If you've been to the Chapel Hill Training studio for a workout, ever, you've definitely heard myself or one of our staff mention the importance of nutrition on reaching, maintaining, and exceeding your goals. Nutrition is vital to the success of every single person out there trying to improve their health, fitness level, or aesthetics. Within proper nutrition there is one indoctrinated rule that all fitness professionals will tell you: in order to be healthy, you have to know what you're putting into your body, and there's no better way to do that than cooking. Here are a few reasons why I follow that rule and you should too!
1. Knowledge is Power
As I mentioned in my opening statement, the most important reason to cook is because Knowledge is Power! At Chapel Hill Training, our exercise prescription is based on the fundamentals of physiology and nutrition which differs not only from client to client, but within individual mesocycles of each person's programming as well. Cooking allows you and us to know exactly what is going in to your body, what exercise stress is being induced on your body, and adjust as needed in order to reach your goals in a timely manner. When you buy and make your own food, everything from serving sizes, macronutrient distribution (percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), added sugar, micronutrient breakdown (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, etc), and calorie count can be measured and accounted for. As you become more adept at preparing food, you'll subconsciously have a better understanding for how much food you should eat and when you may have deviated too much on calories or macronutrient ranges ,and can adapt on the fly whether you're eating in, or eating out!
2. Conserve Money
Another huge reason to cook is to protect your wallet! Eating out can be expensive! In 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household used a whopping 43% of it's allocated food spending budget on food prepared away from home. With an average food budget of $7,023, that means about $3,020 was spent on food prepared by someone other than yourself. **warning - unverified claim coming in hot!** Restaurants typically charge about 300% the cost of what it takes to make their food, meaning you just spent $2,013 more than the actual value of the food you consumed. While eating 100% of your meals at home is unrealistic for almost any person, you see my point. Cooking can easily save you money that you can spend on that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing!
3. Convenience & time
This one is going to be a hard sell for some of you, but hear me out! Eating at a sit down restaurant or even your favorite burrito joint is unquestionably less convenient than cooking and preparing food yourself. ** warning - second unverified claim coming in hot** For arguments sake, let's say the average food preparation time at home is approximately 30 minutes from start to the first bite on your taste buds. Now, for a couple data points. A study conducted by Long Range Systems, LLC found that 71% of guests at all restaurants wait between 0-30 minutes before being served, with only 15% having a wait less than 10 minutes (i). At a sit down restaurant, this means you'll have much longer to wait by the time your drink order is taken, you decide what you want, order your meal, and then it is brought out to you. Another study done by AertherWorks, found that the average time spent at Chipotle until food is received was approximately 15 minutes and 56 seconds (ii). If you account for travel time, lets say around 15 minutes round trip, then you'll be eating your food at almost the exact same time, assuming that food is brought back home with you. There's another factor not being accounted for here as well, you can prepare multiple meals at home in the same time frame! Yep, that means one bout of 30 minute preparation work can ensure that you have food for lunch and dinner the following day, while saving money in the process, AND knowing exactly what you're putting into your body.
Help us help you and start cooking today! If you're looking for a great recipe to get started with, then check out our first ever meal prep course this Sunday evening as part of our annual fitness challenge! Check out our Facebook and Instagram for our very own Rob Langston's famous Stir Fry.