How are you doing with navigating your nutrition these days? Are you feeling confident, confused, stuck, enthusiastic, bored, or some combination of them all?
Nutrition is definitely one place where we all share something in common. We must eat to survive.
The other unavoidable truth is that eating can dictate if you are thriving in life or just slogging along in a slow and steady decline of health and vitality.
Yep, we have to eat, but the way in which we choose to eat can be the difference between just simply surviving and feeling optimal.
How can we look at our NOURISHMENT through the lens of fitness?
With an aim towards longevity, great aesthetics, energy to train (but not necessarily peak perform), and to find a balance for enjoying your life, there are a handful of nutrition principles that really align well with our training methodology.
Here are basic nutritional principles that you can implement right now to not only get your nutrition on track, but to also look good naked.
A few truths about nutrition I’ve come to know after years of self-experimentation and years of coaching.
How you consume your food and the quality of your food may very well be the most important single factor you can change in order to reap the nutritional health and aesthetic benefits of your food.
The numbers matter but are NOT everything. The numbers are usually what get people the initial results that either get them bought in for the long run or help them accomplish their short term goals before they rebound back to their starting place or worse.
Eventually, you will need to fall back on a foundation of self-awareness around food and how it makes your body feel in order to have a lifelong positive relationship with food. If you think you are going to be able to follow a plan given to you for the rest of your life and that it will always connect to the person and place you are at in life, then you are MISTAKEN!
Want the numbers? Great – and here’s what you also need.
I like to break most of my nutrition and lifestyle coaching into 3 phases. The tricky thing about this approach is that while it is arguably the CORRECT order in which to build your nutritional base and fundamentals, it doesn’t give many clients what they WANT right out of the gates.
We all know the challenges of our NEEDS vs our WANTS.
Client: “Will you give me a detailed plan that shows me exactly how much to eat and when to eat it?”
Coach: “It makes sense first to learn a bit more about what you are currently doing and see if we can make smaller changes out of the gate to ensure you are successful.”
Client: “No, I just want a plan. Give me my numbers and I’ll follow it. It always works for me.”
Coach (to themselves): “…If it always works then why are they here asking for my help? Clearly it doesn’t always work for the long term. I didn’t hear them say I want a plan to continue my yo-yo dieting streak because yo-yo dieting is really fulfilling.”
I think you are getting my drift here. In fact, it is quite likely that you have lived this example in some way yourself.
So, here is my 3 phase approach for nutrition:
3 Phases of Nutrition
Phase 1 – Quality
What types of foods are we choosing?
How are we consuming our foods?
Who is preparing our food?
Are we emphasizing protein as a principle macronutrient?
Phase 2 – Quantity
How do I roughly calculate my average energy demands on a daily basis?
What ratio of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) should I eat to make up that calorie total?
How should I calculate the degree of a surplus or deficit I need to be in to move towards my goal?
Phase 3 – Questioning
What supplements should I be taking to complement my goals?
Is it appropriate for me to be practicing a fasting protocol?
If so, which one should I try?
Should I dramatically shift my macros to follow a Keto approach, or experiment with carb cycling?
How do I optimize my nutrition around my training?
What I like about this 3 phase approach is that it clearly establishes a prioritization methodology for you to see visually and act out practically.
The purpose of that is to highlight that the vast majority of client goals and success can be accomplished with dedicated work in Phase 1 and Phase 2.
Phase 1 and 2 keep things simple from the start. Only focus on high quality foods, and eat to moderation. Once you have this handled, then you can move to higher level questioning and tinkering of your foods.
Do you want to take the first step in Phase 1?
Just like you need a fitness coach, you most likely need a nutrition coach even more!
P.S. Abs are made in the kitchen!