I get asked all the time by personal training and boot camp clients alike: "how can I get better results from my training?", or better yet "how can I eat better, to get better results from my training?"
Like it or not folks, you are walking chemistry labs. You have been misled by infomercials, and widely disseminated misinformation, into thinking you can eat whatever you want, sleep whenever you want, and do anything you want to your body, provided you just work out hard enough. Sorry to break it to you, but that's simply not true.
Think about this for a second: imagine you are a flask, and you need 4 ingredients + heat to facilitate a given reaction. The 4 ingredients can be viewed arbitrarily as key components of wellness (i.e. proper nutrition, balanced hormones, proper sleep, and absence of pathogens, heavy metals, and other poisonous substances). The heat can be viewed as the exercise. So, if any of these components are deficient or absent, does it really make sense that turning up the heat would produce the desired reaction? Not unless you are an alchemist!
As I said, one should consider all the aforementioned factors before embarking on an exercise plan, but this article, will focus only on nutrition. The other three: hormones, proper sleep, and management of pathogens/poisons all have their place in other articles. Nutrition, however, is widely considered to be the most important component of wellness. With many health and fitness professionals attributing 60%-80% of your results to food and drink intake.
We will start with how I prefer my clients to keep their food journals. Fitness is a science and there are a variety of opinions about what to focus on. I see way to many people focused only on how many calories they take in per day. But wait, didn't I say the body is a walking chemistry lab? Do you really think that eating 2,000 calories of angel food cake, and not worrying about eating anything else is a healthy way to live? Does it really seem logical, that when the body requires protein, we can live on a limited sugar-intake only? OF COURSE NOT!!! In the following example, you will notice 4 categories: time, intake, activity, and abnormal symptoms. It is concerned less with caloric intake, and more with patterns, behaviors, and types of food/drink/etc. .
|4:45 AM||-----||1 cup of coffee, 2 eggs, bowl of cereal with milk||-----|
|10:00 AM||-----||-----||felt tired|
|10:30 AM||-----||1 Red Bull||-----|
|12:30 AM||-----||3 grilled fish tacos with chips and queso||-----|
|1:30 PM||-----||-----||felt nauseated|
|2:30 PM||moved boxes for 2 hrs||-----||-----|
|6:00 PM||-----||8 oz. grilled chicken breast with broccoli||-----|
|8:30 PM||elliptical 60 min HR=130-140 BPM||-----||-----|
TIME is recorded whenever any entry is made. It should begin with when you wake, and end with when you go to bed.
ACTIVITY includes your wake-up time, bedtime, and any physically demanding activities (e.g. "moved boxes for 2 hrs" or "elliptical 60 min HR=130-140 BPM," NOT "studied for exam for 2 hrs."). There is a very important component of eating for your activity level, not just in terms of lifestyle, but in terms of specific events (e.g. Lance Armstrong probably doesn't starve himself the nights before or after the Tour de France). For more information about this subject I recommend Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition by Dr. John Ivy (University of Texas) and Dr. Robert Portman
INTAKE is any food, drink, drug, or nutritional supplement taken in any way. Below you will find 15 BASIC principles to consider in your dietary behaviors, written by Celeste Brinson, MS (nutritionist and very smart woman). These are in NO WAY COMPREHENSIVE. On the contrary, these principles are only the tip of the dietary iceberg. But, in my opinion, if you aren't doing these fundamental things, you're wasting your time by getting any more technical. However, you can and should hire a good nutritionist and/or read up more on the Mediterranean diet (be careful where you get your information). Taking better care of your body will continue to pay dividends until you take your last breath. NOTHING should be more important.
ABNORMAL SYMPTOMS is anything out of the ordinary, good or bad. This can often indicate a deficiency or allergy to the substance being taken. If you want to get more technical, I recommend the services of the Austin Wellness Clinic or something of the like. They can test your blood, saliva, ect. for all of this stuff, as well as pathogens, toxic metals, and hormonal imbalances.
The following is taken directly from a handout, authored by Celeste:
LOWER-CARB MEDITERRANEAN-TYPE DIET
The following will help balance blood sugar and hormone levels, help with Adrenal Fatigue, prevent "ups and downs" in energy and mood, and promote weight loss. It is also the heart health diet plan.
HOW TO EAT
WHAT TO EAT
- Eat every TWO hours. This relieves the stress handling glands from the job of maintaining normal blood sugar levels between meals (via epinephrine and cortisol).
- Do NOT eat carbohydrates alone; always add protein to your meals and snacks. It is especially important not to eat a carbohydrate-only breakfast.
- Avoid stimulants--caffeine, sugar, alcohol, etc.--simulants work by provoking the stress handling glands into releasing hormones to raise blood sugar and release energy.
- Avoid dead, devitalized and junk foods. These foods cannot rebuild a healthy body. They are also anti-nutrients--they rob any remaining nutrient stores from your body.
- Avoid trans fats and rancid fats. Cell membranes, nerve tissue, and steroid hormones (vitality hormones) all require healthy fats.
- Eat real, WHOLE, fresh food. Minimize fruits and juices.
- Salt your food liberally with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. Stress handling glands need plenty of salt for normal function. Research has proven that eating salt does NOT cause high blood pressure or heart disease. Only people with organ damage, like kidney disease, need to be concerned with keeping a low salt diet. In fact, low salt contributes to adrenal fatigue.
- Drink plenty of water (filtered or spring, NOT TAP WATER). Tap water is BLEACHED and will compromise your internal ecosystem.
WHAT TO EAT
- Eat foods rich in Omega fatty acids such as fatty coldwater fish including salmon, trout, tuna, herring, and mackerel. Eat walnuts, flaxseeds, and green leafy vegetables. Or, if you prefer, take an Omega 3 supplement such as a high quality fish oil (there are also vegetarian options).
- Use monounsaturated oils, especially raw extra virgin olive oil, as your primary fat source. DO NOT USE CANOLA OIL.
- Eat seven or more servings of vegetables and fruits (remember to watch excessive fruit intake) every day. Vegetables and fruits should be fresh or frozen, NOT CANNED. Vegetables can be slightly cooked, steamed, or eaten raw.
- Eat natural sources of good protein, NOT MAN-MADE DELI MEATS, and preferably ORGANIC meat (raised without the use of estrogens or antibiotics).
- Eat more vegetable protein including: peas, beans, lentils, and nuts. Also, use QUINOA (keen-wah) as your main grain.
- Eat only organic whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, barley). No refined carbohydrates like white flour, white rice, white pasta, white sugar.
- Make simple carbohydrates (such as breads, pastas, and grains) your smallest food group