Today when we see or hear the word 'diet' we immediately think of weight loss, but a diet is more than that. A good diet plays a key role in your training programme: it is your perfect companion with which you can achieve any goal: reach your perfect clothes side, increase your size or maintain your current form and shape.
But, whatever the desired size, most of us spend hours training in search of that perfect sculpted, defined, body. Of course you need to put many hours of training to achieve that but, no matter how hard you train, you will be disappointed when you look in the mirror if your nutrition is poor - if you're not giving your body the magical balance of nutrients it needs to excel and perform well.
As you know, food is a source of energy, fuel for your muscles. And there are certain types of foods that constitute the perfect energy source to get the most out of your workout: slow burning (absorption) carbohydrates. These are perfect to give you constant levels of energy to endure long sessions, the magic solution to reduce your anxieties and cravings for those junk food meals that work against your efforts, and are key to allowing your body to use fat as an energy source instead of putting tyres around your waist!
So where do we find these then slow release carbohydrates? Well, protein, high-fiber foods, seeds, dairy products, to give just a few examples.
And what is the difference with other types of carbohydrates? Who are the bad guys in this story? Well, that would be quick burn carbohydrates and starches, refined sugars, sweets, juices, sodas, cereals lacking fiber to give some examples so please stay away from them! These are the foods that we know give you a sudden burst of energy through the sudden shot of insulin levels released in the blood .... but after a few minutes cause anxiety and cravings. Anyway, these bad guys of the story are responsible for your gelatinous arms and abdomen and that terrible drop in energy levels meaning the last thing you want to do is exercise!
However, its not always essential to avoid quick burn carbohydrates. In fact, the only time of day when you can take advantage of them is immediately after training precisely because of the insulin they release and the way they restore the stock of glycogen in your muscles that was depleted during intense training.
What else can you do? Here are a few small but valuable pieces of advice that if you stick to everyday will get you closer to your goal:
- 1. Choose - as an important component of your diet and especially in the morning - slowly burn carbohydrates, e.g. foods high in protein and fiber (to name a few: eggs, tinned tuna in water, salmon, vegetables, seeds, high fiber cereals etc)
- 2. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, starches and sugars (if refined)
- 3. Opt for lean meats
- 4. Do not eliminate fat from your diet especially that emanating from fish and certain nuts.
- 5. Eat at least 5 meals a day. But keep an eye on your portions - we want quality, not quantity!
- 6. Make an estimate of how many calories you need per day (including to cover the needs of your exercise) and try not to eat more than that amount.
- 7. Keep up a regular consumption of green, black, red tea ... All have their particular properties tea that will help you. And try innovative mixes of different teas and thus feel the benefits of each in a single cup!
- 8. Try to rest and sleep properly and sufficiently.
- 9. Do not follow fad diets - especially those that are not supported by scientific evidence.
And finally, one day a week, forget the restrictions and eat what you want (without abusing!).