In last weeks 50th article of the column I gave you my top 15 training tips and basically was a refresher of all the training advice I have given you in the column since the very start.This weeks piece can be treated as a part 2 if you like and will focus on my top basic tips I feel are worthy of a mention in relation to your nutrition.A lot of the time the basics can get brushed to the side and the more complex information creeps in that can make everything a little more confusing to digest.
Let me start by re-emphasising that I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or affiliated with any supplement store or brand. Instead, I will try and cover the basic information in an honest way and give you the advice I offer to my clients.
Nutrition can be a minefield for most.Over the 10 years of working in the fitness industry I have seen many fat-loss fads and myths lead people down the wrong path.From different diets,quick fixes,magic pills and certain supplements you dont need the routes are really endless people choose to go down and a lot of these choices are never really sustainable and wont get you far.
- 80/20 rule always works
I have talked about this area before in the column and its the best approach to living a realistic fit and healthy lifestyle.80% of the time we should eat real nutritious healthy food or #JERF as I like to say.-80% of the time JUST EAT REAL FOOD.Fresh meat,fish,green leafy vegetables,some fruit,nuts and seeds some starch and some sugar.Allow yourself to let loose a little and 20% have certain foods that we all know at this stage that should be treated with some moderation.Certain foods shouldn’t be forbidden or banned from your daily life, food intolerance’s excepted of course.Eating 100% “clean” is a path that is actually quite unnecessary and has proven to lead to a crash and binge down the line-So go have that pizza or ice-cream, just don’t overdo it.
- Context matters
What works for me or you, may not be ideal for someone else. We all have different goals, body types, hormonal systems, activity levels, lifestyles and surroundings.Don’t be fooled by going down the same avenue just because it seems to work for someone else.We all need different training regimes depending on our goals and your diet should be treated the same.Just because a certain diet or approach worked for one individual doesn’t always mean it will work for you.Sure,if you both get some of the basics mentioned below right together that’s a great start but you may need a few little tweaks to your own personal plan.
- Application is the problem
Most of us should know at this stage the basic information on how and where to start in relation to living a healthy lifestyle.The biggest obstacle I see is that people know what they need to do most of the time with the basics but a lot of the time they don’t apply it to their daily life.I am not talking the more confusing things like how much macronutrients you need each day or what supplement is useful to look into but really more the basic stuff.We all know at this stage what junk food is,that water is good for us and we should be getting some form of exercise into our week.A lot of the time we hear excuses like eating healthy is expensive and not having enough time to prepare healthy meals.You can eat healthy cheap these days and time isn’t and shouldn’t be a factor to looking after your health.If it is important to you then you will make the time and effort.
- Calories matter
This is pretty basic.Measure your recommended caloric intake using any an online calculator. It’s simple –eating lots of calories with little to no activity will lead to weight gain. So get working on that — figure out how many calories you should be taking in with the correct macro-nutrient breakdown your goals.
- Your protein intake is too low
This is very common with most clients I initially work with.I don’t blame them for this as a lot of the time we are quite unsure on macronutrient breakdown.My role of a trainer is not only to train my clients but it is to educate them a little better on how they can live a fit and healthier lifestyle.Let me start by saying that we all need protein in our diet.Its not just for the lads and doesn’t always mean its going to make you look big and bulky!A lot of the time we just don’t get enough protein into our day.I have wrote an article called all the basic information you need to know about protein and I have no doubt it will help you out.
- Stay on top of your hydration
This is a pretty obvious point but you will be surprised at the amount of people who are going about their day dehydrated. If you are unsure about whether or not you are dehydrated, then you could use a simple urine chart to measure what level you are at.
- Drastically cutting carbs all the time wont work
This is something I come across quite a lot with new clients coming into me.A lot the time they have been cutting carbs from their diet in hope its going to help them drop body fat and look a little leaner.Generally within some time they crash,fall back into a binge and have to start all over again hoping its going to work next time around. For some reason we think that drastically cutting carbs from our diets is something that will work.What I suggest here is carb cycling and calculating the amount of carbs you need on certain days.Days you are a little more active that others can be a day when you can bump up your intake and days you rest and move less can be a day you can cut down a little.But bottom line is that carbs are good and should be included for most of our goals.
- Supplements isn’t the answer initially
Time and time again I see people going down the route of buying certain supplements with the hope it can help them drop a little more body fat, improve their performance in the gym and aid their chances of losing weight.From working in the industry for the last 10 years, I can safely say that yes, some supplements do have a place for certain individuals but they should only be looked at once you have the basics covered when it comes to your nutrition and other lifestyle factors.
- The guessing game
In a previous article in relation to your training I mentioned the phrase “If you are not assessing then you are really only guessing” Testing your skinfolds or even retesting benchmark workouts is something I suggest to clients every 6-8 weeks just to measure any progress and this goes for the same with your nutrition.If you have a body composition goal or performance goal in mind then initially once you start your new plan you should asses the number of calories you need each day along with figuring out all the grams of macronutrients you need to hit your targets. Guessing macronutirents and eating what you like with the hope that all the training you’re doing is sufficient, or even cutting out carbs, are areas I have seen people try but not sustain over a period of time.
- If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is
We have all seen it at this stage.The quick fixes, fat loss pills,14 day transformations food plans and the wonder supplements that will change your appearance in weeks-Welcome to the world of fitness marketing.The truth is almost everyone in fitness is trying to sell you something. A product, programme, a diet pill or a magic quick-fix.My advice here to you is -“If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is”Very rarely someone tries to sell you the truth — that there are no shortcuts. You can’t beat the basics — patience, hard work and consistency. It may be boring but it’s true.There are no magic pills, quick-fixes or special training programmes out there that will have you dropping body fat within a week or two.Nothing worth having comes easy. If you are persistent, you will achieve your goals. If you are consistent, you will hold on to those goals.
You can also see some of his previous articles here.