…Through the virtue of training, Enlighten both body and soul — Morihei Sensei

Archive for October, 2010

My Non-Training Diet: My simple nutrition rules

Technically, I don’t have a training diet.  Since I’m training nearly all the time in one fashion or another, and since my obsessive mind becomes utterly bogged down by complicated logging methods, etcetera, I’ve developed a few basic rules which work for me quite well.

1.  Focus on Fiber.  First and foremost, I focus on fiber. I’ve found that by focusing on fiber, most of the other healthy and wholesome foods fall in line.  Since most processed, sugary and “bad” food is virtually devoid of fiber, consuming anything approaching the FDA daily requirement necessarily entails things like whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

However, I take it a step further, my target daily fiber intake is 33g from natural sources (i.e., no fiber supplements).  Studies have shown that the FDA 25g of fiber is too low.  Based on my weight & activity level, my number looks more like 33-36g.  Though, I do take a psyllium husk supplement during certain cleanse periods, but outside of that, no.

2.  Stick to foods I know work. Second, I stick to foods that work. I don’t constantly go out and try to find new, exotic foods with miracle micro-nutrients.  I know what foods fulfill my dietary balance, and I stick to those generally. This takes a little work up front, but once you learn them, it makes things very easy. I’ve developed my list from following the “Abs Diet” by David Zinczenko (get the book at the library).  It is very simple to get a hang of it.

I’m not afraid of exotic foods. I love eating good, new foods. I love to cook, and to cook new foods. The same goes for restaurants and traveling overseas. But from a practical everyday, block-and-tackle standpoint, I stick to what I know works, and I don’t need to put a whole lot of thought into.

3.  Don’t Get Hungry. The easiest way to sabotage your diet is to hit the wall at 1pm, be on the road, and stop off for a taquito and a cinnamon bun.  The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to first Eat BreakfastEat a good, fiber-rich breakfast.  There is all sorts of science behind the value of eating an early breakfast.  But from a daily perspective, it is the best way to avoid the midday hungries.  Secondly, plan for lunch.  Yes, actually think about it, and prepare a lunch ahead of time.  No excuses about you don’t have time.  It’ll take 5 minutes.  Just do it.

4.  Stay Away Froms.  What I avoid:   Corn syrup, High fructose corn syrup, any level of hydrogenated oils, added animal fats, bleached or processed flours (“enriched” flour), diglycerides and triglycierides. I don’t eat pork. I don’t do tobacco.  I don’t drink cheap alcohol.

When it comes to training nutrition, I follow a few simple rules.

5.  During Actual Training or Competition. Before a training session or competition, I’ll drink a protein shake. Low carbs.  I want the protein available in my blood stream exactly when my muscles call for it, either to rebuild or to fuel.  No HGH, creatine, etc.

Immediately following a training session, I’ll drink a sports drink (Generally my own homemade recipe).  I want the carbs available to my muscles when they’re able to absorb the most.

Prior to competition I’ll try to carb up.  I’m not completely convinced this has a tremendous impact on the top-end.  It does seem to prevent seriously “bonking”.  There must be a dozen different approaches to carbo-loading.   More importantly, beginning several days prior I focus on hydration.

During extended endurance competition, I’ll try to drink a protein/carb mix, again homemade recipe.  However, this isn’t always practical in a race, so I don’t stress over it.  Being hydrated in competition is the most important item.  In competition I’m not interested in training my muscles–I’m interested in giving them ideal circumstances.

6.  Drink Water. Water makes everything work better.  Your digestion, your performance, lowers your heart rate.  Dehydration can give me debilitating headaches.  I generally stay hydrated, but don’t obsess over it. I’ve found that in certain endurance and survival situations, it’s good to train your body to use water efficiently (i.e., function at below complete hydration. Again, this could technically be a completely separate topic.

That’s about it in a nutshell from a day-to-day standpoint.  I also take vitamins, supplements–Again, not obsessively.  I don’t overindulge on sweets and alcohol.

Disclaimer:  I am neither nutrition, nor health expert.  I am expert in many things, none of which are covered in this post, not even in what actually works for me.  I am an expert, however, in my opinion of what works for me.  And that is all that I have covered here, my opinion of what works for me, in the hopes that you may glimpse a glimmer of something useful.

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