Men’s Health Week: FUEL FOR FITNESS

What does it mean for you to be fit? Does it mean you’re an asset to the local footy team? Able to chase down your kids at the playground? Enjoy woodworking and banter with the boys at The Men’s Shed? Turn the beer gut to a six pack… of muscles? Able to leave the house without being self-conscious of what people will think of you? Avoid driving to the drive-through and walk to get a ham and salad roll? Being fit enough to walk 18 holes daily in retirement?

To be fit, you need to fuel your body right. Here I want to talk about the 6 “P’s”. When smoko comes, tools down, tucker up, but don’t forget:



Controlling your body weight can have positive effects on your general wellbeing. People who are considered a healthy weight tend to be more active, have more energy, better mobility and breathe easier. Through better diet choices you can improve your health, lifestyle, prevent disease and promote wellness.

We eat food and it gives us energy; measured in kilojoules in Australia, or calories in America. The energy comes from four components in our food: protein, carbohydrates, fats and alcohol. WHAT DO YOU FUEL UP ON?

Protein and carbohydrates = 16 kilojoules per gram

Alcohol = 29 kilojoules per gram

Fat = 37 kilojoules per gram

So, say for smoko you have a pastie and a 600ml chockie milk. Did you know the energy in that is also equivalent to 2 slices of multigrain bread with a scrape of margarine, a small tin of tuna in springwater and salad, 2 pears, 1 tub of no fat or diet yoghurt, 375ml low fat Iced Coffee and 6 grainy crackers with vegemite? (1). It’s all about being aware of what’s in your food. The take home messages here are FUEL UP ON THE FRESH STUFF and MAN UP IN THE KITCHEN.


To put it simply, here’s what you need to do to burn off some common foods (2)…

  • Chase Mona for 6km burns 1633kJ: 1 meat pie is 1680kJ, no sauce.
  • Playing footy for North Ballarat Roosters 60 minutes burns 2940kJ: 1 takeaway hamburger is 2900kJ, no chips, no drinks.
  • 9 holes of golf burns 2940kJ: 3 slices of BBQ pizza 2646kJ.
  • Cycling Lake Wendouree with moderate intensity for 1 hour burns 2286kJ: a 600ml soft drink and a donut is 2060kJ.
  • An hour of lawn bowls burns 980kJ: 1 large standard coffee is 920kJ
  • Swimming laps for 30 minutes burns 1143kJ: 1 sausage is 1069kJ
  • Walking the dog for 30 minutes 490kJ: 1 stubby is 570kJ


LOW CARB Vs. LOW ALCOHOL: Alcoholic drinks are generally high in energy because they contain both alcohol (29kJ per gram) and carbohydrates (16kJ per gram). A low carbohydrate alcoholic drink is not necessarily lower in energy, and may provide more alcohol. Overall, alcohol contributes to weight gain and can also stimulate your appetite, resulting in an even higher energy intake (3). The NHMRC recommends no more than 2 standard drinks (278ml each) on any one day. A full strength stubby (375ml) is 1.4 standard drinks. So 2 stubbies is 2.8 standard drinks!


So man-up lads. Commit to fit and re-think your fuel


Whitney Atkinson, Owner and Accredited Practising Dietitian.



1. Sourced from “Weight Loss Energy”, resource from Nutrition Professionals Australia 2008

2. Note these figures are approximate values for an average male of 85kg, 175cm tall and 35 years old, calculated from:

3. Sourced from “Alcohol”, resource from Nutrition Professionals Australia 2008

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