Basic Nutrition 101
Recently I had client ask me a fairly broad question regarding optimal nutrition. Now, I realize that a nutrition plan depends on the individual and their situation, however I would like to offer a few rules that can be applied across the board when it comes to basic nutrition.
Rule #1 – Breakfast should be your largest meal of the day.
Just as the name of the meal implies, you are about to break the fast you have been in for (hopefully) the past 8 hours. This is the meal that gets your metabolic fire burning for the day. I recall reading an article from legendary strength coach Dan John, and he said that “it is important to start every day with a great breakfast”. My great breakfast is typically 4 omega-3 eggs, 1/2 cup of REAL oatmeal, 1 cup of frozen blueberries and 6 fish oil capsules….and a HUGE cup of the strongest coffee I can find. It is a necessary evil at 5am.
Rule #2- Build every single meal around a protein source.
Building meals around protein sources also includes snacks. Acceptable protein sources include eggs, ground beef (at least 90% lean), chicken breast, lean cuts of beef, fish, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and quality protein powders. Unacceptable sources of protein include peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, almond butter, beans, tofu, and soy products.
Rule #3- Carbohydrates should be eaten when appropriate.
Basically all this rule means is that you should be eating carbohydrates in the morning and pre and post workout. These are the times that your body will actually use them for energy rather than storing them as fat to be used later. When I train, I will always make myself “earn” the post workout carbs. If you walk on the treadmill at 3mph for 30 minutes, I don’t think you have earned a damn thing.
Rule #4- Low fat diets are dumb.
Fat does not make you fat. Choosing the right fats helps to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, lowers your LDL’s (bad cholesterol) and decrease total body inflammation. So, if you want to increase your risk of having a heart attack, jack up your bad cholesterol and have joints that feel like they need to be hosed down with oil every morning, by all means cut all the fats out of your diet. I’m just saying.
Rule #5- Drink lots of water and no calorie containing beverages.
I am not sure I need to explain this one. Drink lots of water throughout the day, even when you are not thirsty and do not drink soda, fruit juice, beer, vodka, rum, wine, tequila, yager bombs, irish car bombs…I think you get the idea.
Rule #6- Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day.
This is when we should be putting the fire out so to speak. A great dinner for me would be lots of meat, lots of green vegetables, and a healthy dose of healthy fat (think fish oil or olive oil).