit body.  

Why Is Sleep Considered as an Important Pillar in Fitness?

Sleep gives your body the time it needs to recover and conserve energy and also to repair and build up the muscles broken down during exercise. A good night’s sleep also helps the body produce growth hormone which is vital for athletic recovery and lean muscle building.

Sleep could also be considered as one among the most important in all of the 4 pillars, Hence it deserves a whole new article for itself. CLICK HERE The Importance of Sleep in Fitness to read all about the importance of sleep, benefits, hours recommended, and more. 


STRESS

stress - 4 pillars of fitness

Stress is probably the bad guy in this whole article, and it can easily be considered as the Path towards a fit body. Stress can easily demotivate a person towards any fitness goal and can promote excess food intake and other harmful habits that would just take us farther away from our fit body. Stress is generated from our hormone called Cortisol, it is found both in men and women, but is more in women. Hence it is important to learn to control this hormone in order to move forward. 

To know how cortisol affects women more than men, click here

How Does Stress Affect Fitness?

Increased cortisol levels can threaten muscle development, which makes you mentally and physically fatigue more quickly, which will impact your workout. High stress levels can also impact our sleep, thereby not allowing us to have proper muscle recovery and hence become very sluggish. In some cases more depressed. 

How Does Stress Affect Exercise Performance?

Stress increases muscle tension. Because this has a negative effect on motor control, our risk of injury increases. It also slows down how quickly our tissues repair themselves leading to longer recovery times.

Is It Bad to Workout When Stressed?

Even though Stress can affect our physical performance directly, exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. Hence it is always recommended to do at least light training every day if we are under stress. 

Signs and Symptoms of Stress Overload

Some of the common signs and symptoms of stress overload are 

  • Memory problems. 
  • Inability to concentrate. 
  • Poor judgment. 
  • Seeing only the negative. 
  • Anxious or racing thoughts. 
  • Constant worrying.

How Do I Relieve Myself From Stress and Anxiety?

There are different methods that work for each person differently in order to relieve themselves from stress. This could also depend on how intense the stressful situation is and what kind of situation it is. Whichever option it is, it is always important to remember that 

Everything is possible if we have the will to put effort into it

Zin Pyari

That being said, there are a few steps that we could follow to get our mindset straight so that we will be confident enough to tell ourselves the above quote 

  • Change the environment. 
  • Do something pleasurable or relaxing for a little while such as reading, watching TV, or taking a shower.
  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Go walking or running
  • Practice a rhythmic activity
  • Surround yourself with positive and happy people

Time to Regroup 

a mom and daughter looking at each other after workout

From the above article, we can conclude that there are 4 major pillars towards achieving fitness

Nutrition = Key to a fit body

Workouts = the Door to a fit body

Sleep = the Bouncer in front of the Door towards a Fit body

Stress = the Path towards a fit body

Fitness is just right outside the Door, But you need the Key to open that door. In order for you to take the Key and open the Door, you need to take the Path towards the door. And finally, in order to reach there, use the Key and open the Door, you have to get past the Bouncer in front of the door.

I hope I was able to convey my message through that simple reference. Each pillar has a significant importance in one another. Well, in other words, you cannot achieve fitness without being able to balance all four of these pillars, hence it is important that we take each of them as a priority and keep consistency in achieving our dream body. 

Still confused ? Write down your concerns in the comment box below or message me directly and I can help you


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