Updated: Jun 30, 2019
"Nutrition, and all of its various and complex components, is something that i think we should all have a basic grasp of. The following sections are in no way greatly detailed, but i think serveÂ as an entry point for visitors to my site to begin to understand how important nutrition is when following a training program andÂ in ordinary, everyday life"
To understand nutrition and how it fuels the body is a fundamental necessity if you're serious about making a change and improving your body composition.
You may have heard the saying "you can't out-train a bad diet" and, for the most part, this is true. Understanding that it's not all about chicken, broccoli and rice everyday is key to success.
If you're in a calorie deficit and there's no light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a muffin or a little pick and mixÂ then chances are you're going to become disenchanted with the whole thing.
I always tell my clients that they can pretty much eat what they want, as long as their macro split is met, they make sensible choicesÂ and it's not ALL pizza! If you do want a pizza then simply account for it. Pizza on saturday? sure, i'll just make sure my NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is elevated for the week before (this could be going for an hours walk everyday, doing some gardening, going for a bike ride, walking to the local shops instead of driving etc...) and also 'banking' calories to make up for it. It's really not rocket science, it's simply calories IN vs calories OUT.
Carbohydrates give you energy and fuel your intense workouts. At times your workouts are going to be gruelling, so you'll need to fuel them adequately. Carbs have been demonised in the media with fad diets and 'celebrities' recklessly endorsing programs they don't fully understand. Simply put it's like trying to buy something on a credit card when you don't have enough credit...you need energy to train so that you can maximise your output, if you don't have that energy available then your training will suffer, as will your results. CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY!!
Try and eat low G.I carbohydrates as a part of your main meals, foods such as wholemeal pasta, brown rice and sweet potatoes. There is is also a time and place for higher G.I carbs, particularly pre- and post-workout. The glycemic index (GI) is basically a ranking given to foods based on their effect on blood glucose levels. Both simple and complex carbohydrates provide 4Kcals per gram.
Fats assist in certain brain functions and are needed for hormone production. Important fat sources (monounsaturated fats) can be found in olive oil, nuts and fatty fish. Supplementing with essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) is also a good idea. Flax seed oil and fish oils are good sources of EFAs (essential fatty acids)
A mistake a lot of people make is to avoid taking in dietary fats for fear of actually getting fat. When you are seeking to gain muscle mass you absolutely need a healthy intake of good fats in your diet. They are essential for good health and, in men, maintaining a high level of testosterone.
Healthy fats are best sourced from foods such as nuts, seeds, oils, avocado and fish.
Protein is the building block of muscle. When you train with weights, you tear down muscle and that muscle must repair. Protein helps with that repair after a rigorous weight training session.
Eat a variety of protein sources to ensure you get the full spectrum of amino acids. Amino acids are the structure of proteins. There are 20 in total and 8 of those are considered essential (primary) amino acids.
Foods such as lean steaks, chicken breasts, fish, milk, kidney beans, eggs, chickpeas, and tuna are great sources. Whey protein is also a great way to bump up your protein intake, but shouldn't be relied upon, it is a supplement after all.
High-protein, low-carb diets can be much more effective than energy-restricted low-fat diets for fat loss and weight maintenance. High-protein diets allow you to maintain muscle mass while increasing your metabolic rate which is key to fat loss.
FIBRE AND WATER
Simply put, fibre is the 'skeleton' of plants. It is found in the outer walls of plants and seeds and is more abundant in 'unrefined' foods such as fresh vegetables, whole grain breads, oats, beans and other legumes.
Have plenty of vegetables and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Fibre and water are important for carrying waste out of the body. Try and aim for around 20-30g of fibre a day.
Vegetables also contain powerful antioxidants, which help your body recover from workouts. Spinach, broccoli and lettuce are excellent sources of fibre.