Last week, I published an article titled, “Top Five Reasons You’re Not Seeing Results”, and I wanted to elaborate on the subject. The five reasons listed in the article were as follows:
- “You Eat Like An A$$ho!#”
– Jason and Roz Ackerman, Own Your Eating
- Your Mindset Sucks
- You Haven’t Prioritized Your Health
- You Never Challenge Yourself
- You Value the Experience more than the Workout
After writing the article, I realized there is much to be said about these topics, and that each of could be a stand-alone post. Therefore, over the next few weeks, I will to expound upon each the Five Reasons.
“You Eat Like An A$$ho!#”
There is a saying, “You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.”, and that is 100% true. Nutrition is the foundation of health and fitness, yet unfortunately, it is rarely addressed during initial consultations or incorporated into training programs. In a perfect world, folks would walk into a fitness facility, sit down for a one-on-one consultation to discuss goals, lifestyle, and nutrition, spend two or three months working with a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition coach to begin developing healthier dietary habits and establish a better relationship with food, and finally, begin exercising. Obviously, we do not live in a perfect world; there are few facilities that prioritize nutrition, and even fewer entities that provide credible, reliable information and education regarding food. Hence, the alarming statistics surrounding the overweight and obese populations.
The vast majority of people are clueless when it comes to nutrition. Even the folks who consider themselves competent, actually have no idea what to eat, when to eat, or how much they should eat. Typically, these are the individuals who read two or three bullshit articles on T-Nation, Bodybuilding.com, or Men’s/Women’s Health, about Intermittent Fasting, Keto, Carb Cycling, etc, then deem themselves experts whom are qualified to provide nutritional advice to their friends and family. This cycle can be observed in nearly every social circle at your local CrossFit affiliate, Orange Theory, or LA Fitness. People desperately want to understand nutrition, yet they have no idea where to turn for credible, evidence-based information. This pattern of behavior ultimately lead to our current situation: tens of thousands of people who are exercising three, four, five, six, even seven days per week, for months, if not years, yet remain 15-20-lbs. overweight.
The primary reason you’re not seeing results, regardless of how hard, or often you train, is because you eat like an asshole. You’re treating your body as if it were a 1997 Toyota Corolla that runs on Unleaded 87, when you should be treating your body as if it were a Ferrari that only runs on Premium 93. If you were to track what you put into your body for three consecutive days, you would likely be shocked and ashamed at the caloric load and quality of food you consume on a daily basis. Tell me if this sounds like you:
Nothing, or Coffee (possibly a bagel, pastry, or breakfast sandwich from Starbucks, if you have time)
Chipotle, Subway, or some other fast-food variant – whatever is most convenient
Take-out, or a meal that consists primarily of starch (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.)
Unfortunately, that is how the majority of people eat. You’re polluting your bodies with processed, refined carbohydrates, added sugars, preservatives, and excess calories. It is impossible to counteract that nutritional epidemic with 60-minutes of activity at the gym. So the question becomes, how should you eat? What does proper nutrition look like? Where do you start?
These are not simple questions to answer. Nutrition, similar to religion and politics, can be a sensitive topic, and often, the conversations can lead into deep, dark rabbit holes. So, to simplify the conversation, and remain within my scope of practice as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, I have listed five strategies for dialing-in your nutrition, and ultimately developing healthier habits:
- Begin eating three meals per day (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner), and at each meal, try to have a lean meat, vegetables, and small-to-moderate amounts of starch
- 1/4 of the plate should be meat
- 1/4 of the plate should be starch
- 1/2 of the plate should be vegetables
- Begin shopping the perimeter of the grocery store
- This may sound cliche, but it works
- The majority of processed and refined foods are found within the aisles
- The perimeter contains the essentials: meats, veggies, and dairy products
- Drink more water
- Coffee, energy drinks, and soda do not count
- Buy a 24-32oz water bottle, and drink three or four of those per day
- Find a go-to, healthy snack that consists of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
- Apple and nut butter
- Beef jerky, almonds, and berries
- Quality deli meat (e.g. turkey), cheese, and carrots
- Quest Bar, Perfect Foods Bar, or Rx Bar
- Keep it simple
- You do not need fancy recipes, meal prep services, etc.
- Find the foods you enjoy
- Use simple spices(e.g. salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.), NOT dressings or sauces
In the beginning, the priorities are establishing healthier habits and developing a macro (no pun intended) understanding of nutrition. You don’t need to become a robot who weighs and measures everything you put in your mouth, you don’t need to become a meal prep expert, and you definitely don’t need to hop on a fad diet, cleanse, or Keto because someone at work or the gym said it will get you shredded. All you need to do is pay attention to what you eat, buy quality, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods, drink plenty of water, and repeat – day-in and day-out. In other words, stop eating like an asshole!