If you try to maintain a healthy body and keep up with latest fitness info you may have read a lot of conflicting information, especially when it comes to nutrition. Hell, we’re bombarded with the stuff in magazines, papers and online even if you’re not into training. One dude will tell you don’t eat carbs late at night (which is a myth by the way) and another will say just eat ‘clean’ etc and then you’ve got some newspaper article demonizing fats or carbohydrates. Then you’ve got some guy/girl with NO qualifications or experience telling you what to do on their youtube channel or blog. They look in amazing shape so they must be right? WRONG! Read on.
So here’s the deal, a lot of coaches will promote a certain style of eating depending on their beliefs and maybe results they have had with clients or themselves. I will admit BVOY prefers a flexible approach to diet but my opinion might be slightly different to another flexible coach. I genuinely feel quite sorry for the general public (I’m a Piscean after all) and for those who aren’t so educated in this field as it is quite confusing. Am I correct? I’m sure this is the reason a lot of folks give up and think ‘F#ck it, I’m gonna nail that donna meat and chips as they’re always changing their minds anyway’. Well my amigos I thought I would write a post on the things we as trainers/coaches all agree on in the industry. Vamos!
1. FIBRE- The unsung hero! Whichever type of diet you follow, fibre is very important for general health and fat loss also. It’s filling, improves digestion, slows insulin secretion, helps prevent certain cancers, lowers blood pressure and helps to lower cholesterol levels. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre (found in foods like oats, beans and apples) becomes gel like when mixed with water and slows down the movement through the small intestine. Insoluble fibre (found in whole grains, vegetables and fruit with skin) speeds up the movement through the intestine and promotes regularity. A lot of the general population I come across are simply not eating enough of it and it is fairly simple to hit your right amount once you get the hang of it. The best sources are beans, lentils, whole grains, vegetables and fruit. I would recommend shooting for 14g of fibre per 1000 calories you eat so if you eat 2500 calories you should eat 35g of fibre. Capiche?
2. PROTEIN – Ahh the one you hear about all the time when you’re in the gym environment! Gym goers go on about it because it’s the king of the growth and repair of muscle. It’s also vital for our hormones (most non steroidal), our enzymes, immune chemicals, antibodies and our transport proteins. All trainers and coaches will tell you the importance of protein in your diet and it doesn’t matter what ‘style’ of nutrition they follow. It’s very beneficial for fat loss due to it’s thermogenic affect in the body. Basically the body burns calories when digesting food and it’s estimated that we burn 25-35% of the calories from proteins we eat just digesting them! It also helps you to maintain muscle mass which is especially important when reducing calories and due to the fact that muscle is metabolically ‘active’ meaning the more you have the more calories your body will ‘burn’ so to speak.
3. CALORIES/PORTION CONTROL – You will hear some trainers tell you that you don’t need to count calories as long as you eat ‘clean’ 90% of the time. I learnt the hard way and did this and wound up with the ‘chubby’ look! I was eating nutrient dense foods and training hard but I was simply eating way too much. As soon as I started keeping a rough track of my calories ‘boom’ I got leaner. Most coaches will agree that calories DO matter and if they don’t count calories they will tell you to control portion sizes which is basically a more simple version of the same thing. Your calorie intake depends on your goals, size, age, and of course activity levels. Andy Murray is going to need way more calories than Gordon the fat cab driver who is sat down all day!
5. NUTRIENT DENSE/WHOLE FOODS MOST OF THE TIME – Sounds kind of obvious but everyone agrees with this. Most of your diet should be made up of nutrient dense, unprocessed whole foods. What do I mean nutrient dense? Ok well let’s look at kale for example 100g of this stuff provides 200% of the RDA for vitamin C, 300% of vitamin A, 1000% of vitamin K1 and large amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese. This is a nutrient dense food!
6. STAYING HYDRATED – Fairly straight forward. You should mainly stick to teas, coffee, herbal drinks and good old water. Staying hydrated is very important for almost everything in your body as your body is 60-70% water! I won’t go into the long list of reasons why water is important but again we all can agree on this. Also tea and coffee have many health benefits too so these are great in moderation.
7. LOTS OF VEGETABLES AND FRUIT – This ties in with some of the other points and it is kind of obvious but a lot of folks still don’t eat enough. I would like to see people eat 10 portions a day with most of them coming from vegetables. They provide fibre, anti-oxidants, phytonutrients and micro-nutrients which may reduce diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
8. CREATINE – This is mainly aimed at people who weight train! Probably the most studied supplement out there. For a high majority of peeps. IT WORKS. Your performance will greatly improve (esp power) and according to examine.com (an independent team of non biased researchers) it is SAFE for most people. They also say that it ‘confers nueroprotective and cardioprotective properties. Most coaches agree that creatine works and is useful especially for weight trainees and vegetarians.
9. WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT – The last one fits in perfectly with the BVOY style! I think food sensitivities have been exaggerated by many fitpros. However most coaches will agree that we all respond differently to different foods. Some of us can eat dairy till the cows come home (sorry) and some of us get bloated just looking at the cheese section in the supermarket. Some folks feel rubbish eating wheat, others are fine etc. DON’T just cut something out of your diet because you read it in ‘Selfie’ magazine or because someone on social network told you to. Find what makes you feel energised and roll with it (and no I’m not saying drink coffee all the time although trust me I would love to!).
So to sum it up. Question EVERYTHING! Question this compadre! The truth is there is no quick fix or pill that’s going to get you ‘that’ body you desire. Be consistent with training and eating in moderation and be happy! Wow that sounds corny but it’s the truth.