Nutrition is a critical component of any well-rounded training routine. Whether your goal is to lean out, lose weight, gain muscle mass or just improve your overall health and well being what you put into your body matters. My clients who have cleaned up their diets have achieved the best results.
Over the past few years, I’ve experimented with my diet a lot. I’ve done juice cleanses, completely cut out dairy, grains, alcohol, sugar at times and played around with the timing and portion sizes of meals. I focus on what I’m putting in my body, rather than what I am avoiding—and my focus is organic produce, healthy fats, high quality proteins and low-glycemic (always gluten free, usually grain free) carboydrates. My specialty certification in Fitness Nutrition allows me to better share my nutrition experience and research with clients.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every body is different and each person has unique goals. Regardless of that there are some suggestions that can be made across the board.
- Eat foods that make you feel good (and no I’m not just talking about a sugar high or emotional cathartic release!). Foods that keep your head feeling clear and your gut feeling clean and that give you the energy you need to get through your day. One way to identify what foods you feel best on is to do an elimination diet, and reintroduce foods slowly while tracking how you feel. It takes dedication, but it can be very powerful
- Eat real food. Reduce/eliminate your intake of processed foods and opt for high-quality fresh foods – choose organic produce and grass-fed/pasture raised meats when possible
- Read food labels for sugar content. I’ve read organic chicken broth labels only to find that there is added sugar in it. Clients have been astounded that their “healthy” morning yogurt has over 15 grams of sugar. The sugar industry is sneaky, and knows that you are more likely to stick to eating foods with sugar in it (because they taste good and are highly addictive) so watch out! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 37.5 and 25 grams per day of sugar for men and women, respectively. Your plain yogurt could already be hitting 2/3 of your daily intake without you even knowing-that is scary!
Typically I either have my clients complete a food diary so I can coach them on how to make sustainable changes to their eating habits, or I simply have them pick a program from a dietician/nutritionist and follow that. Here are a few of my favorite resources clients have had tremendous success with:
- Involves rotating through food groups. Requires serious commitment to food prep, but my clients have had AMAZING results when they follow through with it.
- “Paleo” plan- eliminate grains, refined carbohydrates, dairy and other foods that can cause inflammation for 30 days.
- Take a 60 question questionnaire to determine if you are better off eating carbs, protein/fats or a mixture of both.
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