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Can we talk nutrition?

Man eating macdonalds

What you are getting yourself into:

Words: 870

Time: Roughly 5 minutes

Lesson: Most likely leaving with one thing to improve your nutrition

Below is a few of the key points I have discovered over the last 9 years engulfing myself in health & fitness research to build a trusted opinion on the topic. It’s by no means an exhaustive list but for the majority of us these will take us towards our goals instead of confusing the majority chasing the 1%’ers. 

Skipping breakfast; I’m okay with that

Breakfast research is not super clear cut on the benefits. If you’re a breakfast person great, fire away. If you’d prefer to skip it & get your calories in later in the day, also fine by me. The only caveat you need to be aware of is if you are skipping meals & not meeting the minimum energy requirements your body’s energy, muscle & fat stores will all suffer negative consequences.

Adequate protein is crucial

When someone comes to me with very little knowledge about good nutrition, they have been bombarded with conflicting information. They are paralysed by a surplus of nutrition “hacks”. I keep it very simple to start, of all the marconutrients adequate protein intake has the most beneficial affect on body composition. From not only the thermogenic effect of food, muscle building & repair qualities but also the satiating effect. The range you should be looking for is 1.5g – 2.2g per kg of bodyweight.

Avoid the all or nothing principle

The all or nothing principle will halt all of your progress. Essentially it works like this; “I’m going to start a new diet today – oh crap I had a bad lunch, it’s all ruined. I’ll start again next Monday.”

You are human, you will make mistakes or you will be at an event with no other option so you’ll have to make adaptations or alternatively when they bring out the wedding cake you can run crying to the bathroom to eat the can of tuna in your purse. They way I break it down goes along these lines; “We strive to make good decisions & follow the plan 80% of the time so that the 20% when its out of our control or we need to allow ourselves the treat it’s already been offset” Really how it should be is; “I’ve not had an ideal lunch, I’m going to make sure dinner is much better so I don’t compound a mistake with another mistake.”

Is it calories in V calories out or calories don’t matter, eat real food

This is a contentious issue. It seems most people are for one or the other. It’s an us versus them situation. Which is great if you’re marketing for one of those sides. I am however, looking for the minimum effective dose to get the greatest improvement. So I simply slide along the spectrum, adjusting for the person I am teaching. I perhaps more regularly slide to the calories in v calories out but only by placing a great deal of subheadings under “calories out”.

People always ask is nutrition 70% of the equation & gym the other 30%. When realistically they are both 100% of their own equation. Both nutrition & gym based activities supply the body with powerful hormone responses that are both required for a high quality of life. Fat storage, muscle building, bone strength, brain function, heart health. Take your pick the list is extensive.

Calories matter, definitely. If you eat more energy than required over a sustained period of time. You have no option but to put on weight. Having a well functioning endocrine system (hormones) determines how those calories are distributed but none the less still falls under “calories out”. For example, I always recommend pouring money into fixing your sleep before pouring that same money into supplements. Sleep will affect your hormones so technically affects your “calories out” equation also.

Likewise, eating real food that improves signalling is important but still falls under calories in v out. No matter how you look at it. They are both equally important in their own equations.

Make one small change at a time using discipline not motivation

The brain doesn’t like mass changes. The only sustainable attitude is to surf the edge of your comfort zone. “New year/month/week, new me” doesn’t work. You only ever overwhelm the brain & revert to what is comfortable. Take baby steps; stack a single win (I had 3 meals today that took me towards my goal not away from it, yesterday was only 2) on top of another little win. This will create a new baseline for your brain & with the law of compounding interest in no time, [insert achieved goal here] such as weight, strength or life happiness will be achieved. I say learn to use discipline instead of motivation because motivation is fleeting while discipline is a self sufficient energy system. No matter how big the plate is in front of you is, the only way for anyone to finish it is one bite at a time.

Who am I? I’m just a bloke that doesn’t do this to impress you but to impress to you what is possible.