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The #1 Way to Improve your Performance and Body Composition. (It might also be the hardest).

The secret

If I were a great copywriter I’d keep you guessing to the end.  But I’m going to lay my cards on the table right here. Eat Better.  

Yep, I said it. You need to eat better.  Ok, I’ll broaden that a bit and say you need to eat and drink better.  Here are some suggestions:

Eat real food.  

Look, I’ll go on record to say that “I hate green beans.”  I blame my childhood, but that is a different blog post.  When people say they don’t like veggies the answer is to keep trying them as well as others. Yes you can take some green supplements and that will help, but the bottom line is that you need to eat real, whole, food. How do you know it is real food. Well, it grows, or is grown (or eats something that grows and or is grown). We like to tell people that real food is on the outside of the grocery store. Real food comes in a variety of colors.  Another thing that we tell our clients is that you need to eat a rainbow of foods.  Put the emphasis on vegetables, follow that with fruits. In order to keep you body running at the highest level of performance you need to get both the right macronutrients for energy (Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat) as well as all of the micronutrients you need to run the millions of chemical processes in your body.  Anything less, and you are making it harder for your body to perform.  

Cut down or cut out the alcohol.

I know you are an adult.  I understand that things are stressful.  I get it that you like to enjoy a beverage with friends, it makes your friends seem smarter, etc…I get all that.  I also get that it is probably adding excess calories, delaying your recovery and jacking up your DNA (that is the technical term).  According to the American Cancer Society: “Alcohol consumption is an established cause of at least 7 types of cancer,” and “the carcinogenic effects of ethanol found in alcoholic beverages and acetaldehyde involve DNA and protein damage and alterations, oxidative stress, inhibition of DNA repair and cell death, increased cell proliferation, nutritional malabsorption, changes in DNA methylation, and, for breast cancer, increased estrogen levels”  I’m not a kill joy. Have an occasional beverage, but occasional is not every night.

Get enough protein

You are built of protein.  Almost every single structure, process, and system in the body involves some type of protein. From reproduction to respiration you need protein.  The good news is that if you follow the suggestion to eat real foods you will be getting a lot of the protein you need.  Almost all foods contain some protein.  For example a fist sized serving of broccoli has about 3g of protein while an average baked potato has about 4g.  Lean meats, fish, dairy, beans, legumes, tofu…these foods run much higher in protein. We normally recommend that folks eat about the weight of their lean body mass (in lbs) in grams of protein per day.  For example if you are 175 lbs with 20% body fat, you have about 140lbs of lean body mass, you would eat about 140g of protein per day. If you have kidney problems or other issues talk with your doctor.  

Don’t drink your calories

Soda, sugary drinks, fruit juices and coffee drinks that are really not coffee are adding calories to your body that you don’t need.  For example: a 16 oz caramel macchiato from Starbucks has 250 calories and 33g of sugar, a 12 oz Coke has 140 cal and 39g of sugar (and nobody drinks just 12oz of soda) also an 8 oz cup of Orange Juice has 110 calories and 25g of carbs (almost 2x the sugar of a regular orange).   All of this sugar and excess calories adds up.  Let’s take that Starbucks Macchiato.  If you have one a day you will gain a pound every 2 weeks…or 26 lbs in a year.  Yes, the math isn’t that simple, and no you won’t have one a day…but these are calories you don’t need, and they are adding up.

Drink more water

Most of your body weight is water.  It is essential for your body to operate well. When it is hot or you workout you need to drink more water to make up for liquid loss due to sweating.  The rule of thumb we use is about 1 oz per 2 lbs of body weight.  So a 140 lb woman would need to drink 70 oz or about 8 cups or about 1/2 gallon (+1 cup) per day.    

Drinking adequate water helps reduce hunger sensations, provides the water you need for important chemical processes, and reduces problems created by the way our bodies gets rid of wastes (kidney stones, constipation, etc). Some common symptoms of milder dehydration include things like bad breath, muscle cramps, and headache.  There is a fairly broad range between being well hydrated and being dehydrated. However, if you train regularly you need to drink enough water to help your body perform during workouts and recover after.  Water is your friend, especially in the summer. 

Food is more than fuel but it does power your performance

Eating well won’t make you a beast overnight.  However, eating poorly will impact your performance and the results of your time in the gym.  If you start with these suggestions you can will likely see some great performance gains over time. All too often we have clients asking us about supplements and hacks before they get some of the basics under control. We have also found that although these suggestions are simple they are not easy.

A nutrition coach can make a huge difference

Behaviors and habits are hard to change. A good coach can help you prioritize, plan, take action, and make progress. What you don’t need is a complicated meal plan that just makes you feel guilty. What you need is someone that will help you along the way. If you need some help getting started call us, or click the link and set up a free consultation where we can help you make that plan based on your needs.  We have helped hundreds of people, we can help you.

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