“I think it’s time I got my nutrition sorted”
These are the words as coach’s we hear on a weekly basis. But what does it mean to get your nutrition sorted? Is it a case of eating more protein and vegetables, is it a reduction in calories? What are your goals and how are you training at the moment?
Just saying “it’s time to get my nutrition sorted” is a brilliant thing, it shows the clients understanding to change and focus, however it’s an open-ended question that we are going to delve in to.
Firstly, let’s look at your goals, what is the purpose of this change? Are you wanting to improve performance in the gym, get lean for summer or get strong? All of these have different approaches from a nutrition stand point. As nutritionists we need to make clear that one size does not fit all, we need to make sure our clients not only understand the process but how the science works. For example, a client who has come to us and wants to get lean for summer could simply be put on a caloric deficit and asked to track food intake. On the other hand, if we had a client who wants to improve athletic performance, we could delve in to all sorts of sciences, nutrition timing, carb cycling, macro & micro intake as well as optimal body fat. Whatever your goals are, will strongly decide which direction you need to take and should be clearly defined when starting this journey as one goal may contrast another.
Secondly, we could then delve in to the clients training. Are you training once or twice a week or more? High intensity or low intensity or not training at all? Each of these will have different effects on the body and what the body needs. If we use the example of CrossFit training a lot of the workouts are performed at a high intensity with varied weights. So how would this effect the client looking to lose weight? To fuel this type of activity a client may need a higher carb intake than others, additionally there may be a focus on protein to ensure strength is kept. The opposite of this could be your regular gym bodybuilder, this individual will be doing low intensity cardio and resistance training, therefore this type of client would need a lower carb intake but a higher protein one to support their training.
Lastly, how is your current diet? Are you a weekend binger? Big on the snacks? Like the odd beer or two? We look at these because the simplest of changes can sometimes make the bigger differences. If you’re a weekend binger try having one day off and you will instantly see the difference. Like a snack? Maybe plan your meals better and ensure you are getting enough protein to fill you.
So, this has probably raised more questions than answers for yourself and that’s a good thing. When we look at making a nutrition change, we need to really ask ourselves the why. Why are we making this change & do we understand the process we need to follow? Next time your going to make a change write down your why, then from there track the sacrifices your going to have to make.
Do I want to get lean for summer? If yes, am I willing to sacrifice my performance in the gym? Am I willing to not have my weekend beers and takeaway? Working out and writing down your why will help when you're identifying the sacrifices and help keep yourself focus.
That being said the best nutrition change can just be the smallest, eating more good quality protein, lots of vegetables and less processed food.
TRUST THE PROCESS
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Damian Buck- nutritionist/ L1 CrossFit trainer/ L1 Weightlifting coach