The Importance of Good Nutrition
The basicsAnyone who knows me well, knows this is my “soapbox” topic!
I am very passionate about educating my clients on making good choices and how to prepare for success!
You can spend all day in the gym and never see results if you keep eating the same “bad” food. It’s a package deal! Eat right and exercise! I recommend starting with learning the basics of healthy eating. What IS healthy eating really?
Let’s talk CARBS
Carbohydrates are essential to a properly functioning body. Energy needed for the basic functions of life comes from carbs. I can’t stress enough how important they are! I am always educating clients to start with protein when calculating their macros for meals but in NO WAY do I leave out carbs. Unless you’re competing and doing a “carb cycle” to lean out I see no reason to cut valuable carbs from your diet.
You can certainly (and I recommend) eliminate a carb source from your evening meal focusing on a fatty protein and a lot of GREENS in that meal. Otherwise, please, for the love of Pete eat your carbs! No need to be grumpy or feel lethargic.
Let’s look at carbs. What makes them “good” or “bad”? Bad (or empty) carbs that should be avoided are those from processed foods and white flours. White bread, pasta and gluten and sugar filled treats are NOT things I would ever recommend you consume. Good, healthy, dense carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa and gluten free oatmeal should be staples in your diet. Gluten free items help to reduce bloating and possible allergic reactions that it can cause.
Now, let’s talk PROTEIN! Obviously, protein is necessary for building healthy muscles and for existence in general. I’ve learned that most people don’t eat enough protein and are actually surprised when I tell them how much they should be consuming. In any given day you should be eating as many grams of protein as you weigh. That seems crazy, huh? But it’s true! A well balanced “meal” should have a proper proportion of protein, carbs, greens and fats. Yes, I said FATS. Let’s create a “sample” meal to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.
Sample lunchLean protein: chicken breast, ground turkey or ground chicken, white fish, eggs, or tofu. Typical portion will be between 4-6 ounces depending on your weight and goals. Next, please add some good dense carbs: brown rice, sweet potato or quinoa. 1/4 to 1/2 cup typically.
Greens should be 1/2 – 1 cup. Broccoli, spinach, green beans, or asparagus. And 1/4 cup of FAT. Avocado is my go to fat. It’s delicious and so good for you. Natural peanut or almond butter is a good option too. Cooking in olive oil adds some good fat as well.
Let’s talk about moderation. In the fitness world, many competitors and athletes don’t indulge in “cheat” meals but I recommend them if you are not at this level. I don’t do them when I’m on “prep” for a show but when I am not prepping I’m a FAN of it. A weekly cheat meal helps to reset your metabolism and is often referred to as a “refuel” meal. Your body will get used to eating the same food everyday and you will plateau. You need to “shock” your system and have a fresh start each week. When doing a cheat meal… do a REAL LEGIT cheat meal. I once reported to my former coach that I had had a bowl of raisin bran with peanuts in it for my cheat meal and he was beside himself upset with me and explained to me that I needed to have some grease and “stuff” in that meal. So, the next week I thought about that upcoming treat all week and when Saturday evening came I went to my favorite place and ordered the BIGGEST, JUICIEST, GREASIEST burger you’ve ever seen. It was amazing and made me feel like I was committing the ultimate crime. LOL.
The next morning I weighed in and had actually lost 3 pounds that week even with the meal.. It really helped with cravings, knowing I could have that one thing I truly wanted at the end of the week. I don’t recommend skipping this vital meal while in this phase of your program. On the flipside, If you are my client and we take you off your cheat meal .. I fully expect you to NOT do it. There’s a method to my madness I like to say. All things are done with a specific purpose. I carefully and thoughtfully change meal plans according to goals and progress.
This is one of the main reasons you hire someone like me. To educate and advise on these things. To monitor your progress and make changes when needed.
You need a trainer to show you how to workout in the gym, teach you proper form and keep your workouts fresh and beneficial to your body. You also need a trainer that can help you learn the basics of good nutrition and how and when to eat. So, we looked at what to eat… how about WHEN? Your goals will also dictate this. If you are an athlete or competitor you will eat more often that someone who is a lot less active. I eat every 2-3 hours and recommend the same for my clients. I love when clients say they forget to eat… Huh? You should be so hungry that you can’t wait for your next meal. If you aren’t feeling like this then your metabolism needs to be ignited. I set the alarm on my cell phone for the times I am supposed to eat. I stop whatever I’m doing and eat my prepared meal right then. I have been known to pull over into a parking lot and eat.
Many cold and lukewarm meals have been eaten in my day. LOL. It’s all part of the process and part of being dedicated.
Let’s talk sugar. Is ALL sugar bad? No way!
BUT natural sugar from fruit is obviously better for you. I always recommend your fruit to be eaten in the earlier part of the day. That gives you ample time to burn it off. Your body will enjoy the energy boost it gets and your taste buds will enjoy the taste.
Lets’s talk alcohol: A glass of wine with your cheat meal is thought to be ok. The issue with alcohol isn’t the actual alcohol itself that is so bad but the mixers used to create those yummy tasting drinks that adds so many empty calories and can cause sugar levels to spike. The spike in your sugar levels is what causes your metabolism to slow down. It’s best to avoid alcohol while on a program or limit your intake to one glass with your cheat meal.
How about eating out: It is possible to be sociable and stay on track. In Denver, I’m lucky to have Tokyo Joe’s restaurants to go to. They are known in the fitness industry for healthy meals and tasty options. Protein House is anther great place to eat. You can find those in Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Missouri currently.
If you are planning an evening out with friends or a lunch out with co-workers you can always find something on the menu. I am NOT going to say fast food is ok. If you can make your way to a sit down style restaurant they usually have salad or chicken options you can order how you would like it. I have ordered grilled chicken minus the sauce with double veggies and it came with a side salad that I had without dressing. Most nicer places will have a lean sirloin and an option for salmon or whitefish.
Ask for NO sauce, order the broiled or baked version and no breeding. You can’t control what they cook the vegetables in but you can ask them to leave off the butter. Most places can accommodate that. I have also found that Subway makes a chopped spinach salad with roasted chicken – it’s good in a pinch for the days you leave the house for work and your prepped meal is left sitting on the counter.
Mindset. This is HUGE. If you enter a program with the right mindset you’ll be far more successful than if you start with a poor attitude.
Seeing this as a gift you’re giving yourself and not as a restriction will help dramatically.
Food is FUEL .. let me say that again! FOOD IS FUEL. Like putting gas in a car. Your beautiful, fast, luxury car requires premium fuel and so does that beautiful body of yours! Feed it well and often and it will reward you with good health and a longer life. Focus on taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Rest when you can and have as much fun as you possibly can! Life is to be LIVED!
Food PrepCooking and preparing your meals ahead of time is one sure fire way to be successful. I find that cooking for 3 hours on a Sunday or Monday is far better than cooking everyday. It’s also the BEST way to NOT mess up on your plan. You’re hungry, it’s time to eat .. grab a prepped meal and heat it up. Tadah!! Success .. What’s the alternative? You you grab something from the fridge that’s not on your diet or worse (fast food) because it’s quick and easy. DON’T set yourself up for failure. PREPARE for success and you’ll achieve it!
Parents, this applies to healthy snacks and meals for your children too.
Teach them healthy habits early and they’ll follow suit.