“Free your mind”
You have a choice. You can take the blue pill, go home and wake up tomorrow believing whatever you want. Or you can take the red pill, stay in Wonderland and I will show you how far down the rabbit hole goes…
Good Choice. All I offer is the truth. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Your body is a machine built on a system of causes and effects. You bump your arm on a door knob in the middle of the night. The bumps causes the superficial capillaries in your arm to burst and blood to seep into the surrounding area. This seeped blood looks dark under your skin, AKA a bruise. There are countless examples of cause and effect in the body. Today we will discuss nutrition.
First, as a reminder nutrition is the BASE of our pyramid for athletic development. The bigger, thicker and stronger the base of pyramid, the more likely you will have success athletically. You can’t treat your nutrition (let’s define this as eating AND DRINKING) like a truck stop dumpster buffet and expect Ferrari-esque results. In addition, TIME is a factor here. How long did it take you to look like you do now? 20 years? 30 years? 40 years? It takes concentrated effort and TIME to make a physical change. Far too many times people get moving in the right direction after YEARS of abuse and they get mad because the scale doesn’t change for a week, month, or months. The change happens on the inside FIRST. They are shown after the change takes place.
In ANY athletic pursuit skill acquisition can be divided into 3 waves of adaptation (we will dive into this in the next blog). For simplification purposes, the 1st wave is consistency. The 2nd wave is appropriate response. The 3rd wave is tweaking/geeking out to squeeze out every last drop of adaptation. Nutrition is NO DIFFERENT. 1st wave is all about learning WHAT to do and making consistent habit forming choices. Learning what to eat and experimenting may take some time 1 week to 12 weeks. This 1st wave starts to change you from the INSIDE. Things you can’t see are the predominant changers here. Cholesterol, blood pressure, resting glucose, A1c, triglycerides, etc… While you may not SEE a lot of change here, trust me it’s there. A lot of people, if we looked at the above numbers when they come in to the gym would be classified as SICK. Your goal is FIT. Before you start to get FIT you first have to get WELL. The 1st wave what to do gets us started.
WHAT TO DO: Eat Real food. Your food for the most part should not have an ingredients list. It should not be FORTIFIED with vitamins and minerals. Cover 2/3 of your plate(a salad plate is plenty big enough) with a variety of vegetables. Use the last 1/3 and fill with high quality protein (while I recommend animal based sources, I am not opposed to vegetarian options here. The goal is high quality). Scoop on a generous portion of good quality FATs. BOOM. Done. This will work for 99.9% of people. Eat 3 meals per day. If you are hungry eat a 4th. Learning to eat high quality food here is paramount. Learning what less than desirable food DO TO your body is also worth noting here. For instance, when I eat bread (not a REAL FOOD by the way) and work out hard, my joints hurt. When I eat veggie based and workout hard, they do not. Not very scientific I know, but subjectivity holds weight. Folks here often go into the deep end of the pool without floaties. Give yourself some wiggle room. Give yourself a percentage of perfect eating. Ideally it is 100%, BUT we all cave occasionally. A starting point is 90/10. 90 percent of your meals are on point and 10 percent are less than desirable. **Disclaimer** A MEAL is one serving. If you gorge a whole pizza, that counts for like 4 meals. Do a quick math problem. If you eat 3 meals a day for 7 days = 21 eating opportunities. For a 90/10 split you need to eat 19 meals ON POINT, then 2 are users choice. This makes it a QUANTIFIABLE way to score eating.
2nd wave for nutrition- here is the body doing what it is supposed to do with the food. Your body should get really efficient at processing food and turning it into fuel. Here is where you SEE the effects first hand. Are you getting stronger? Are you getting faster? Do you recover better between WODs? Do you see an AB peeking through? Do you sleep better? Do you wake up with mental clarity not fog? Congrats this is what good nutrition is supposed to do! It FUELS performance, nothing more. Do you feel that 3pm crash? Yes, then might need some food quality tweaks here. If you can’t tell by now, alcohol affects your performance. The older you get, the worse it gets. Alcohol is the quickest way to sabotage a quality nutrition program. It undoes so much of what you are doing. Alcohol is a neurotoxin plain and simple. It changes your brain. That buzz you feel is a reaction. I will not get in my ivory tower and tell you how I never drink. I do. I love a good gin and tonic. I just understand the effect the next day that will have on my performance. Expect strength numbers to be down. Expect workout times to be a little slower. Expect a little more soreness. It also counts for a meal. Plan for it.
3rd Wave for nutrition- THIS is where you can play with super specific numbers, nutrient timing, adjust macros, play with supplementation to augment training/eating. It makes no sense to start all the above mentioned stuff UNTIL you get into the habit of eating better and for the right reasons. 3rd wave is where you can really geek-out on the individual nature of eating as it relates to you. In this Wave we can adjust carbohydrate/fat/protein intake quantities to coincide with exercise and performance goals. There is no sense getting on a whole bunch of nutritional supplements UNTIL you dial in WHAT you are eating.
Learn WHAT to eat
Understand WHAT food does for your body as it influences performance. Experiment.
Fine tune to get optimal results.
There is so much information out there on eating. Reading it all can be overwhelming and paralyzing. It is time to simplify.