“What does good training and nutrition look like?”
That was a question from a vegetarian client who was wondering about the future, diet and training wise. It’s a valid question, with so many people trying to reinvent the wheel purely for the purpose of profit how do you identify what works and what is, well bullshit (or swissball barbell squats).
His wondering about how he would look select future diet and training lead me to try and explain as quickly and succinctly as I could how though your needs might, the basics rarely change. In other words what ‘clues’ to look for when evaluating a training or nutrition program. Really it is less about the specifics of ‘eat this not that’ and more about the qualities that make up the big picture.
An except from my reply email…
Needs differ (both with training and nutrition) between individuals and in the same person at different times but they generally differ only in the amount of the different ‘basic’ choices you use.
In other words: in between times remember that plans may look different but they’ll feature a lot of the same qualities… as far as nutrition goes it’s all about real food (unless around training or for convenience and only where really necessary)
- Varied types of garden veg
- Concentrated high quality proteins
- High quality food based fats
- Starch you actually have to chew
- Water mostly i.e. no diet soft drinks, easy on the tea and coffee
- Needs (carbs etc) will differ but always remember the quality of the foods consumed… minimal processed versions of all the above.
and as far as training
- Bodyweight movements
- Compound barbell and dumbbell movements (and kettlebells, clubs, sanbags etc – they’re all just tools) and
- Hard and fast varied ‘cardio’ type movements and circuits.
- Tissue work like foam rolling, mobility and only then stretching.
- Needs will differ (mobility vs strength volume) but always remember the quality in training, i.e. going hard but always with the right form and allowing for recovery and varied training
And of course sleep, relaxation and sunshine.
Keep this in mind when selecting training and nutrition and it’s easy to stay on track or at least close to it.
Just a quick one about this:
Diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, poor gut health, stroke…. what if they all had the same cause? Robb Wolf says they do, what’s more he not only has the evidence to support his case, he’s got a plan so you can do something about it.
It’s not often I read a book concerning health and fitness or diet and nutrition that I actually like, but this is one of those rare moments. I was lucky enough to receive a pre publication copy of The Paleo Solution and the author Robb Wolf has done a real top notch job with this book, amongst the highlights we have:
UK National Diet Nutrition Survey: Still a little misguided?
The stats are out for the first of the yearly rolling reviews of the nutrition picture in the UK and it makes interesting if slightly depressing reading. Yes, we are tending to better diet but there’s still a long way to go with the populous still consuming too much in the way of salt, sugar and too little vegetable matter, fibre and omega 3 containing foods. You can read about it HERE at the Food Standards Agency website.
If you follow the link you’ll see that they have kindly given bullet points of the main findings, starting off with this little beauty:
“The key findings of the survey are:
People are eating less saturated fat, trans fat and added sugar than they were 10 years ago, when the survey was last carried out.”
Yes, saturated fat, the perennial pariah…
The problems with gathering large quantities of dietary data are well known but surely, if we do nothing more than build public health advice on dogma rather than up-to-date, credible science, we’re just going to perpetuate the issues of poor health related to diet?
The saturated fat issue is a classic example, highlighted by the FSA and then jumped upon by the British Heart foundation, Mubeen Bhutta the policy manager there stating:
Yet very little mention is made of research seeming to demonstrate that saturated fat intake is a red herring. For example this newest paper in the growing body of evidence HERE at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the conclusion from the abstract summing it up with a punchy line :
“there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD”
This from a meta analysis including over 340000 participants. Now, epidemiological data is never clear cut and meta analysis can be skewed , but surely cause for concern? Surely something to discuss? Remember focusing on a non issue potentially draws focus off the real issue.
Two problems: Reductionism and saving face
There’s two main problems here, the first is Of course that reductionism doesn’t seem to be helping us too much when it comes to the study of diet related disease.
Clearly much more work needs to be undertaken to build up a better picture of causes of cardiovascular disease, however in my opinio broadening our focus and looking at the issues associated with the sat fat intake needs to happen. Indeed this is happening in research circles, but an acknowledgment of these issues to be forthcoming from the health bodies advising us, ASAP.
Of course these people aren’t suffering from some form of mass delusion and the second real issue is this: how do you change public advice when it has been so vehemently swung in one direction?
How slowly do you have to change in order to retain some sort of image of authority and thus respect from those you seek to advise? A myopic focus on one nutrient may be ineffective, even foolish. However continuing to focus on, and basing health advice around out of date research and conclusions is criminal no?
I’d better file this one under ‘Rants’
Target by Bill Frymire
New years resolutions rethink:
Successful goal setting
Every week I see people in clinic with goals. Some may not know they have goals, others have definite goals but they may be the wrong ones for that moment. I often spend a lot of time with people focusing on their aspirations and plans and sorting through what they want to achieve, the motivations for these aims and how they fit into the big health and lifestyle picture.
A goal is the picture you have in your head of where you want to be. Taking them from merely thoughts and notions and making them reality means first defining them in a few ways, giving them the qualities they require to be of use to you. This means asking a few questions and giving your goals some important characteristics; transforming them from just hope and dreams on a piece of paper into a lynchpin of long term success:
Are they pointless?
Giving up crisps and cakes for January may be a healthy gesture, but what in the great scheme of things is this going to accomplish other than a) making you want crisps and cakes a LOT more and b) using up all that willpower that could be better spent.
If however, it changes a behaviour long term i.e. eating a lot less snacks foods then it has been beneficial but ask yourself, is it really going to achieve this?
Are they the right ones?
Food pyramids can be a useful tool for both advising people on what they should eat and also to represent what people actually ARE eating. Here’s some from around the world…
This is the bog standard food pyramid (source USDA).
I’m sure most of you are familiar with this. It’s the old USDA food pyramid giving the weightings of the foods to be consumed in the day based upon number of portions.
However it was felt that is needed to be redrawn to emphasize variety in food as well as throwing some emphasis on exercise as part of the picture. All very commendable but as far as I am concerned it’s neither use nor ornament.
Because you usually get this:
The new USDA ‘Food Triangley Thingamebob’
But to make any sense out of it at all you need the notes: Read more..
Dodgy diet and fatuous fitness advice busted.
"January, sick and tired, you've been hanging on me You make me sad with your eyes You're telling me lies"
Last night I was having dinner with a mate of mine, he was telling me about the great advice his wife received from a colleague at work, it was this: any time you eat something naughty (a doughnut, in this case) just have a glass of water after and it cancels all the badness out.
Great. That’s me out of a job then. Nutrition problems solved.
Or maybe not.
This got me thinking about all the bad advice you get and further to my 10 fat loss tips post yesterday, here’s 10 tips I have found around the web that you would be a fool to follow…..
1. Drink 5 liters or more of water each day – this helps flush your body of fat.
WHAT THE F…?! Read more..
My 10 top tips for fat loss
It’s that time of year again. Oh yes, New Year’s resolutions.
Too much turkey? Feeling guilty about all that Christmas cheer/beer? Feeling the need for renewal and refocusing of goals?
It seems everyone is looking at how to shift a few pounds and make themselves feel a little better after the over indulgence of the holidays. And of course around now there’s a plethora of ‘top tips’ floating around the web giving you suggestions for ways to loose fat, but often they’re not much more useful than ‘cut the carbs’. So what counts? Let’s get to the bottom of the top tips.
Here’s the point: focus on WHYs and HOWs, not WHATs
Your health, fitness and body shape is the expression of your behaviours and actions and what they do to your body over the months and years. You have to change WHY you’re doing things, not just WHAT you’re doing otherwise you’ll fail in the end. Many ‘top tips’ don’t recognise this.
So in my years as a nutritionist, what do I think are the 10 ten tips? As I say it’s about actions, behaviours and habits.
1. Figure out why you’ve been slacking on the health and fitness front.
2. Write down goals and a defined plan and tell people about them. Read more..
A weeks worth of nutrition news collected and collated for your delectation…
You have it easy.
I’m a nutritionist.
I sit in front of people answering random questions on all facets of diet, nutrition and health. What’s more I’m a Registered Nutritionist, so I can’t just make shit up when answering these questions.
It’s interesting, it’s fun, I love it. However in order to do my job I have to keep up with all the developments in the field, both important and unimportant, that”s no small job. I paddle furiously just to keep my head above the sea of new nutrition information produced each week. Here’s a small selection of nutrition news stories from the last 7 days!
Western diets turning on fat genes.
Protein can aid recovery, better body shape and support muscle mass but how much do you eat?
If you’re worried about strength, athletic performance and body shape you have probably thought about your protein intake at some point. There’s a lot of info out there and a lot of opinion – most of it revolving around the issue of muscle mass. So how much protein do you need?
When you ask this question you’re really asking
- How much should you eat? And,
- How much protein can you eat in a sitting?
Reasons to eat more protein: It’s more than just about your muscles you know!
“Question: I’ve read that you don’t need any more than 20g of quality protein in a sitting to get maximum stimulation of muscle protein synthesis, so I shouldn’t bother with any more, no?”
When you eat quality protein the concentrations of amino acids in the blood rise. This rise, if big enough can stimulate the body to lay down more protein in the form of muscle tissue. We like this. A lot. However, recently studies have shown that protein synthesis plateaus out at about 20-25g of protein in a sitting. With many nutrition protocols and professionals advising you to eat maybe double or more per sitting, why would you consider eating any more? Read more..
Increasing quality and duration for better health and recovery.
...like a baby
Whilst it’s hard to put a finger on the actualities of sleep, everyone knows when they haven’t had enough. So what you do you do to increase quality and duration aiding both mental and physical processes?
When sleeping, the body goes through processes that help you deal with stress, both physical and mental. Information is processed, a hormonal milieu is produced – including growth hormone and testosterone.
Sleep has been shown to have an effect upon short term markers of health like ability to mentally focus, coordination, reaction times, as well as longer term effects such as body composition, glucose metabolism and of course the ultimate – life expectancy itself.
What s sleep and how does it work?
Sleep is akin to a reboot and defrag that you might use on your laptop. It is partway between clear out & indexing, mixed with a physical overhaul. The brains ‘programming’ takes it thought a series of cycles whilst sleeping, indeed it has been suggested that it is not duration that counts, but rather the number of cycles you go through. Read more..