Train to feel good, not just to look good.
Eating well is a lifestyle, understand this and you’ll start to enjoy it more. Learn about the good foods, the bad foods and when to eat.
Eating well is a lifestyle
It’s as simple as that. It’s not a Monday-Friday thing, it’s not a ‘I’ll eat well today and tomorrow then eat what I want for the next few days’! By making it a lifestyle, it means that most of the time you will be eating good foods which will mean when you do want to eat what you want or something slightly unhealthy, you won’t and shouldn’t ever have to feel bad about it. It’s all about balance. But again you have to be strict with yourself to start. Then you will see how it will become natural for you to want to buy and eat healthy food. Oh, and eating healthy should be enjoyable! Hopefully with my recipes you will begin to see that!
The 3 guys we like – protein, carbs and fats
I’m not going to go into too much detail as I could write a book about these three things. What I will say is all three need to be included in what you eat every single day and in every single meal.
Protein – great for recovery and for repairing muscles, it’s also very filling and provides consistent energy so eating it helps your energy levels remain consistent.
Carbs – you need them in your life every day. They provide you with the energy you will need to exercise but also to recover. People think by cutting them out they will lose weight. Yes in the short term, but if you want to sustain a healthy body long term, carbs are your friend and they will help you.
Fats – this guy is a funny one. We need fats because they are an essential source of fatty acids which our body can’t produce, they help absorb vitamins and they are a great source of energy which your body can use up quickly and you need if you are exercising. Careful though, you don’t want to consume too much. More about this later.
Macros? I prefer portion size
I have never in all my life every counted macros, or calories. But that’s just me. Some people do, some people don’t. The reason I haven’t is because I believe it would take the enjoyment out of eating. I don’t want to be looking on the back of packets every time I make something, worrying how much I am consuming. Instead, I look at portion size. I make sure my portions are not too small and not too big. I listen to my body when it’s full and I listen to it when it’s hungry. For this reason I won’t include calories or macros because I think it’s important to see food as a positive and not as a measurement task.
Eating before/after exercise
Before– I’ve always had the belief that we should train at least 2 hours after eating something. This is because our bodies when digesting food shouldn’t be put through any physical activity as it will steer the blood away from digesting and to the muscles we’re working which is not what we want. A small snack (banana, nuts, fruit) 30 mins before is fine but no more. I train first thing in the morning and I never eat before because I like my body to get used to training on empty so my body really uses up the fat and carbs stored.
After – this is the fun part. Once you’ve finished exercising, your body is craving energy sources and protein to repair itself. You should always try and eat a good meal within a one hour window of finishing exercise to maximise recovery. A balanced meal of good protein, carbs and fats is essential.
The 3 troublemakers – sugar, salts and fats
Sugar – the biggest cause of weight gain. Sugar is a killer – fizzy drinks, sweets, biscuits, even things like peanut butter. The reason being is because when you consume it, it increases your hunger and desire for more food. If you want your body to feel good and have consistent energy levels, sugar needs to go (the occasional treat of course is ok!)
Salts – they play an important part of the diet and an essential role in your body, however too much of it can cause stomach problems and high blood pressure. Most foods have salt in them so there’s no need to cover your food with it. The old sprinkle over your eggs or on your pasta is fine. Just don’t go overboard!
Fats – I’ve mentioned fats already as being an essential part of eating well. However, the fats I’m talking about here are the bad guys. The saturated and unsaturated fats you find in some foods – your body finds these much harder to break down and therefore it’s harder to get rid of. You should try and avoid eating foods with high levels of it such as butter, cheese, fried foods, processed snacks, baked goods.