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Nutrition key in performance

By Pfc. Dustin M. Rawls | | January 23, 2003

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The last thing on the mind of a young Marine could very easily be their diet, but when living the physically demanding life of a Marine, it should be close to the top of their priorities.

"Nutrition for Peak Performance" is a lecture given through Semper Fit on the effects and importance of a Marine's diet on many different aspects of their health, said Rebecca Haug, Fitness Coordinator, Semper Fit.

Haug said, "It's a basic nutrition lecture on how you can eat a proper diet and eat to feel better."

There are many things people don't think about that a correct diet can effect .

Different foods can enhance energy levels, promote weight loss and to build necessary vitamin and mineral supplies, said Haug.

"There are certain foods that make you feel sluggish," she said.

Not eating the right foods can also take a toll on one's appearance.

"You can tell if someone has a certain vitamin deficiency just by looking at them," explained Haug.

She said, "The saying, 'you are what you eat,' is very true."

In the lecture, given at the Sonoran Pueblo, the food pyramid was discussed and also ideal amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to have in one's diet.

One subject that every Marine should be familiar with is the importance of water.

"You'd be amazed at how many people don't understand the importance of drinking plenty of water," said Haug.

One of the most underestimated and ignored nutrition facts is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Haug said, "When you don't eat breakfast, your blood sugar drops, and your metabolism slows down."

When someone doesn't have breakfast, their system has nothing in it and gets off cycle. It doesn't want to use its reserves, because it doesn't know when it will receive fuel again, said Haug. When this happens the body doesn't burn enough calories.

Metabolism and burning calories are also key in proper nutrition.

In order to burn calories and keep a healthy metabolism, a steady diet must be obtained.

"Eating frequent meals is very important," said Haug.

When eating frequent meals, it is possible to get too full. This can lead to a lack of energy, so although it is good to eat frequently, the amount of food consumed should be controlled, said Haug.

Eating right and getting the right amount of exercise are great steps to take toward a healthy lifestyle, said Haug.

It can be hard to live a healthy lifestyle if someone has not been shown the path. Lectures like this one are means of finding the path.

The lecture was first in a series of four lectures that will be given over the next couple of months as part of Semper Fit's "Check into Semper Fit" challenge, said Haug.

The lectures take place at the Sonoran Pueblo every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. An evening lecture is also offered Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. Semper Fit lectures are open to active duty and family members on station.

The topic of the lecture will be changed every two weeks until March 6. The next lecture will be a basic fitness lecture followed by an injury prevention lecture, and the last one will be a lecture on dietary supplements and their effects.

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