In part one of this 2 part blog special we talked about the best workouts to lose weight quickly and efficiently. Hopefully you have read part 1 and started incorporating some of those training methods into your training routine, if not then start now! In this part, we’ll talk about the basics to weight loss through nutrition. When you have a good understanding on basic nutrition and pair that up with hard work in the gym then you’re only going to get one result- weight loss (if that’s your goal).
You hear a lot of people nowadays that it’s “70% diet and 30% training” or some other percentage. But we believe that its 100% training 100% nutrition and 100% sleep. Concentrate on getting the balance right on all 3 of these and we’ll guarantee you’ll notice not only physical changes but mental changes too. Fitter, stronger, happier, healthier, more energised, less stressed, more focused, better mood and mental clarity are just some of the benefits you’ll start noticing if you start implementing a good work ethic in your training, a better understanding of nutrition and proper rest.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t have to count every calorie, every gram of carbohydrate, protein and fats or read the ingredients on the back of your porridge oats. If your training to be a body builder or competing at a fitness event then yes, counting your macros does help as it’s a more specific training goal. But if you’re simply training for a bit of weight loss, as I stated in the previous post, sometimes simple is best and more effective. Don’t over complicate things to start with. Don’t start concentrating on what supplements to take, focus of your food first, consistently get that right along with your training for a few months, then only then start thinking about supplements and macro tracking. Again it all depends on your level of training and what you’re training for.
So let’s start with what foods we need to AVOID when it comes to nutrition.
* Processed food (takeaways from fast food joints, Chinese, Curries etc…)- Do we really know where they’re getting there sources of food from-? The foods from these sorts of places are full of trans fats, This type of fat, known as hydrogenated fat, can be used for frying or as an ingredient in processed foods. Over consumption of trans fats can lead to high cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. They also contain a lot of refined/starchy carbohydrates (high sugars) in the sauces, bread, drinks and poor quality of nutrients.
* Foods high in sodium, sugar and trans fats (chocolate, crisps, sweets, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks, various sauces etc.)- Pretty much the same as above. A diet high in sugar is bad news. It increases the rate of obesity, heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, kidney problems, and tooth decay.
* Foods with additives, e-numbers and hidden chemicals/sugar in (Ready meals, “low fat” products, smoothies/fruit juices, cereals, coffee shop products etc…)- If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back of the label that probably means don’t eat it, it’s not going to do any favours to our body or vital organs. Also note that “low fat” products means they’ve taken the fat out of the product but replaces them with some sort of artificial sweetener and added sugar to make them taste nice.
* Alcohol- If getting lean is your goal then alcohol will do you no favours. It contains nutrient free calories (7 kcals per gram) makes you feel awful in the morning which leads you to eating junk food, mentioned above, and dehydrates our bodies. It will also impair the recovery process from previous exercise in the week, screw up our metabolism and have a negative effect on body composition. As an example, 1 beer has an average of 180 calories in. Have 5+ of these and your reaching the 1000 calorie mark, add on the junk you’ll eat at the end of the night and the next day and you’re in for a scary total, and this is not even taking into account what you’ve eaten in the day before your “night out”! Be smart, I’m not saying eliminate alcohol completely, a beer or 2 with your meal at the weekend or a glass of red wine isn’t going to kill you or ruin your progress completely. There are better options to drink but if you want a couple then go ahead. The devil is in the dosage with alcohol and if you go down that route, you’ll most certainly find out.
Now let’s talk about the foods you should be including into your diet on a daily basis:
* Lean animal meats and dairy like chicken, turkey, beef, venison, duck, whole eggs, whole milk, grass fed butter- Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, and is crucial for people looking to gain lean muscle. Protein is also digested slower and will keep you fuller for longer. Incorporate a high protein breakfast which will regulate blood sugar levels and help keep you fuller until lunch, missing out on a less nutritious snack mid-morning!
* Oily fish high omega 3’s like salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel. Also other fish like tuna, cod, haddock. Omega 3’s will help with reduction of inflammation, which may reduce recovery time, water retention and body composition. Fish oils also helps with stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and reduction of carbohydrate cravings. Fish oils will help for not just fat loss but all round health. It’s recommended to take around 3000mg (total of EPA & DHA) per day through oily fish or a fish oil supplement.
* Complex carbohydrates like oats, brown/basmati rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, mixed beans and buckwheat. These foods are low/medium on the Glycaemic Index (GI) which means the lower the GI the slower they are absorbed which will help keep blood glucose levels steady. Avoid high GI foods when sedentary, as these foods will be absorbed quickly raising insulin levels and the glucose will eventually be stored as fat. Pre or post training is when high GI foods will be used for the energy of your workout or replenish glycogen stores.
* Fresh fruit and vegetables- Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The more “colour” from fruit and veg the better. Eating more colours from fruit a veg will help protect against certain cancers, arthritis, heart disease, cataracts and even premature ageing. Fruit and vegetables contain hundreds of colourful “phytochemicals” that act as antioxidants, which help to get rid of potentially harmful molecules called free radicals before they get a chance to our damage cells.
* Nuts and seeds- Again full of different vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, fibre, zinc, iron and vitamin b6. Most nuts are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. For example, all nuts contain vitamin E in, a powerful antioxidant to help promote better looking skin, hair and nails. By eating a handful or 2 of nuts a day, this will help stabilize healthy blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and will maintain your appetite for longer.
* Foods high in antioxidants such as berries, nuts, fish, leafy green veggies, dark chocolate (80+), sweet potatoes, coffee and green tea. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids, which include beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein, help, protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.
* And finally drink plenty of water! Your body is 70% water. Your bones are made up of 5% water. Every function of your body depends on it. Your blood is largely water, digestion needs lots of it, your joints are cushioned with it. Your brain is more than 90% water, it is vital to keep these organs hydrated all day every day for proper function of the human body or this can lead to dizziness, headaches, migraines, tiredness, dry lips and mouth, passing small amounts of urine, dehydration and fainting. This can development even worse into liver, joint and muscle damage, constipation, cholesterol problems and kidney stones. Everyone should be drinking at least 2 litres of water a day, if you’re exercising this should be more.
I hope the above information and pointers on the basics of nutrition has helped you on your understanding of nutrition. Start implementing some of the points above into your daily routine when it comes to your eating habits. Not only will your weight loss excel along with your training, but also your health will accelerate to new heights too. Food and water is what fuels us for our day to day tasks, and if we don’t eat quality food then our day to day lives will suffer. We won’t perform what were capable of if we don’t eat correctly let alone train efficiently. Good nutrition will only make your training sessions more effective and put the 2 together along with proper sleep (8 hours minimum a night) for recovery, then you’ll watch that weight drop off healthily, safely and effectively.
Thank you for reading!