Where to begin?!
There is A LOT of information out there regarding nutrition and diets and it can be very confusing at first glance. Should I eat low carbs or low fats? Should I eat 3x a day or 6x a day? Should I fast for 16 hours a day or 20 hours a day? In my humble opinion, these are minor details that we need not worry about. What we should be concerned about is the big picture. Over the last 6-12 months, I’ve been able to dial in my nutrition and come up with some basic guidelines that I’ve been putting into practice.
Before I continue, I want to mention that eating this way has really helped me fuel my performance. I am not talking about JUST my gym performance. I am talking about my performance in life. Besides being as lean as ever and feeling the best I’ve ever felt – following these basic guidelines has brought me stable energy levels throughout the day which has allowed me to excel in life, both inside and outside of the gym.
Basic Nutritional Guidelines
- The 80/20 rule – You don’t have to be 100% on top of eating lean and wholesome foods all the time. That’s a good goal to have but let’s face it – we’re humans, we make mistakes and we enjoy tasty foods. And that is okay. The 80/20 rule is exactly that – 80% of our nutrition should be wholesome, lean and fueling us for performance. If we can consistently eat well 80% of the time, the other 20% will not have a huge negative impact on us
- Eat more whole foods. Things that can be hunted or picked from the ground is a good guideline. For me, this means lots of fruits and vegetables, red meat and lots of white rice. That may look a bit different for you
- Reduce processed foods as much as possible. This means anything that comes in packages, things you can microwave for 5 minutes and eat or things that have 20+ ingredients on the label (Take note that I wrote ‘reduce’ instead of completely taking it out of your life). Again, we are all human and we enjoy tasty foods. For me, this means ice cream and donuts. I would not enjoy life as much if I completely stopped eating these foods. What I do is simply reduce the volume and frequency in which I consume these things
- Lots of vegetables and fruits. Lots. Yes, they are loaded with sugar. But they are also loaded with essential micronutrients. Of course if you’re trying to lose fat, you’ll still have to take into account total calorie intake. So don’t go out and eat 5 avocados because it’s ‘healthy’ and has ‘healthy fats’. When I do my grocery shopping, I try to fill my basket with as many different colours as possible
- Meal frequency is a popular topic so I will address that here. In my opinion, meal frequency should be based on your personal preference and your schedule. For me personally, I eat a big meal at around 10-11am because I’ve been training clients from 6am – 9am. Then I train around 2pm and eat another big meal after that because I will be training clients from 430pm – 9pm and I don’t want to be hangry during those sessions. After that time block, I usually have a late dinner around 9pm. As you can see, I’m not too concerned about what time I eat. I just eat according to my schedule. I plan my meals around work, meetings and training sessions. It’s that simple
- Eat according to your goals. If you want strength and performance goals, you better be fueling your body accordingly. If you want to lose fat, you better be in a caloric deficit. If you want to gain muscle, you better be eating in a surplus
Is it really that simple? I think so. Eat more whole foods, reduce processed foods, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and eat according to your goals. Be consistent, keep the long-term goal in mind and make it happen.