Does your nutrition match your training goals? There are numerous approaches to nutrition, but which one is for you, and is there simply a cookie cutter approach for everyone? Don’t be confined by one way of thinking. Here is why…
There are many questions people face when it comes to training and nutrition. Sure there are dietary frameworks from which to work from, but what is important is to know what your training goal is and to adapt your diet to suit your specific needs. Whether it is to lose weight, get jacked, or to do a triathlon… whatever the goal, your nutrition plan needs to match it accordingly. Choose a dietary plan that will provide the results best for your specific needs.
Consider the average hardgainer (i.e. a person who does not find it easy to gain muscle through exercise) who wants to get jacked and put on slabs of muscle. When asked what he eats, he provides a dietary list of a 12-year-old school girl – it just ain’t gonna happen! Also consider a competitive athlete, in say CrossFit, training to dominate workouts and PR in his/her Olympic Lifts, and yet he/she is running on a low carb diet – sooner or later, you’ll be running the machine too lean. The result is burnout, insufficient recovery and potential injury, respectively.
As mentioned before, don’t be confined by one method. If you are devoted Paleo diet enthusiast, don’t feel that everything else will kill you – remove those blinders. Rice won’t kill you, nor will supplementation, and neither will skipping your routine bacon for breakfast. This is a promise.
Prior to an introduction into the world of Paleo, what I read in bodybuilding magazines was the way for me. It made sense eating meat, rice and veggies. How wrong can it actually be? Really!
When I embarked on the Paleo route, I jacked up my training, dropped the whole-wheat, peanut butter and banana sarmies, the oats, the bowls of brown rice, the love for potatoes and dairy… all gone! My goal; become a machine. The result; bleek. The lesson; one method doesn’t work for everyone. Paleo is a basis, a foundation, and once you have learnt this, you need to adapt to your own needs. For the most part, what I learnt served as an education. One must risk, experiment and learn in order to gain invaluable knowledge.
Now, there are always conflicting ideas regarding nutrition, but here are some thoughts… the fast becoming popular Paleo diet (especially in the CrossFit community) is without a doubt a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about nutrition. It’s simple and if followed correctly it can produce excellent results. It should be a “framework” for all diets. Why, because simply put, it advocates that you eat real food and eliminate processed products. For anyone looking to improve their health, you cannot go wrong with Paleo.
Then there’s the Zone Diet, which highlights the importance of eating the correct amounts of macronutrients and the correct portion sizes for meals. One of the biggest lessons to come from the Zone Diet is the realisation of how much you could be under eating, especially if your only source of “favourable” carbs comes from veggies. In my mind there are only so many sweet potatoes one can eat.
On the other hand, the Renegade Diet (my latest experiment) eliminates breakfast, follows a base of Paleo, if you wish, and encourages you to ramp up your carb intake through white rice, all based on your needs.
Finally, if it comes down to it and your training goals call for it, there’s another diet I’ve come across called SWOLE: The Greyskull Growth Principles. This diet encourages the basics of meat, mince, whole eggs, chicken, rice, oats, pasta, yogurt, dark bread and supplementary shakes with olive oil. The idea is to do what needs to be done to get the results you want.
I’ve only highlighted three diets in this article, but the bottom line is simple; research properly and eat for what you need. If you’re training to get jacked, then eat accordingly. If you training to lose weight, well then, eat that way. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Modify your diet by adding in additional carbs and supplementing what you need to get the results you’re after.
Remember this though, every diet option will have a conflicting theory about the next one. So use what you need and discard what you don’t. Be accountable, research for yourself and experiment until you find what works for you.