Performance eating and drinking
Most people I know need a lot of energy and most are concerned they way they look, I was anyway and most people I talk to are. I’ve always worked on that if you eat healthily and well 6 days a week, then one day isn’t going to matter too much. On the other hand, if you eat badly 6 days a week, then one good day of eating good foods is not going to do that much good for you. What I’m saying is to eat well most of the time, and then enjoy yourself when you want something you really fancy now and again, that’s not going to do any harm. What I am saying though is the choices you make on what you eat and drink, are critical to get your body looking and feeling good.
Let’s lay the basics down and see what really matters for your body
There are 6 different types of essential nutrients you need in your diet-fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Each of these are needed to stay alive and healthy. The body gets energy from fats, carbohydrates and proteins, while vitamins, minerals, and water help to regulate energy processes in your body.
When you surf, run, jump, throw, ski, skip, lift etc, they all require energy supplied from food.
Most surfers seem to be always on the go and need a high energy level, so they need a high-performance diet. Fats provide the most energy but include 9 calories per gram, while carbohydrates and proteins each supply around 4 calories per gram. Alcohol, which the body doesn’t need, supplies around 7 calories per gram. This is why that high-fat diets are bad news for you and can seriously damage your health, leading often to weight problems and a variety of diseases in later life. For example, if you have 10g of fat, then that equals 90 calories, 10g or carbs or protein equals 40 calories-massive difference?!!
Energy intake is vital if you workout/play sports or you need to lose some weight. Starving yourself and over-exercising can affect your health in a bad way, hit your performance hard and make you feel miserable, a bad idea all round and I see it more or less every day.
If you’re trying to lose weight, the best way is to lose it gradually, decreasing your calories intake from food slowly, so weight is lost slowly. Ever see those programmes about past slimmer’s of the year? Without exception, they all put the weight back on and more! This is why faddy diet’s don’t work so don’t fall for it and the advertising that goes with it!!
The fact’s are that most people exceed their energy requirements every day. That’s why around 60% of this country is considered overweight, overeating and not exercising enough are the main reasons. This programme tries to sort these problems out once and for all, and more importantly, get you all feeling good about yourselves every day and wanting to achieve something really big!
Fats are the most energy rich food source. Most people try to carry little fat but fat serves as the body’s main storage depot. It also protects and insulates your vital organs. You may have heard a lot about “fatty acids” recently? Fats are called “saturated” if they contain high amount of saturated fatty acids, foods high in saturated fat include hamburgers and steak, cheese, butter and whole milk. Mono un-saturated and polyunsaturated fats come from plants such as olives, peanuts, corn, soybeans and sunflowers. Food manufactures can also make “hydrogenated” fats to make them saturated, this will increase the texture of the food and increase the shelf-life of their products, these are BAD NEWS for your body!
Most people consume 30-40% of their total calories from fat, while the body only needs a fraction of this. The high fat diet increases the chances of heart disease and some types of cancer so is bad news all round. Most nutritionists recommend that fat intake be less than 30% of total calories consumed.
As well as restricting the amount of saturated fat in your diet, it’s important to choose better sources instead, olive oil is high in good essential fatty acids, and most kinds of fish (mackerel, trout, salmon) are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Try to stick to foods where fats makes up 30% or less of the total calories so get used to reading food labels. You can never avoid fatty food totally and sometimes it’s a good idea to have a bit of what you fancy. For instance, having a higher-fat meal in a restaurant is nice sometimes, try to balance it out though earlier/later in the day with a lower fat/sugar meal.
Carbohydrates -the high performance fuel
This is the most important energy source during your workouts/sports and also fuel your brain. Natural foods such as wholemeal/wholegrain breads, wholegrain cereals like Porridge, wholegrain pastas, kidney beans and potatoes are great examples to power you through the day.
Sweet tasting foods such as sugar and honey are examples of simple carbohydrates, while high fibre foods such as fruits, some vegetables, and grains as mentioned, are complex carbohydrates. A diet high in fibre is essential to gastrointestinal health and prevention of colon cancer. Complex carbohydrates should the main emphasis of your diet with food like sugar and honey kept to a minimum.
The bottom line is for you to supply your body with a continuous supply of carbohydrates throughout the day, starting with a good breakfast to replenish energy stories after the long night without any fuel intake.
Proteins are the most important structural material, making much of muscle, bone, enzymes, some hormones, and cell membranes. Active young adults need plenty of protein-about 1.5g per kg body weight-because they must supply the demands for growth and the protein requirements for exercise (to repair muscle tissue that has been broken down after a workout).
Protein is also important for those involved in endurance exercise. Protein in your meals help maintain blood sugar for many hours and prevent hunger pangs. The building blocks of proteins are called amino acids, which break down slowly and act like time-released blood sugar tablets (lots of energy).
Proteins give your muscles firmness and shape and good examples include chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef and eggs. Protein is fantastic for making you feel full and stops you from binge eating. Protein can make your bones stronger too, milk being a great food for this and provides Vitamin D for your body. If you don’t get enough Vitamin D, your bones get weaker especially if you’ve got a weakness for soft drinks. So to be stronger bones, try milk, yoghurts, cottage cheese and lower fat cheeses.
Vitamins and minerals
A balanced diet should provide most of your vitamin and mineral needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Vitamins work with enzymes to drive the body’s metabolism and aid in the protection and production of red blood cells. While vitamins are not produced by the body, they are only needed in very small amounts. Vitamin C is considered safe as long as it’s not consumed in mega-doses like some athletes do, and if your diet is not so good as it could be. Vitamin C and E may also protect the body from destructive chemicals like free radicals which cause ageing, degenerative diseases, and breakdown of the immune system (which means you‘re wide open to illnesses). Free radicals can be thought of as rust that attacks cells. Antioxidants (which we hear a lot about in the media) fight free radicals and help prevent ageing and diseases such as hardening of the arteries. Vitamins C and E act as anti-oxidants that help eliminate free radicals and protect your body from their destructive effects. Most fresh fruit and vegetables would be great foods packed full of vitamins and minerals.
Water makes up 60% of the body and makes your skin look fantastic. It helps to keep you feeling full and keeps your body temperature constant. Even a 2% drop in body water will affect your exercise performance-especially in children and young adults.
As well as plain water, water is found in nearly all foods, especially fruits, vegetables and liquids. While your body can make water as part of it’s metabolism, 80-90% of daily water comes from your diet. You lose water every day in your urine and sweat for example.
Water and salt affects your body water. Dehydration upsets the balance and disrupts communication between different parts of the body and results in poor coordination and muscle stiffness which you may have suffered from in the past. You also lose salt from your body when you sweat, this can cause muscle cramps because dehydration speeds muscle fatigue, the leading cause of cramps.
You should try to replace water losses before, during and immediately after exercise. If you don’t have enough water (8 glasses minimum), your body has to work harder all day long and that why many people feel exhausted during the day for no reason.
Drink plenty of water, I can’t overstress it!!
Some other reasons why most people are overweight and/or don’t perform at their best in food terms
We don’t know what we’re eating!
The first thing I do to new clients is get them to keep food diary for 7 days. It’s always a shock to the person keeping the diary because they then realise how much they’ve eaten, or sometimes how badly they‘ve eaten. It’s then easy for me to point out where they’ve gone wrong, why you’ve eaten certain foods and what we can do to put it right. You may be surprised at yours when you fill it in!
You go to any fast-food restaurant and the portion sizes are getting out of control, add to that all the fat and sugar in the meal and you have a recipe for disaster! If you go often enough, you begin to accept that this is the normal size of a meal and make this the norm at home. Extra calories means extra weight full stop!
When you’re thinking of portions sizes, try imagining your clenched fist as a guide. For example, a piece of chicken/turkey/lean beef would the size of your fist, so would carbohydrates such as jacket potato, rice or pasta and fill the rest of your plate up with veggies!
Most people go out the weekend and are likely to bump into a fast food place, fact of life that there‘s tons of them in Llanelli and Swansea! The good news is that as long as you have eaten well most of the week, then one burger is not going to kill you or suddenly put a stone on you! It’s the eating over the whole week that matters. Most fast food places do offer healthier options now though, depending on where you are you can choose from wraps, jacket potatoes with various fillings, lower fat desserts, lower fat burgers and I’m going to be boring again but they do offer fruit from time to time and remains the best choice (plus it won‘t give you a bad stomach and make you feel like sleeping all day afterwards!!).
So after all that, how to I know how to put a meal together that’s good for me?!!!
I know you’ve hear it a million times but it’s going to be a million and one! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!!! Look at it this day, if you’ve been to bed for 8 hours and don’t have food, your body won’t start burning calories at a fast rate, your body still thinks it’s asleep and is still in “yawn” mode, you’re going to feel like rubbish all morning and your blood sugar levels will be on the floor, 10.30am break time and your first port of call is a bar of chocolate from the shop and I don’t blame you! I’d be the same too if I was starving but if you manage to make around 1 minute’s of effort and eat breakfast, you’ll feel full straight away, make your body burn calories INSTANTLY and burn fat straight away too. Try and get a glass of water down you too, all the bad stuff in your body that’s build up overnight will then be instantly flushed out-simple. Plus if you want to really clear skin and no spots, a good supply of water is vital! How do I know? Of course I’ve studied it anyway but I happen to train one of the best beauty therapists in the business, and she says good old fashioned water is ten time as good as all the creams you see in the shops!!
Ideas for a big start to the day
A bowl of porridge with a piece of fruit
A boiled egg with wholemeal toast, and a piece of fruit
A boiled egg with a wholemeal bagel and piece of fruit
Poached eggs on toast with no butter
Wholemeal toast with flavoured cottage cheese for energy and taste
Egg white omelette with peppers and mushrooms
A wholemeal muffin with some cottage cheese
Fruit salad with natural and low fat yoghurt
A wholemeal bagel with some cottage cheese
Wholemeal toast with natural peanut butter and piece of fruit
A bowl of Weetabix
Muesli with no added sugar or salt
A bowl of Shredded wheat
An omelette with 2 eggs and mushrooms and tomatoes, lose the yolk on one of the eggs, plus some wholemeal toast if you can
Try having a glass of semi-skimmed or skimmed milk with each meal
Breakfast burrito-fill a small whole-wheat tortillo with 3 scrambled egg whites. Add one tablespoon of salsa, half a tablespoon of low fat cheese, and one tablespoon of low fat sour cream. Roll and serve with a big glass of water
Porridge with skimmed milk with sultanas as a sweetener
Water when you rise
Having some water when you first get up may seem like the last thing on your mind but it’s hugely important to start your day off right. When you get up and have your first pee, you may see it’s darker in colour than normal because your body has lost water overnight. Your body desperately needs water as soon as you get up and will clean your system up straight away. Using the colour of your urine as a sign of your water needs is a good method. Keeping it clear is the way to go!
I always encourage everyone I train to eat every 3 hours, this speeds your metabolism up (the rate your body burns calories) and let’s your body hold onto precious muscle. Why is muscle important? One pound of muscle burns more than 35 calories a day, one pound of body fat burns 2 calories!!! The more lean you are, carrying a healthy degree of muscle, the more your body burns body fat at rest. You don’t lose the fat when you train, you lose it the other 23 hours a day when you’re not exercising and that’s the truth. Working out and eating every 3 hours (small amounts) is the key to being strong and burning fat. Do things the easy and you’ll be in great shape!
Snacks need to come in to keep up your energy, and to avoid hunger pangs, so take time out both mid-morning and mid-afternoon to consume some of the following;
Fresh fruit of all kinds-apples, pears, bananas, berries, kiwi fruit, plums, grapes etc
Dried fruit can also be good and is a sweet alternative but keep them in moderation-sultanas, raisins, figs and apricots are all nice choices
Low-fat yoghurts but make sure they’re not full of sugar
Nuts-as long as you’re not allergic of course!
Almonds, brazil nuts all contain essential fats that are great for the body. Keep them to a small handful and you won’t consume too many calories at one time.
Remember your metabolism slows down if you stop putting good fuel like this in your body. It may even hold onto fat just in case it needs some energy later, missing meals is a common mistake so don’t make it yours. You’re out to perform at your best and feel the best you ever have so let’s nail this thing once and for all!
If you’ve followed the plan, you need to use the same principles for lunch. Plenty of energy from carbohydrates, a fist sized amount of protein and a small amount of fat. From now on, try and think of lunch as just another meal, not something to last you until later on in the evening. Some lunch choices could be met on the school menu and try and look at the ones that obviously don’t include the processed junk that’s going to ruin your energy levels and health in the future maybe. These choices are something to think of, you may not be able to have them every day but they may give you some ideas on good food at home or at school.
Jacket potato with a tin of tuna/salmon/mackerel/sardines and one small teaspoon of low-fat mayo plus any veggies or salad you can
Jacket potato with some plain cottage cheese or flavoured cottage cheese (you can get pineapple, onion and chives, tuna and sweet corn etc) with veggies if you can
Lemon chicken and potato-smother a grilled chicken breast with freshly squeezed lemon, microwave a plain potato and serve with fresh carrots
Fast food choice-have a grilled chicken salad with some reduced-fat dressing plus a serving of low fat ice cream they may have in the restaurant
Brown rice salad with beans and asparagus
Couscous salad with chicken
Chicken or beef cawl
Fast food-a slice of vegeterian pizza, a small salad with reduced-fat dressing and a cup of semi-skimmed milk
Grab some pasta, a cup of carrots, 1 medium tomato, half a cup of cucumber, a can of tuna and an apple afterwards. You can substitute the tuna for chicken, turkey, lean beef, any fish, just mix it up a bit!
If you’re having sandwiches, try your best to use wholemeal or whole-wheat bread, try cutting the spread to a minimum if you can, and use some protein fillings again such as any white meat, any fish, any cottage cheese or lean beef.
A lean beef sandwich if you fancy it from time to time-a couple of slices of lean roast beef on whole-grain bread, not too much mustard or no mustard even better but up to you!) and some grapes for afters
You’re having an awesome day if you’ve done well this far, make sure you get over this bump in the road and you’ll be flying! Keep it to the snacks I suggested earlier, any fruit, nuts, dried fruit etc which all rise the sugar back up much more slowly than a Snickers bar would! Your body responds to constant and steady blood sugar levels and eating this way is going to hit it perfectly!
You’ve done it!!!!!!!! If you’ve got to the evening and followed the plan, congratulations and awesome effort! You shouldn’t be as hungry as you normally are. You are less likely now to make poor choices in the evening, and if you’ve taken some of what I said in, you’re going to have much more control of what you eat than you used to! Using chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish as protein choices is a great way to start, a jacket or sweet potato, rice, or pasta (remember the fist sized-serving would be perfect), and some vegetables to fill up the rest of the plate.
Other choices could be spaghetti with whole-grain pasta and meatballs, have some salad on the side with reduced-fat dressing. A healthier fast food meal could be a reduced fat Caesar salad add to some grilled chicken, have some potatoes with it but halve your normal quantity because they’re usually been fried or something. You could have a lightly breaded fillet of fish with a jacket or sweet potato with some kidney or green beans, and some yoghurt and berries for dessert. You could also try some steak, a jacket or sweet potato or some rice, with some reduced fat dressing, and some semi-skimmed milk as a drink.
The bottom line is that you’re going to ALWAYS feel sluggish and lacking in energy, with the occasional bad stomach if you eat processed junk food, like crisps, chocolate, fried foods, chips, fried bacon and eggs etc. I know that EVERY person who had made the CHOICE to eat healthier and better all round, can no longer stand the junk food mentioned because they feel so GOOD without it. Don’t eat food because all your friends tell you to, eat good food because you want to look after your body and feel much better than you ever thought-you‘ve got your own mind and the right to make the right choices-up to you!