In 10 Healthy Eating and Nutrition Tips I outlined a very simple approach to making good food choices. Ten simple rules that if followed would significantly improve your chances of dropping unwanted body fat. Couple that with Strength Training and Training Principles and you’re well on your way to achieving the body you’ve always wanted.
What happens when you don’t follow these rules? What happens when you continue to eat and make the same nutritional choices you were before you started training? Remember those same choices that got you to sign up for the gym in the first place.
You stay the same. Things get worse. Or your progress is slow…snail pace. And that is not what you want. You’ve made the decision that you don’t look and feel your best. You’re constantly tired, you lack energy, you’re weak and easily get out of breath. Now you’re training 1,2,3 maybe 4 times per week- great, but nothings happening, you see no significant changes to your body.
If something isn’t working you change it. But most of the time we lie to ourselves. If I smash my head against a brick wall it hurts! Lesson: don’t smash your head against a brick wall it will hurt. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself it feels good it’s hurting me. So I never do it again. If I eat a whole bag of potato chips, tub of ice cream, pasta, pizza, deep fried chicken and drink soda on a regular bases I will be fat! Lesson: don’t eat a whole bag of potato chips, tub of ice cream, pasta, pizza, deep fried chicken or drink soda you will be fat. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself it tastes soooo good, it’s hurting me. So never do it again.
Just because you’re spending 2hrs in the gym doesn’t mean you can treat your body like dumpster. There are 168hrs in one week, spending 2 of those in the gym will not make up for the other 166 spent sitting in your car, on the couch, in bed or at the kitchen table. You cannot out exercise bad nutrition. That bears repeating YOU CANNOT OUT EXERCISE BAD NUTRITION.
Let’s start with ACCOUNTABILITY.
Own up to the fact that you are not doing everything you can to make the changes you want. Take action. You will need to change your habits- probably the most difficult thing I will ever ask of you. To change habits you will need the desire the “want to” and a strategy the “how to”.
The “want to” is all up to you but the “how to” is where this blog comes in. Depending on where you’re at right now, this could mean making big changes. But by making those changes to how you eat, you’ll also reap the rewards. You’ll improve your mood and sense of well being, the quality of your sleep, they way you perform in day-to-day activities or during athletic events, and of course, the way you look.
Why WILLPOWER and MOTIVATION won’t help you.
Willpower is very limited and motivation comes and goes. Never count on it. Ever.
Instead, build an environment, a system, and a support network that helps you get to your goals.
1. If there is temptation i.e bad food in your house, you’ll eat it. Get rid of it. If it’s not in your house how can you eat it, right?
2. If you’re surrounded by people who don’t support your goals, you’ll have a tougher uphill journey than a spawning salmon. So take a class, join a group, say hi to other fit folks in your gym, and build a strong social support network of fit and healthy people.
3. If you wait till you feel full of energy to work out, you’ll never do it. So schedule it like an appointment.
KISS works for everything.
Keep It Simple Stupid. 10 Healthy Eating and Nutrition Tips is as simple as it gets but here are a few more KISS worthy strategies and tips to focus on.
1. Eat Slowly. Check your watch. Start eating. When you’re done, check your watch again. How long did it take you? Our guess: not long enough. Your goal is at least 15 to 20 minutes per meal. You need that long in order to taste your food properly, and to let your body tell your brain that you’re full. Put your utensils down between bites. Chew properly. Savour what you’re eating. Enjoy it. Spend time with it. You’ll enjoy food more, and get leaner to boot.
2. Eat Until You’re 80% Full. What the heck does that mean? It means you eat until you’re just satisfied. Until you’re no longer physically hungry. Instead of “stuffed” or “full”. Don’t get hung up on exactly what “80% full” is, or whether you’re getting to “75%” or “88%”. Shoot for the general idea. Remember: eat s-l-o-w-l-y. Be patient with “80% full”. It takes practice. But once you get the hang of learning your physical (rather than your social or psychological) hunger cues, this one will be a breeze.
3. Sleep. Sleep changes your hormone balance and your recovery ability. This changes how your body responds to nutrients, exercise, and stress. The more sleep you get, the leaner you are. The less sleep you get, the fatter, weaker, and sicker you’re eventually likely to be. At least 1-2 hours before bed, turn off the TV, computer, and cell phone. Darken the room. And get ready to sleep yourself lean.
4. Pay Attention. If you’re struggling to change bad habits, start by becoming aware of what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling (both physically and emotionally). We call this noticing and naming. You can’t change something if you’re clueless. So tune in.
5. One Thing At A Time. Sure, we all love “change everything” moments like winning the lottery. But that ain’t reality. Forget thinking about change. Forget reading about change. Do change. Act. Now. The only way to succeed at anything is to take action now — ONE small step at a time. Today, what is ONE, very, very small action you can do to move towards the change you want? What could you do in the next three minutes? Today? Do that one small thing. High-five yourself. Check in each day and make sure you’re doing it. Then, next week, do another very small thing. Only one. High-five yourself again. Repeat until ripped and awesome. It’s just that simple!
*courtesy Precision Nutrition
Get Lean and Stay Lean
Why you’re not losing fat. Let the reason’s fly……..
1. You’re eating too many carbs. This one seems like it should be obvious but apparently every meals needs rice, potatoes and pasta to be complete. Most people have a terrible tolerance for carbs, shitty insulin sensitivity and simply don’t do enough physically demanding work to warrant too many carbs. If you want to get lean cutting carbs is usually one of the first and most important steps you need to take. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any but you need to make smart choices and they need to be taken in at the right times and cycled properly.
2. You’re Eating Carbs at the Wrong Time. Eat carbs only when you deserve to. If you’re above 20% body-fat pretty much any time is the wrong time. eat fruits and veggies whenever you want. And if want to eat a carbohydrate that’s not a fruit or a vegetable (this includes things like brown rice, pasta, potatoes, whole grain bread, etc), you can – but you’ll need to save it until after you’ve exercised. Load up on vegetables throughout the day, make sure you have them with every meal. Eat carbs at breakfast [oatmeal] and post workout and that is it –ABSolutely never ever after lunch. See what I did there ABSolutely!
Yes, these often heavily processed grains are dietary staples in North America, but heart disease, diabetes and cancer are medical staples – and there’s a relationship between the two! To stop heading down the heart disease highway, reward yourself for a good workout with a good carbohydrate meal right after (your body best tolerates these carbohydrates after exercise). For the rest of the day, eat your lean protein and a delicious selection of fruits and veggies.
3. You’re Eating Too Much Fat. You can’t just cut the carbs and assume you’re good to go. You can’t just eat pounds of bacon and mayonnaise with reckless abandon and think that you’ll magically end up ripped. Fat contains calories; nine per gram to be exact. At the end of the day total calories still matter, and if you’re eating more than you burn you’re never going to get ripped. Please don’t mistake this as my advocating a low fat diet. That’s just as bad, if not worse, than eating too much fat. A bare minimum of 20% of your calories should come from healthy fats like pastured egg yolks, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and coconut oil to ensure optimal health. Just be careful about going overboard with it and thinking that low carbs automatically leads to single digit body-fat. You still need to keep a handle on things like total calories.
4. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein. You should aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Protein is the key for fat loss because it has a high thermogenic effect. This means that your body produces more heat when digesting protein; therefore, you burn more calories. Protein also provides a sense of fullness that can help prevent overeating. A protein shake is a great way of adding extra protein to your diet. Also, several studies have shown that increasing the percentage of protein in the diet (from 11% to 23%) while decreasing the percentage of carbohydrate (from 63% to 48%) lowers LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations with concomitant increases in HDL cholesterol concentrations.
5. You’re Eating NUTS. I love nuts, I mean I’m eating some as I write this. The problem is nuts have a ton of calories. You’re better off filling up on nutritionally dense foods that don’t pack a lot of calories, like green vegetables. If you’re dieting you need to limit your nut consumption to about ten almonds per serving. Not too many people can eat ten almonds. Most people eat ten handfuls.
6. You’re Eating Fruit. “What?! You’re telling people not to eat fruit!? Everyone knows that it’s impossible to get fat from eating too much fruit!” In our hunter gatherer days fruit was nothing like what you see in the supermarket today. Berries were small, dark and bitter; not the huge sugar sacks most people consume these days. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is healthy and can be eaten by lean individuals in limited amounts but any type of excessive fructose (a sugar found in fruit) consumption will lead to fat gain. Fructose can only be processed by the liver and once liver glycogen stores are full the excess gets converted to triglycerides and stored as body-fat. If you want to get ripped cut fruit completely for a while or limit it to one or two servings per day. Just be sure to really up the vegetable consumption so you can keep your vital nutrient uptake where it needs to be.
7. You’re Overdoing Cardio. Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss. But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive that we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems. If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk. No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.
8. You’re Not Training Properly. Nutrition is number 1 after that you should be doing strength training to build/ maintain muscle mass. When you have those to things dialed in you’ll want to add in some type of sprinting or sled work. There is nothing more effective for fat loss. See all wide receivers, defensive backs, sprinters, soccer players, etc. for proof. Two or three 20-40 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people.
9. Cut the Crap. No sugar. Remove all sugar from your diet. And please drink more water.
Just remain consistent. Follow these strategies and you will be successful in your journey.