It seems like it’s been a while since I last wrote a post about nutrition. I am no nutritionist and that’s why and I don’t write about it all that often. But we have to face the fact that nutrition has a huge impact on your training, no matter what your goal is (performance, muscle mass, fat loss, etc). Nutrition and sleep are probably the 2 biggest factors that affect our recovery.
But what’s good nutrition? For the most part, I think that most people have a pretty good idea of what eating healthy means. But I also think that we get caught too often in the macro-nutrient breakdown pitfall. What I mean by that is that we focus too much on the number of calories, ratio of protein, carbs and fat contained in each food we eat. I wrote a complete blog post a little while ago about that subject. Not to toot my own horn, but if you haven’t read, you might want to; I think it was pretty eye-opening for a lot of people.
The most important thing in eating healthy (and also the thing that is the most overlooked factor) is to have a plan! If good nutrition is about eating more natural food that are not transformed food products (read: everything that comes in a bag or a box), thin about what that implies:
- Food at most restaurants and take out place have ingredients that have been conserved in a fridge for days and even weeks, and therefore need a good amount of preservatives to not go bad.
- Trying to find a quick fix when you really hungry and haven’t planned anything for lunch will almost always lead you to poor food choices
- Skipping breakfast, and eating a small lunch will always lead you to over-eating at dinner or at night
My point, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is that it’s not so much about what specific food you eat, but how you plan your meals. You’re not going to be able to eat healhty if you never cook yourself (read: buy frozen dinner and the like). You’re not going to be able to have healthy nutritional habits if you never pack a lunch for work or for school.
The biggest mistake you can make in my opinion is to leave your house with your hands empty and not knowing what you’re going to eat during the day when you’re going to be away from home for 8-12 straight hours. You’re setting yourself up for failure, no matter how good your intents are. Even with the biggest will power in the world, you’re not going to be able to maintain good eating habits over a long period of time if you never plan ahead. Of course it does require some time, some effort, quite a bit of forward thinking (always thinking what all of your meals are going to be for the next day) and YES, you will have to set your alarm clock at least 15-30 minutes earlier in the morning. But what’s more important to you? Your long-term health or the extra 15 minutes of sleep you get 5 days a week?
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