Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food
At PHP we have a one step at a time rule. If we are teaching you correct form on lifts, it does neither us nor you any good to point out all 20 things that are wrong with your lift–instead we focus on 1 correction at a time, perfect that, and then move on to the next. Similarly, when you start your journey down the road of fitness/performance, it does us no good to tell you to work harder in the gym, eat perfectly, recover more, and manage your time better because all of these things fall into place when they need to.
Which brings me to the topic of this post: Your Nutrition
If you have attended PHP since the beginning, it is time we have this talk. Likewise, if you have seen a halt in your performance, a decrease in drive, a plateau in your weight loss, etc.. then nutrition is the next place we need to look.
I know what you’re thinking–why do we have to do more when we are already doing so much? Well, the human body is smart, and stubborn (like most smart individuals). It knows where it wants to be, it knows how to recover on its own, it knows that is does not like a negative energy balance (simply put, more calories expended than you intake). So it adapts. This means that a proper nutrition program cannot be a one time, short lived habit, nor can it be a one time program that lasts forever. Instead, it must be a constantly fluctuating, ever changing balance of intake to output, moving up and down with our performance, weight-loss, and lifestyle goals.
So, let me give you some info and tips on this whole hazy fog that is nutrition:
Counting Calories is Last Year’s Thing:
Counting Calories should really be a thing of the past. I know some of you read this and say “It has gotten me this far” but at some point it will not lead to increased results (especially if your goal has changed to increase performance). Let me give you a little (drastic) example to drive home the point:
We have a 150lb female* looking to become more performance-based. Her recommended guidelines for nutrition breakdown are as follows:
- 150 g protein
- 225 g Carbs
- 55g fat
- At least 30g of fiber
*Note: This is just an example diet for the purposes of comparison, please do not take this and run with it (I’m looking at you, 150lb females!)
These are the macros she should be aiming for in order to lose weight and provide adequate nutrition for her training/recovery schedule. Now, instead, let’s say she were to shoot for just the calorie goal. She has 2,000 calories to burn and she’s an avid pop-tart eater (I mean, she adores the things). So she decides to just try and hit her calorie goals by just eating pop-tarts (just for this example), and it ends up looking something like this:
10 pop-tarts = 2,000 calories and the nutrition break down is as such:
- 20g protein
- 380g carbs
- 50g fat
- Around 20g of fiber
That’s a drastic decrease in protein and upswing in carbs. The point I am trying to make is hopefully pretty clear. By just counting calories, one tends to miss out or overlook the fact that they are low on one tier of macro-nutrients which inevitably makes you high on another tier. Furthermore, a diet with this type of macro-nutrient profile will make you more likely to gain/retain weight and not promote a healthy weight loss. To sum it up and put it simply, the phrase “calorie in, calorie out” (as you can see) is not exactly true.
Carbs/Fats are Not Evil:
While a lower carbohydrate/lower fat diet works well for some, it is about adjusting those macros in balance and not cutting them out completely. Fad diets tend to cut one or the other out almost completely, which leads to nothing but an over-reliance on the other. While it may result in short term weight loss, is not a manageable practice nor is it a long term solution. The idea is to stay away from certain carbohydrates and certain fats such as the following:
- highly processed carbohydrates (such as the ones found in poptarts)
- Carbohydrates high in sugar (such as, you know, sugar)
- Trans-fats which are usually located in highly processed, sugary carbohydrates
- Basically, stay away from highly processed foods….
Sugars are Necessary:
Yes, sugar does promote and inflammatory response, but not all inflammation is bad. For example, when you break a bone the area around the fracture becomes inflamed and swollen. This inflammation is good inflammation, because without it (at least in the sort term), you would have no increased blood flow to the area and no increased stability around the area, ultimately resulting in the bone healing improperly and you walking around with a very jacked up limb.
Your body runs on sugars. After ingesting carbohydrates, your body quickly breaks them down and turns them into sugars and uses them for (super minor, totally overrated**) things like:
- Glycogen production (stored form of sugar)
- Energy to be used immediately
- Brain function
So to say sugar is a bad thing is again, over-simplifying the issue. The best example is fruits, which tend to be high in sugars. Not taking in an adequate amount of fruits because of the fear of increased sugar intake can result in:
- Decrease in certain necessary vitamins and minerals consumed
- Decrease in consumption flavonoids which contain antioxidants
- (Which results in an) Increase in the amount of supplementation needed
Fad diets will have the opposite effect:
Try to run a marathon at your sprint pace and let me know how it goes. This is basically what you are doing when you go on some fad diet/cleans/30 day diet challenge etc… You want results, but you want them in the 30 days before you go on that cruise. Well, just like you burning out at the half mile or mile mark in that proverbial marathon mentioned above, you can sustain this practice for only a short time before you burn out and have the opposite of your desired results. Crash dieting can and will (eventually) result in the following:
- Increase in weight gain (and not the good kind)
- Decrease in performance
- Increase risk of permanent metabolic damage
- Tons of wasted time and money on products that don’t work
Remember, good nutrition practices take time, there is no quick fix to weight loss. Likewise, increasing performance does not only happen once you step foot in the gym, it follows you home and starts in the kitchen. So remember a couple of tips:
- Eat as many whole foods as possible
- Track everything you eat in apps like myfitnesspal to make sure you are hitting your target macros
- Don’t worry about the calories, worry about your target macros
- Supplement only when you need to
- Eat fruits and veggies not only for the low carbohydrate consistency but because they also contain many vitamins and nutrients we need.
- If someone ask you to do a diet challenge with them, kindly decline, and give them the hyperlink to our website so they, too, can see the light.
If you need help figuring out the mystery of macros, a proper diet/lifestyle change, or just want to exchange emails and talk, contact us at the following:
We can get you hooked up with one of our nutrition coaches (remember, we are not dietitians, so if you have special circumstances we can help point you in the right direction) and get you started on a solid, sustainable lifestyle change that will result in the right type of weight loss/increased performance!