When it comes to nutrition and all the differing opinions out there you can be forgiven for feeling confused.
But the world of nutrition can be as complicated as you want to make it. I mean, we can get into the biochemistry of everything, count every calorie you ever eat and weigh every stem of broccoli that leaves your fridge, but at the end of the day, for the majority of people, this is paralysis by analysis.
Now I’m not saying that the more advanced nutritional strategies don’t have their place, of course they do, but I favour a more simple approach for people starting out.
Five simple rules, which address some of the common mistakes:
Don’t starve yourself
In my opinion, allowing yourself to get hungry is one of the biggest enemies for fat loss. As our blood sugar levels drop so does our ability to make sensible food choices, and it’s not even your fault. Our body is a clever machine, it wants to maintain balance and when our blood sugar levels drop too low it wants to re establish balance by making you crave sugar, and quickly. It doesn’t want to have to digest a sweet potato it wants simple sugar that will solve the problem quickly. By eating regularly and stabilising blood sugar levels you can avoid those unwanted cravings that can ruin your progress.
Get enough protein
Having analysed hundreds of food diaries I can safely say that far too many people under consume protein. Now protein isn’t all about building muscle, it is also vitally important for our immune system and detoxification, both of which are important if to be strong and healthy.
My general rule of thumb is 1.5g/per KG BW for females and 2g/per KG BW for men.
Of course this is a moving target and will depend greatly on other aspects of you nutrition, but this acts as a great starting point.
Drink plenty of water
Hydration is vitally important for your health, physique and performance. We have easy access to it yet it’s not uncommon for me to hear “I only drink 1 litre a day” – What, where, why?!!! Why would you deny yourself of water. A reduction in hydration not only decreases performance, but it increases your risk of injury dramatically. 75-80% of water is stored in the muscle so if your serious about getting in better shape you need to be drinking water and plenty of it.
My general rule of thumb is 1 litre for every 25kg of bodyweight.
Get your fibre
Along with protein, fibre is also hugely under eaten for the majority. Fibre is essential for health, as it helps keep our digestive system healthy and allows us to get rid of waste from our bodies. My recommendations for fibre are between 30g-60g depending on caloric intake but a baseline of 30g is what I’m looking for. Now if you’re eating mainly processed foods this isn’t going to be easy, so ensure that you are getting enough fibrous veg throughout the day.
Eat plenty of veg
I like to see a lot of veg when I look at someone’s food diary. In my opinion you can’t get enough vegetables, as they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, not to mention fibre. Unfortunately, a salad for lunch and some broccoli with dinner isn’t going to cut it. I like to set people a challenge to eat 500g of veg a day, which shouldn’t be that hard, yet most people really struggle with this. Give this a try and see how much better you feel for it.
We help our members with a nutritional programme that works for them, if you’re struggling, give us a shout at our gym or try out our personal training and we’ll help you work out a plan that suits you.
You may also find our nutritional e-books helpful to eating healthier.