Diet is always a sketchy subject to write about. There are so many options and methods to accomplish goals, and it gets extremely confusing when there are so many experts saying so many conflicting things. Every diet seems to be the best kind and you HAVE to follow it exactly if you want to expect the premium results. This particular post has been in the making for some time now. There is a lot to say on the subject of dieting and nutrition; of what I am going to share in this article, I can only say that these ideas and principles have been taken from a great deal of time studying and my own experiences as well as the experiences and counsel from my fellow colleagues. And now into the meat and potatoes… (no pun intended?)
We can all agree that the vast majority of our results regarding body composition are directly related to the kinds and quantities of food that we are taking in on a daily basis. In simple terms, poor eating habits results in an unhealthy body. The real struggle is finding out how to eat clean. What does “eating clean” even mean? Anyone can read the never ending articles concerning Paleo, Vegan, Mediterranean, Atkins, South Beach, etc. There are quite a few diets out there that make a lot of sense, and others that seem like (because they are) complete gimmicks. Because of all the information and science proving and disproving each and every one of these diet plans, the entire goal of dieting seems to be lost. Too often people are more focused on the process and step by step of dieting than they are about the whole purpose of changing their eating habits in the first place.
Dieting and training share a common goal: make the body a more efficient machine to accomplish certain tasks. Why does anyone want to be healthier? Because they want to do more with their lives. Though the scale of that performance may be greater or smaller depending on the individual, in hindsight it is all about performance and results. I would suggest a similar approach to diet as I do for training. Drive yourself off of results; following a perfect diet only goes so far, but eating focused on the results and performance of your body changes the aspect and the ease of such drastic changes in the pursuit for health and strength.
Having read a great deal and talking with high caliber athletes of different disciplines, also including my own eating habits, I have comprised a fair amount of similarities that seem to be universal and effective for achieving goals in body composition and performance goals. First, Calories are key, and macronutients (proteins, fats, and carbs) follow a close second. You must measure calories to provide your body the right amount of fuel. If you are looking to gain mass, you have to eat more calories than you consume. It is the opposite if you are trying to lose weight. Your body must consume more calories than you provide it with foods. The kinds of foods that you eat do make a difference, but not enough to stress over as long as you are getting your calorie count and proper macronutrient intake. When all is said and done, the body is extremely efficient at breaking down foods and absorbing the nutrients for use, and the kinds of foods you eat affect the speed, rate and cost of this absorption.
One thing can hold consistent though; unprocessed foods do provide more nutrient dense sources. The way you eat can help shape the way you perform in your activities, but the best way to determine the best diet is by establishing definitive goals and learning about the types of fuel that will best support the ability to perform at the highest level you wish to attain. Stick with unprocessed foods, search out high grade supplements if needed, and make sure you’re getting enough water and pre-post workout protein.
The perfect diet is a diet that allows for optimal performance. There are many ways to accomplish this, and the results of your eating habits are directly related to what you and your activity level needs on a personal basis. Where can you start to formulate a diet? What foods are better for certain activities?
This article is far from done. Part 2 will delve into actual eating habits and what makes them successful. Until Part 2, eat to perform!
Every Day… A Little Stronger
Written By Sam Winston, Strength and Performance Coach