Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stop thinking "Weight Loss Diet", start thinking "Sports Nutrition"

I wrote this up and posted it elsewhere the other day, but then I realised it was more suited to this blog with more of my better pieces of writing, where people will hopefully be able to find it.

For anyone out there who is in the habit going to the gym, the track, whereever else to train or exercise for any or all of the following reasons:
  • to lose weight
  • to be healthy and active
  • to change your body condition
  • to improve performance and perhaps to compete in sport
You had better be thinking in terms of SPORTS NUTRITION more so than “being on a diet”. If you’re thinking something like “oh that’s for after i’ve lost the fat” or “that’s for people who are better at sport than I am” you’re in for a frustrating and unpleasant time.

If you’re participating in training & exercise to produce any result, you need the appropriate nutrition plan to enable said result. “Dieting” aint gonna do it.

Here’s what the evidence suggests on appropriate sports nutrition.
  • get enough total cals.
  • get enough protein.
  • get enough dietary fats.
  • your five + serves of fruit and vegetables will go some of the way towards meeting your carbohydrate requirements.
  • you are likely to need a lot more than you’ll get from fruit and veg though, and it doesn’t really matter where you get the rest from.
  • get enough fiber.
  • meal timing and frequency doesn’t seem to make much difference so go with what suits you.
  • "clean" foods verses "other" foods doesn’t make any difference so go with what suits you.
  • anything else i’ve forgotten or omitted? (probably) doesn’t make any difference either so go with what suits you.
it’s weird how “sports nutrition” is actually easier than a “weight loss diet”, right?

Weight loss diets seem have so many rules, and if you don't get everything just right, it all comes crashing down like a house of cards. Only these foods, never those ones. Eat only at these times and never after this time... those aren't even the craziest of the ideas out there, not by a long shot.

In sports nutrition though, the move increasingly is towards more flexible approaches based on providing adequate resources, from whatever sources and on whatever schedule suits the individual. All of that other stuff is really of no consequence.