Picking up where we left off from Part One of the Perfect Diet, it is essential to understand that dieting is crucial to performance, but extremely controversial in practice. Choosing the perfect way to eat and fuel your activities is more than just a process of eating certain foods in a certain way. In this post, I would like to describe certain aspects to dieting that I have found by speaking with other athletes, fitness professionals, and myself. There are principles to dieting that work. The best way to find the best diet is by using and learning the ways of professionals and experts. Here I would like to expand on the habits of these people.
Many fitness professionals have certain things that they teach clients pertaining to diet that are essential. For instance, hydration is a universal one. In order to maintain an optimally functioning body, water and hydration is the glue keeping all the pieces together. You can train the right way, eat the right food, and learn of the right techniques, but without hydration, all the pieces will lack a certain cohesion.
Pre and Post workout fuel is also a staple that must be observed when pursuing active goals. When you train, your body goes into a state of burning fuel in order to recover from the stresses placed on it during exercise. You use energy to complete the training and then your body uses more energy afterward in an effort to repair itself and prepare the body for the next bout of exercises. This is why consuming fuel before to sustain the workouts and after to sustain the recovery effort are important.
A good focus on your protein intake is also very crucial to your success as a fitness enthusiast or athlete. The amount of protein you need depends greatly on the kind of athlete you are. Power athletes requiring more muscle mass should be eating at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day, optimally 1.5 grams. Endurance athletes should get a minimum of .75 grams per pound of bodyweight a day and maximum of 1gram per pound. When all is said and done, protein is what feeds the muscles, makes them grow, makes them recover, and makes them get stronger. Having the right amount of protein in your diet makes your muscles become what you need them to be.
As for my personal diet scheme, things are fairly simple. I use very little scientific method in programming my diet. With my goals of entering the professional ranks of triathletes, I have a high necessity for energy rich nutrients and enough protein to protect my muscles. A typical day for me starts with a couple bowls of cereal with almond milk, then a serving of fruits, a banana with an orange or apple. After my first workout session I will nab a quick protein bar or shake. For lunch I will make a sandwich, an all time favorite for me is an egg sandwich with avocado spread on the bread, spinach, and a couple slices of cheese, with lunch I will also have a handful of dark chocolate covered almonds. After workout number 2 I will have a some dried bananas, toast with peanut butter and some celery. Dinner will typically be extremely lean with a hearty portion of veggies and a complex carb. In a nut shell I start the day with pure carbs and gradually shift into a greater proportion of protein into each meal. I keep my eye mostly on my protein and total caloric intake. With the amount of work I am doing and the kind of work I am doing this scheme has worked for me. I have through trial and error found a way to eat for performance fueling my workouts and supplying my body with its needs.
There are many athletes who successfully use pure plant diets, others use paleo based regimens and a variety of other methods. Elite level athletes learn the nutrient requirements based on their sports and activities and eat in order for their bodies to perform optimally with optimal amounts of these nutrients. The most important point to take home from these past two posts is that the perfect diet does not exist. There are so many good foods and ways to achieve the nutrient makeup needed for your goals. Study, try and adapt. Don’t consume yourself in the process of dieting, rather eat based on yourself and the nutrients you require for your sport or activities. Eat to perform.