Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Let's Talk About Nutrition

Nutrition is the most simple, complicated, frustrating part of training. You can train with the perfect program and your nutrition can ruin that pretty quick and easy. Then you end up scrapping the perfect program because you aren't progressing, but it's not because it's a bad program it's because your nutrition isn't on point. Due to this I thought it would be important to talk about some important, yet basic points on nutrition so that you don't end up like I did, spinning wheels. In the videos below I talk about what's in the article, in a condensed version, hitting on the main topics as best as I can without taking up your entire day! Please let me know in the comments if you like this format!




Apparently phones have file-size limits for videos, so it's a two parter!



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Some points I want to touch on today:

  • Calories in versus calories out 
  • Nutrients
  • What's really important
  • Where people tend to go wrong

Calories In Versus Calories Out
The concept of "calories in versus calories out" has been an argument for a long time. The reason for this isn't so much a matter of science either because the first law of thermodynamics is about the equal exchange of energy. Calories in versus calories out. At the core of this issue is basically a lot of semantics. We skate around the idea of macro and micronutrients affecting weight loss and gain, but really what happens is those affect the amount of calories out. This gives the illusion of calories in and out not mattering. You can nail calories, but whiff on Nutrients and lose weight, but it may be the wrong kind of weight.

Nutrients
I gave you my quick stance on calories in versus calories out first so I could go in to Nutrients with this in mind. You can nail calories in versus calories out, this will affect your weight gain and loss, but here is where nutrients come in. A diet rich in the right nutrients is going to have an affect:
  • A nutrient rich diet results in better body composition gains.
  • A nutrient rich diet results in more energy.
  • A nutrient rich diet results in less pain.
  • A nutrient rich diet results in better recovery.
  • A nutrient rich diet results in better mood. 
  • A nutrient rich diet results in reduced inflammation.
A diet lacking in nutrients is going to have the opposite effects:
  • worse body composition
  • less energy
  • more pain
  • worse recovery
  • worse mood
  • more inflammation
With this said, you can absolutely nail your calorie goals and lose or gain weight. If you nail your calorie goals with a diet lacking nutrients, or having the wrong nutrients however, you're going to be miserable while doing it, and you're going to be shortchanging yourself in body composition changes. A bad diet will lead to you gaining less muscle (when trying to gain weight) or losing more muscle (when cutting weight). So be weary of this when you're coming up with your diet plan.


An example of nutritious veggies
You're going to need some of these


What's Really Important
If you're looking for the keys to the kingdom, look no further:
  • Protein: getting enough protein is going vital to your goals, whether weight gain, loss, or maintenance. Protein is responsible for tissue rebuilding, has an effect on immunity, but for your purposes it's likely the effect on satiety that you're looking for. If you're getting enough protein then you'll find that you aren't as hungry as much, and that your cravings will be less prominent. Make sure you're getting at least a gram per pound of lean body mass that you have, if weight loss is your concern then increase that amount to at least a gram per pound of body weight. Another way of saying this is that 35% of your calories should come from protein.
  • Vegetables: eat them, eat lots of them. If you hate veggies, I can completely empathize with you, I have hated veggies all my life. What I have found is that if you can find a core of veggies that you can eat in fairly large quantities then do it. I have tried this and it does work, baking veggies in a little bit of olive oil with salt and pepper makes a lot of veggies taste better and go down easier. This has helped me immensely. The reason veggies are so important is because they are so nutrient dense and because they contain a lot of fiber. The nutrients are going to have an impact on your energy levels, mood, inflammation, and pain. The fiber is going to help you stay fuller longer, which will keep the cravings at bay longer, and it's going to help you be regular. Aim for at least 1-2 servings of veggies per meal, but more is better.
  • Fiber: I know I already touched on it with veggies, but it bares repeating. Fiber is important for your ability to stick to your healthy eating lifestyle. If you're consuming enough fiber you'll have a much better chance at sticking to eating healthy long term because you won't be suffering nearly as much between meals.
  • Healthy Fats: Fats have gotten a bad rap for a long time, this has come full circle, and carbs seem to have taken over for them in the dog house. You need to consume healthy fats, they will have a helpful effect on your hormones, your inflammation levels, your ability to learn and focus, and your levels of hunger. Some healthy fats come from, but aren't limited to: fish, grass fed meat, chia, flax, pumpkin, walnuts, and olive oil.
  • The 90-10 Rule: You're not always going to be perfect, if ever. That's fine, you should always make sure that your nutrition plan has enough leeway for 10% imperfection. This means that you CAN eat that donut, just make sure nailing the other stuff too. You can have that pizza, as long as you're on point with everything else. 
  • Consistency: Look I understand that consistency isn't always easy, if ever. I'm great at eating a ton of veggies one day and whiffing 3-4 days a week, but everything feels better when I'm consistently on point. That's why the 90-10 rule exists, DO NOT let a mess up or one failing make you give up and explode, just hop back to it.
  • Calories In Versus Calories Out: how did calories in versus calories out end up last on the list if that's what determines weight gain and loss? It's simple, if you are nailing every other point then it's going to be a lot easier to nail calories in versus calories out. Your ability to maintain and succeed in hitting your calorie goals is largely going to be dependent on everything I said before this. If you're hitting all of those other points the amount of calories out is going to change, this means that you'll be sure what your calories in should be. Make no mistake, it all boils down to calories at the very end, but everything around weight is changed by nutrients. 

Where People Go Wrong
People tend to think there's a magic bullet, or that it's all about calories, or all about nutrients when it's a lot of both. Don't get caught thinking that you can nail all of the important points and overeat calories and still lose weight. Don't get caught thinking that you can cut calories by a large amount while eating terribly and still be healthy and happy, you will lose weight, but will it be fat or muscle?

Putting it all together
  • Calories in versus calories out determines weight gain and loss, but not much else.
  • Nutrients affect calories out, health, and mood.
  • Nailing your protein, veggies, fiber, and healthy fats on a consistent basis will make your ability to hit your calorie goals a lot easier, while making you feel in the process.
  • Don't get tripped up on mess ups, just move on and get back to it.
  • Don't get hung up on magic bullets, calories, or nutrients, get hung up on the basics put together.

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