Nutrition: Understanding Nutrients

Fit-University-Nutrition-Nutrients-Lesson-Template

GENERAL NUTRITION GUIDELINES:

POINT ONE:  STAY NATURAL.

Avoid all processed foods whenever possible.  

Anything packaged in its own individual serving package is generally not ideal.  Anything that has a long shelf life (Not quickly perishable) is like that for a reason. Carbs that are generally “white” carbs are also on this list.  These foods include bread, cereal, pasta, rice, breaded food, and even tortilla wraps.

POINT TWO: ROUTINE & NUTRIENT DENSITY.

Create a template of foods that are healthy and nutrient dense that you will eat on a routine, cyclical basis.

The best athletes, and most successful performers know the value of routine and selecting the foods that give them the biggest value. Choose 2 breakfasts,  3-4 lunch or dinner variations and 2 mini-meal variations that you are willing to rotate on a regular basis.  Keep it simple. Rotate these meals throughout your week, knowing that for your “Refuel” meals, you will be able to experiment with fun different foods, on a weekly basis aside from this routine template.

Keep with a routine schedule for meals as well.  For example:

Meal 1: 8am

Meal 2: 11am

Meal 3: 3pm

Meal 4: 7pm

(Some sample meal plans will be available in another section of the Education pages)

POINT THREE: NO SNACKS

No Extra calories in your diet, or sampling of food to taste or try something.

These extra calories add up. 100 extra calories per day, even with healthy foods will get converted to fat if not used.  After just over a month, you will have gained a pound from that little extra.  Over the course of the year, thats 10 pounds of weight that snuck up on you.  This includes many fruits which can be high on the glycemic index which cause an adverse situation for your body, potentially packing on the pounds.

POINT FOUR: CALORIES SHOULD NOT COME FROM BEVERAGES.

Drinks often contain calories which are too quickly digested into the bloodstream, for one.  Secondly, they do not have a satiating effect. (Protein shakes are the exception, as the protein and fat from the yogurt slow down absorption)

This includes regular soft drinks, teas, fruit juices, coffee with sugar and milk/cream, milk, wine, beer, alcohol.

POINT FIVE: REFUEL ON SATURDAYS IF YOU’VE “DRIVEN THE VEHICLE”

If you have exercised during the week, your refueling of foods should be proportional to the effort.  The bigger the exercise effort, the bigger the refueling.  This is NOT A CHEAT MEAL.  There are NO CHEATS, just earned refuelings. Please consult Coach for more specific quantities.

Take a break from your normal routine on these days, try new fun foods, but don’t make it an all out binge fest nor a day to eat foods with little nutrient value.  More will be presented in the FAQ’s section regarding “Refuels”. If you feel like eating a cupcake, have one on this day. Burger? sure. Pizza?  Absolutely.  Bigger portions of healthy foods?

diet mistakes

Common Food Mistakes

1. MISUNDERSTANDING FOOD PORTIONS

I’ve seen it too often. One tablespoon of peanut butter is 15g, yet the tablespoon consumed is double the amount. “But I only had ONE tablespoon”. Well, not quite. The same can be said for measuring carbs such as rice, pasta or yams.  People don’t get the quantities right and end up eating far more than they need to eat.

Solution: Weigh your food.  Weighing can be a pain, but it is the next step in precision accounting.  Imagine a business being generous with change given back to a customer.  Before long, the business will have financial issues.  Why treat your body any differently?

2. MESSING UP BREAKFAST

Leaving the house in a hurry and picking up “something” along the way is a recipe for disaster.  Skipping breakfast entirely is worse.  The hunger acquired throughout the day will be a major downfall.  To compensate, people often have a mid morning snack, usually in the form of carbs. At this point, approximately 30 percent of your recommended daily protein intake has been missed, leading to potential muscle breakdown and hunger throughout the day.

The other situation where messing up is common is going back to the sugary/starchy carb breakfasts that are quick and easy, such as cereal or bagels.  The excess sugar in your bloodstream right away will leave you groggy and craving for more within 2 hrs.

Solution: Upon waking, you have about 30 minutes to get some adequate protein inside of you.  Keep the carb intake low.  Plan your breakfast the night before, or at least decide what you will have no matter what so that you don’t wake up with a mystery as to what you will be consuming.

3. NOT ENOUGH DAILY PROTEIN

Not only is protein required to sustain a healthy body and repair tissue, it also helps to keep you satiated. Get some protein in first thing in the morning.  Aim for 30-40grams.  From there, make sure that lunch has decent levels of protein.  Miss these servings and you will be ravenous by dinner time.

Solution: Find out from Coach what your daily intake is for protein and hit this number, no matter what.  If protein consumption is difficult, then rely on a supplementation of protein powder drinks to get you to where you need to be daily.

4. POOR PLANNING

Imagine a championship football team just showing up the the finals without reviewing game footage throughout the week. “Let’s just see how it goes, guys” does not cut it.  So often, people just kind of “wing it” with their food, leaving them stuck with whatever may be around to purchase near their workplace.

Solution:  The key to winning is preparation. Prepare your weekly food plan, buy the necessary food before the week starts, and decide, the night prior what prep will be required to get food ready for the next day. This may be something as simple as taking meat out of the freezer to thaw out, or cooking extra portions the previous dinner, for the next day.  Perhaps it’s prepping the food and placing it into a container so that it’s ready to go the next day.

5. NOT ENOUGH WATER CONSUMED

Are you really hungry, or is it rather that you are thirsty and you did not even know it.  You know your body requires water to function properly but it is often neglected.  This can result in a host of other problems outside of hunger such as headaches, dehydration, etc.

Solution: Carry a bigger water bottle around with you and make it a goal to finish the canister by a certain point in the day.  If water is not overly appealing to you, add some flavour in it by squirting some lime or lemon into it.  Make the effort to consume water with every meal as part of your routine.  My recommendation is to consume 1 glass just prior to eating to ensure it becomes a habit AND it blunts the hunger mechanism, making you feel fuller.

6. BEING CONTROLLED BY THE SCALE

The scale is a tool to be used in conjunction with other measures of success.  As a stand alone, the scale will cause havoc with your psyche.  Your weight should fluctuate from day to day and from morning to night.  There are so many factors at play here, that self correction will lead you down the wrong path most of the time.  Two equal size sponges are left on a table.  One is supersaturated with water.  The other is super dry from the intense sun.  They are both the same sponge, weighing the same under normal conditions, yet the wet sponge is heavier temporarily.  When one eats a high carb dinner, and drinks plenty of liquids with that meal, of course there will be an increase in weight, temporarily.  Embrace that.  Dehydration, atmospheric pressure, inflammation, hormones all play a role in weight.

Solution: Examine patterns over time versus isolated measurements while staying with the plan outlined to you by Coach. If you are following the plan, you will notice some days you are lighter than others.  With a Saturday refuelling, expect Sunday’s weigh in to be exxagerated. Monday’s numbers will also be high, whereas come Friday or Saturday, you will read lower on the scale most of the time.  Embrace this pattern.

7. NOT ENOUGH VOLUME or NUTRITIOUS FOODS IN YOUR MEAL PLAN

A protein bar may contain 280 calories.  It will be consumed in 1 minute and you may still be hungry after a while.  Take 7 cups of broccoli, which is also roughly 280 calories, and see how long it takes you to eat it.  You will not want to eat for hours.  Volume food fills you up.  If that food is nutritious, you will increase the satiation effect exponentially.  People who are often hungry make less than ideal choices from both a nutrient density and a volume standpoint.

Solution: Make it a rule to have at least 80% of your daily food of the volumous nutritious kind.  The other 20%, you have a little leeway with.  This will provide more food which will take longer to eat, allowing your hunger receptors to establish themselves before you are done your food.

8. MISTAKING MUSCLE GAIN FOR SCALE STAGNATION

People often come to me in a protein deficient state, with very little time put into the gym. The moment the protein numbers are corrected and they begin training, the person notices a very significant transformation that does not necessarily correlate to the weight loss.  Understand that muscle weighs more than fat, and that the scale is not the best indicator of progress.

Solution: Ask Coach for clarification on how to properly assess progress, and understand that this added protein has helped to BUILD your body (at least the right parts, anyways).  Besides, this added muscle will increase your metabolism, helping you to get leaner in the long run.

NUTRIENTS 101

A selection of healthy foods rich in protein

THE POWER OF PROTEIN

Protein is a vital component of every cell in your body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You use it to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. It’s also a key building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.  It also helps you stay satiated throughout the day, as well as alert.  Protein at every meal helps to regulate blood sugar and your insulin response.

This is quite the extensive list.  With that said…..

MOST PEOPLE DO NOT TAKE IN ENOUGH PROTEIN DAILY.

How much do you need daily? That depends on a host of factors including your body composition, goals, level of activity, age, etc.  Periodic assessment helps to determine your body’s changing needs to better pinpoint how much is required. Below is a general guideline regarding what is needed.

Sedentary Individual:  0.6g protein per pound of lean muscle mass

Active Individual:  0.8g protein per pound of lean muscle mass

Very Active Individual:  1.0g per pound of lean muscle mass

Active with Goal of Muscle Hypertrophy: 1.2-1.5g per pound of lean muscle mass

It is important to consult Coach about your lean muscle mass and goals so that your nutrition plan accurately reflects your needs.

Examples of Protein Needs in Individuals:

Case 1: Female, 110 lbs, low body fat, with a goal of building muscle.

100lbs LMM x 1.2 = 120g Protein Daily (30g per meal x 4 meals)

Case 2: Female, 170 lbs, high bodyfat, with goal of weight (fat) loss.

120lbs LMM x 0.8 = 96g Protein Daily (25g per meal x 4 meals)

Case 3: Male, 230 lbs, high bodyfat, with goal of weight (fat) loss.

170 LMM x 0.8 = 136g Protein Daily (35g per meal x 4 meals)

Case 4: Male 150 lbs, low bodyfat with goal of muscle gain.

140 LMM x 1.3 = 180g Protein Daily (45g per meal x 4 meals)

Coaching Strategy:  I like to have most of the people I work with on some sort of muscle building plan, and with that, I increase the protein portions slightly from the standard numbers.  I also monitor closely to see how one responds to the protein levels given and adjust accordingly on a regular basis as the body is constantly changing.

I also like to see a “Therapeutic” strategy towards consumption.  Moderate doses of protein in each of your three bigger meals (Breakfast, lunch and dinner), with smaller amounts of protein in your smaller meals.  This ensures an even dosage and a constant stream of protein in the blood stream for muscle tissue repair, maintenance, slowdown of absorption of carbohydrates, etc.

Example: 100 gram Protein needs daily

Breakfast: 30g     Lunch: 30g    Snack: 10g     Dinner: 30g     Total: 100g

Great Protein Sources:

Dairy: Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Low fat Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Milk, Whey Protein

Meat: Steak, Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Bison, Turkey Bacon

Seafood: Tuna, Halibut, Salmon, Tilapia

Other: Tofu, Beans, Lentils, Edamame

CARBS: FUEL FOR YOUR BODY

Carbohydrates are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta, and dairy products.

Your body puts these foods to use to make glucose, which is an energy source for your body. Carbs eventually get broken down into Glucose, that can be used right away for energy or stored away to be used later.

KEY POINT: The biggest challenge with carbs is realizing their place in your diet.  If in fact they are there used for energy, then we take them accordingly, matching them with your caloric needs and energy expenditure. You should also take these carbs in appropriate amounts and preferably with another part of your meal (protein/fats)

We now know that carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it needs, but they are also a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Not all carbohydrates are created equal.

The best carbohydrates are those that contain a lot of fiber, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These types of carbohydrates take longer to break down into glucose and give you the most nutrients. Refined/Processed carbohydrates are sometimes referred to as “bad” carbohydrates. These are carbohydrates that have been processed to remove parts of the grain and have had sugar added. Examples of refined or processed carbohydrates are white bread, cakes, cookies, chocolate, etc. Make best choices.

Starches: Brown rice, quinoa, yams, potatoes, oats, whole-wheat pastas, bread, cereals, wraps

Fruits/Vegetables/Legumes: Tropical fruits, green/fibrous vegetables, beans

Carbs & You: Excess carbs and the wrong types tend to be the biggest culprits in fat gain.

Ultimately, you now have a Coach who can guide you through the process of what you need, and when.  There is no clearcut determination of exactly how much you need.

People have different sensitivities to carbs, different tastes, schedules, and energy expenditures.

KEY POINT: Your Coach will carefully select with you:

a) the right carbs for you

b) in the right amounts

c) at the right times

d) and most importantly keep you on track, monitoring for weight gain/loss to pinpoint accurate, sustainable totals.

THIS IS CRITICAL to your success.

WE NEED FATS?

Fats are absolutely necessary in the right portions, of the right kinds to ensure healthy functioning of your body.  Again, your Coach will help to determine what those needs are.

What do fats do for you?

Energy:  Fat provides a fuel source for us, especially in an aerobic state.

Essential Fatty Acids: Dietary fats are needed for growth development and cell functions, especially when they cannot be made by our body’s processes.

Nerve & Brain Function:  Fats are part of myelin- a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages.

Maintaining healthy skin and other tissues: Our body cells need to contain some fats  as important parts of cell membranes, controlling what goes in and out of our cells

Transport of fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K through the bloodstream.

Formation of steroid hormones needed to regulate bodily processes.

Healthy Sources of Fat: Avocados, cheese, yogurt, some oils, chia seeds, eggs, fish, nuts, beans.

KEY POINT: Fats don’t make you fat.  We need them as part of a balanced diet. Your plan will incorporate fats that allow you to function properly while giving you a level of satiation to your diet so that you are not left hungry day after day.

TAKE HOME INFORMATION:

Your dietary needs MUST be carefully crafted to meet your requirements from a protein, carb and fat standpoint, meeting your calorie needs as well as your nutrient needs, in a manner that allows you to enjoy your food in a sustainable lifestyle.

Most “diets” stray away from at least one or two of these point and leads to failing you.  Peoples’ failures are not a will power issue, but more often than not, a failure of the diet to meet your needs.

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