What are you putting in your body?
I cannot emphasize this enough…
You can’t out-work a BAD DIET!
If you’ve been around me for any length of time, I probably sound like a broken record. But I will beat this horse till the cows come home!! (Two farm animal analogies in one sentence… that’s skill baby!)
Obviously, as the Head Trainer and “Vice King” of Operations for St. Louis Fitness Bootcamp, this message might sound a little counter intuitive. I should probably be the guy that harps on workout and promises results if you’ll only work harder and attend more classes.
But I happen to know that there’s more to the equation than how much effort you’re putting in at the gym.
Yes, there are things in your workouts that we can tweak and adjust to make your training more effective. However, for our purposes today, I want to keep the discussion focused on nutrition. And I do this for good reason…
80-90% of your results are going to be directly related to the type of “foods” you’re chowing down on.
You can fight it. You can disagree with it. You can come up with counter arguments. But you’re living in a fairy tale land if you think you can work out enough to eat whatever you want.
Many of us have heard stories of athletes like Michael Phelps that gorge on Paul Bunyan sized breakfasts every morning consisting of chocolate chip pancakes, fried egg sandwiches, a 5 egg omelet, french toast, and grits… all at one sitting.
First of all, the Olympic champion is training around the clock and is burning a ton of calories to counteract this intake. However, as I’ll discuss in another video, calorie intake versus calorie burn is not where we want to put our attention.
Secondly, despite Michael’s results, I believe this kind of diet can have adverse effects over the long term. This extreme example is high in carbs and protein, while also disturbingly low in nutrition.
Nutrition is your friend!
And all too often, nutrition is the last thing we focus on. But should be amongst our top priorities.
Instead, the discussion usually shifts to:
How many calories? Is it gluten free? Is it fat free? How much protein?
Forget all that! We’re asking the wrong questions!
So where does high quality nutrition come from??
And where do you find real foods?
Start your search on the perimeter of your grocery store, avoid the middle aisles, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier life style.
But more specifically, start in your produce section and load up on vegetables! Yes, vegetables! Particularly the dark green leafy ones: kale, swiss chard, and collard greens are amongst your most nutrient dense choices. Load up! Then diversify your cart with some other colors from the vegetable family and prepare to change your life.
You may be surprised to learn that, calorie for calorie, spinach has more protein than steak.
Sounds crazy, but it’s true!
We’ve become obsessed with protein in our society, but few people realize that one of the healthiest sources of protein is in your vegetables. The steak and potato diet of old lacks severely in the nutrition your body craves. (Potato is probably the weakest and least nourishing in the vegetable hierarchy. Remember, we like bright colors in our vegetables. Diversify. Try substituting sweet potatoes instead.)
If you take anything away from this post it should be to EAT MORE VEGETABLES! I find this is the number one thing lacking in people’s diets and you cannot overdo it on vegetables. You can overdo potato chips. But not REAL vegetables!
Isn’t protein important too?
Yes, protein is important, but so is the source of that protein. I mentioned that vegetables have protein, but a lot of us need our meat fix too. So what are our best options.
Wild caught fish, wild game, organic grass fed beef, organic free range chicken and eggs… The more wild, the more naturally fed, the more REAL the food is, and the more nourishing it is to our bodies.
Focus on REAL!!!
I want to mention briefly here that the organic approach is optimal and applies to everything. Organic food hasn’t been tampered with by man with our recent “advances” in genetic modification and copious use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. I’ll save the organic discussion for another post.
Dairy is okay… but the same rules apply and if you’re not into dairy, I don’t think there’s anything nutrient wise that you’d be missing in this category.
For fruits, berries should be at the top of the list. I’d avoid pigging out on fruits though. Yes, organic fruits are REAL food. However, for the purpose of weight loss, they also contain a high amount of fructose. Naturally occurring fructose is a better form of sugar than conventional table sugar, but in general you want to keep your sugar intake on the low side.
Add some avocados for healthy fat and some nuts and seeds for good measure and you’ll be all aboard the health train!
What about wheat?
Wheat as it exists today is not the same food it was 5o or so years ago. It’s been genetically modified for mass production, cost effectiveness, and practicality purposes (better rising qualities, doughy qualities, etc). Wheat products today will jack up your blood sugar levels, which increases insulin levels, which increases viceral fat, which makes you resemble the Pilsbury Doughboy. I’ll go in deeper depth about wheat at a later date, but if you’re super curious, you can read the book “Wheat Belly.”
In the meantime, I don’t want to shock you too much… but I’d recommend eliminating wheat as much as possible. This means steer clear of the doughnuts, muffins, cakes, bagels, cereals, snack foods, pretzels, pancakes, pastas, etc (staples of the standard American diet). And yes, this applies to whole grains too. Nuff said.
What about taste?
The biggest objections people have about this style of eating is it takes away a lot of the comfort foods we’ve become so attached to.
Did you know sugar and wheat have addictive properties no different than cigarettes or cocaine? The health conscious consumer has accepted the fact that cigarettes can adversely affect your health to the point of death. But diabetes and cancer are just as dangerous if not more so because of the ignorance surrounding their consumption and the poor advice being spewed by the ADA, the government, and the big money in the food companies. It’s quite disturbing!
Stop for a second and shift your focus to what you’ll be GAINING!
Healthful, nutritious, REAL eating, is not about the things you’re giving up. It’s about the health, vibrancy, energy, and longevity that you’ll be gaining by doing things a better way.
The foods recommended here do not limit you in any way. There are infinite delicious meals, snacks, and recipes that you can find and put together using REAL wholesome ingredients. You will see and feel the difference!
Eating well is not about being perfect. It’s about being more aware. Aware of what your body craves- NUTRITION! And aware of how your body thrives- with REAL FOOD!
Whenever you have questions, feel free to reach out to me or one of the other members on the St. Louis Fitness Bootcamp team to get more tips and tricks on eating well. We’re here to help!