Weighing and measuring your food could help, but this isn’t for everyone…. Especially in the beginning, it feels like a lot of work to make sure that you are adequately fueling your daily endeavors. That said, the process of eating healthy shouldn’t be so complicated that it stops you in your tracks. If you are struggling try following these steps IN ORDER. Only add the next step if you can handle doing the ones prior. Think about it this way, if you are building a house you might need to lay a slab foundation before you start picking out your favorite window treatments….
Let’s start simply. MY RULES FOR PROPER FUELING:
Step 1 – The Foundation – It starts with PROTEIN
The biggest issue I run into with new athletes is under eating protein – especially for females. The higher the quality, the better. Real, quality food is easier for the body to break down and absorb, so don’t think protein shakes are your only option. In reality you shouldn’t need a mountain of protein daily.
Recommendation Shoot for high quality ANIMAL sources, 3-4 servings daily. Portions should be roughly the size and thickness of your palms (2x palms/meal for men, 1x palm/meal for females)
Step 2 – The Frame – Get ya VEGGIES in!
Do you ever notice that the better you eat, the more energy you seem to have? When you are eating like trash, those warm-ups seem to kick ya butt extra fast… That’s not a coincidence. The mechanisms to create energy in the body requires nutrients that, if aren’t readily available, can take much longer to process. Multivitamins are ok… but usually are mostly passed through the body unabsorbed (think expensive pee…). We use the green juice as our preferred supplement, since technically it is the closest thing to real food when you are in a pinch.
Recommendation Shoot for dark green/red leafy veggies first. Mix in bright colors next, but be careful not to stick with either the same thing or only reach for fruits. 3-4 servings daily, the size of your closed fist (2x palms/meal for men, 1x palm/meal for females).
Step 3 – The Roof – Balancing your FATS & CARBS
You can’t put on a roof without a frame. Don’t over complicate this step. Most people seem to fall into one of two categories: those that chronically over eat carbs or completely remove carbs from their diet. Fats and carbs are BOTH necessary for daily life and performance, but trying to balance timing can be tricky. Think of them as different sources of potential energy – with fats being more slow burning – more lasting and carbs being fast burning – short lived. Everyone feels better on different fuel mixes. Some food for thought – if you train longer and slower try more fat, if you like moving harder and faster try more carbs. If you do both, then choose the appropriate fuel for the days activity.
Recommendation My simple rule is earn your carbs. Eat more carbs (root veggies not breads and sweets) on days your train and more fats on days you don’t (avocados, coconuts, some seeds and nuts). A cupped hand for your carbs (2x for men, 1x for ladies) and a thumb’s portion for fats (2x for men, 1x for females) should be enough.
Step 4 – The Decor – What to do if you are still HUNGRY
Focusing on hitting the perfect macro-nutrient ratio can help the “Type A” personalities, but I’ve found this turns into more of an added stress for most vs a helpful tool. If you’ve never really committed to cleaning up your diet, I strongly recommend starting at step one and see if that makes a difference before diving into the deep end. For a visual aid try printing out this handy Portion Control Infographic.
– 1 Ripe Banana
– 2 Eggs
– 1 tbsp Coconut flour
– (optional pinch of cinnamon)Makes about 5 pancakes
Mix – Cook – Enjoy!