For a long time I have firmly believed have your diet and nutrition plays an essential part in performance. This is something we’ve been teaching for a long time at in our martial arts classes.
One of the main reasons people struggle with when it comes nutrition is information, or more importantly the sheer volume of information available.
If you don’t believe me, just type “diet” into Amazon.co.uk. I did and it came up with 77,134 results.
The big problems with all this information are that everyone says something different, they can be incredibly complex, and a lot of theses diets are unsustainable.
For me for a diet to be successful it needs to meet a couple of simple criteria;
1) Simple – is it easy to follow?
2) Sustainable – can you do it indefinitely?
3) Science-based – is it based on sound scientific principles?
If a diet meets these simple criteria then there is no reason it can’t be successful.
So here are 5 Simple rules for a better body and high performance;
1) Eat Every Few (3-4) Hours
This doesn’t mean you need to eat full meals, some can be smaller snacks. That might seem like a lot but each meal will be smaller than normal.
Eating this way can also drastically reduce your body’s inclination to store the calories you eat as body fat.
2) Include Protein in Each Meal
Mostly this will come from animal foods such as; beef, chicken, fish, dairy, etc (Ideally theses should be from high quality sources)
Of course if you’re vegetarian or vegan your protein should come from plant based sources, such as; Lentils, beans, nuts, etc.
Protein consumption will help you speed up your metabolism, you feel full, and provide essential amino acids.
3) Include Vegetables in Each Meal
This can be a big change for people but physically this can be one of the most beneficial.
Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.
Higher levels for Vegetable consumption have been associated with lower incidence of; Cardio vascular disease, certain cancers, Strokes, Diabetes, and so much more.
4) Save Carb-heavy meals for after exercise
Plenty of research shows that the body is better able to process carbohydrates in the 3 hour period following a bout of intense exercise.
Ideally you should also be reducing your intake of sugar and starches like processed grains. These can play havoc with your blood chemistry.
Think about replacing your grains with greens.
5) Include a good balance of healthy fat in your diet
For a long time, fat was vilified in the media. However Fat is essential for a healthy diet.
There are 3 types of fat: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Eating all three kinds in a healthy balance can dramatically improve your health, and actually help you lose fat.
Your saturated fat will probably already be covered. Most foods containing protein also contain some saturated fat, and that’s okay. You can even toss in some butter or coconut oil for cooking.
Your monounsaturated fat should come from mixed nuts, olives, and olive oil.
Your polyunsaturated fat should from flax seed oil, fish oil, and mixed nuts.
Bonus Tip – Drink plenty of water. The benefits of staying well hydrated are endless; improved athletic performance, weight loss, helps digestion, and so many more.
Most experts advise you should drink around 1 litre of water per 20kg body weight. That might seem like a lot but it’s really not when you spread it out over an entire day.
That’s it, fairly simple right.
Eat every few hours, eat more protein and vegetables, eat carbohydrates mostly after intense exercise, include a good balance of dietary fat, and drink plenty of water. Simple.
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