The secret to improving your skill and winning matches starts with your daily routine. How consistently do you train. how focused are your efforts and how well do you recover between workouts? The truth is that everyone wants to train hard, but fail to recover. The foundation of proper recovery is rest/sleep and good nutrition. If your food is off, then every other aspect of your training will suffer. So we wanted to provide you with some of the basic nutrition principles that you can apply this week.
Below are some basic questions to get you thinking (conscious) about your eating habits.
- I wake up at ___and eat ______________. (include drinks)
- I stop on the way to school/work and get ________________.
- I always snack on ____________ in between meals.
- My favorite snack is _______________.
- I usually (pick one) bring my lunch to work / go out to lunch.
- If you dine out for lunch…I usually eat ____________ for lunch.
- I usually buy a _____________ to drink from the gas station, vending machine or quicky mart.
- I usually have __ cups of coffee per day
- I usually have __ alcoholic drinks per night.
- When go out on the weekends, I will have ___ glasses of wine/beers/other drinks.
- I eat ___ meals at restaurants every week.
- I cook ___ meals at my house each week.
- I ________ vegetables.
- I go grocery shopping every ___________.
- I plan my meals for the week every ____________.
- ___________ is my day to plan, prepare and cook meals.
- I could schedule time on __________ to shop, prepare and cook every week.
- (Yes or NO) I am conscious of the amount of food I eat. Yes or No
- I keep a food journal each day. Yes or No
- I take the time to learn and gather new healthy recipes and ideas. Yes or No
- Eating good, quality food is important to me. Yes or No
- I am willing to work on implementing new eating habits to help my family become healthier. Yes or No
The next step is to actually start making healthier choices, implementing them into your life and creating new habits that help you work toward your goals. Here’s 7 Tips to Help You Eat Better Foods
1. Prepare For The Week
We are all busy and the last thing we need to think about during a busy day, is what we need to eat. Reacting when you are hungry almost always leads to failure. We are busy, have no time and just pick up something quick and easy. This usually means low quality, fast food or something similar that is less than ideal. If you want to perform at your best, drop bodyfat and have more energy, then you have to prepare for the week. This includes grocery shopping, cooking a few meals, preparing snacks, organizing your meals, and making sure that you are prepared for the upcoming week. The biggest excuse I hear is that people don’t know how to cook or that they dont have time, but I call BS on that one. If you want to win fights, good nutrition is not an option, its a necessity. Grow up, make it a priority and get it done.
2. Surround Yourself With Good Food
Once you prepare for the week, it is essential to keep good food with you at all times. Get a cooler and pack it with water, meals, snacks, vitamins and other goodies that you are going to need throughout the day. This may take some getting used to, but once you develop this habit and apply it, you are going to notice some positive changes. Give yourself a chance to succeed and keep good food at your disposal all day.
3. Get The Bad Stuff Out of The House
We are all weak and if there is bad food in the house, YOU WILL EAT IT. Go through your pantry and get rid of all the BS. Chips, crackers, cookies, ice cream, candy, soda, packaged meals, frozen dinners and other processed crap needs to be thrown away. This stuff may keep you alive, but it is not food. If you want to perform at your best and beat the competition, then you must become more disciplined than your competition. Clean out the crap and eliminate the distraction and temptation.
4. Keep a Food Log
If I asked all of you if you eat well, almost all of you would reply, “I eat pretty good.” All of us are guilty of just eating whatever is available and thinking that we are doing ok, and for the most part we probably are. But the truth of the matter is that America, and the rest of the world, have some of the worst eating habits ever recorded. Obesity and disease is at an all time high and if you want to perform as an athlete, then you must get on top of your eating habits. The most effective way to track your eating habits is to write them down. Keeping a simple food log of what you eat and when, helps us become conscious of our true habits. Everyone that I have keeping logs is blown away by how it helps them stay on track and improve their eating habits. Keep it simple: what you eat and when for 2 weeks.
5. If God Made It , Eat It
These days, there is a new diet book coming out every week. Are carbs bad or good? Should I eat fat or not? Should I eat meat or go vegetarian? In all honesty, I can understand why so many people are confused on what to eat. So I try to keep things simple. Regardless of your religious beliefs, this is the most simple way to determine if you should eat certain foods. “If God made it, eat it.” The more we touch it, alter it, package it up and market it, RUN! Water, vegetables, herbs, roots, nuts, seeds, Organic meats, fruits, and other naturally occurring plants and animals are good for us. Sodas, candies, fast foods, and other tasty treats are destroying people’s health right before our eyes. While I understand that this may be a big change for most of you, I believe it is a necessary one, if you want to become elite.
6. Drink More Water
On the days that I drink enough water, I have less aches and pains, more energy and get more done. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen every day. Most of us wake up, drink caffeine all day, switch to sugar and finish with alcohol. This cycle leaves us dehydrated and our body struggling to perform daily tasks. My recommendation is to keep water with you at all times and sip on it throughout the day. Doing this will help increase your energy, speed recovery and increase your performance during training.
7. Give Yourself a Break
Just like training, we all need a break. I recommend having one or two cheat meals every week, depending on your goals and the time that you have before your fight. Having some extra carbs or some good old fashioned comfort food is good for the body and mind. Once a week, go enjoy yourself, but realize that it is a once in awhile thing. Go out with friends, have a bbq, go on a date, etc…Enjoy.
The majority of us have become spoiled and distracted by all of the edible treats, sugary snacks and convenient foods. If you want to perform at a high level, then you need to develop eating habits to match. Switching from processed foods to more natural foods can be a big change, but it is worth it. Hopefully the tips above will steer you in the right direction and help you develop better habits moving forward.
Once You’ve Got Good, Consistent Eating Habits, then We can Add a Little Fuel to the Fire
“Man, I feel old today”
“It takes me forever to warm up”
“If I take a week or two off from the gym, it takes me longer to get back into the swing of things…”
Anyone that spends any time in the gym probably hears this all the time!
A lot of times, this sluggish performance, lack of energy, weak immune system and other aches and pains are usually caused from our body’s inability to recover from training, stress and other things that happen along the way.
While we can’t avoid all of life’s stressors completely, improving our nutrition can help improve a lot of these common ailments.
The following supplements simply provide some basic, foundational things that our bodies need to function. Basic minerals, anitoxidants, plant compounds, proteins, enzymes and probiotics to rebuild our natural defenses, help us recover and keep us strong.
These are a great addition to a quality meal plan and may help your body function better, recover from workouts faster, sleep better, build your immune system and increase your energy throughout the day.
- Greens Powder – Let’s admit it, NONE of us are perfect. Most people eat too much crap and don’t get the basic nutritional stuff that we need. You can drink this by itself or add it to your post workout shake. This greens powder provides up to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables in just one serving.
- Omega 3 Fish Oils – Quality Fish Oil may be the most important supplement you can take for overall health and anti-aging. Studies have shown that fish oil may directly help: Fight heart attack and stroke, Fight Alzheimer’s and helps improve memory and IQ, Provide blood-thinning benefits, Improve mood and fights depression, Benefit joints and cartilage health – LESS PAIN, Improve blood pressure and cholesterol, Balance hormones – MORE ENERGY
- Quality Whey Protein – First things first…you cannot live on protein shakes. Second, most protein is poor quality, full of chemicals and other stuff that we do not need. That being said, we have noticed that drinking a good shake with protein and carbohydrates right after a workout helps speed recover and increase gains from our athletes’ workouts. I typically add coconut water to the powder, shake and drink.
- BCAAs – During our workouts, muscles are stressed and little micro-tears occur throughout the muscles used. Our bodies respond and try to repair the muscle fibers, building them up stronger for the next workout. By sipping on this before and during a workout, you are simply making the building blocks available at the precise time the body is looking to repair the tissues. We have noticed that sipping this before and during workouts reduces soreness and speeds recovery from tough workouts.
- Systemic Enzymes – Unlike digestive enzymes, systemic enzymes must be taken on an empty stomach. Systemic enzymes are then absorbed into the circulatory system, where they can be dispersed throughout the body. Systemic enzymes are capable of affecting more of the body than digestive enzymes. When our bodies are in a stressed state, enzyme production is low and fibrin may accumulate. Excess fibrin is associated with increased inflammation, scar tissue and thrombosis (a serious condition affecting blood flow). When fibrin accumulation is prevented, the risks of thrombosis, scar tissue and inflammation are decreased. Systemic enzymes are utilized due to the regulatory effects they have on inflammation. It is thought that inflammation may be an underlying cause that exacerbates symptoms such as: swelling, pain, redness and warmth. Although inflammation is a natural immune response, it may cause more damage when tissue is chronically inflamed. The role of systemic enzymes to promote a healthy inflammatory response helps to alleviate and prevent chronic inflammation.
More Helpful Resources for You
- Listen to our interview w/ mma nutrition expert, Eric Trilliiegi
- 6 Pack Bags/Coolers – If you want to be lean and strong, you have to keep food with you. 6 Pack Bags help you travel effortlessly with more than 3 meals, sports nutrition products and supplements.
- LunchBots – Forget the plastic. Start packing your meals in stainless steal.
- Grassland Meats – Founded by lifelong farmer John Wood, U.S. Wellness Meats grew out of John’s realization that there was a unique way of raising cattle for a growing niche of U.S. consumers who were beginning to understand the health benefits of CLA and omega-3s from free-range meat. Lab tests showed that the meat was high in all kinds of nutrients: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, CLA, and other nutrients that just don’t show up in grain-fed, feedlot cattle.
- Gourmet Nutrition Cookbook – a cookbook for people who love to eat great food, but hate that after-dinner guilt. For those who love to eat with style, but hate to look “indulgent.” For those who love to entertain, but want to do it right.
- The Renegade Diet – The Renegade Diet is a new kind of approach to dieting, based on research and millions of years of evolution. It goes against everything you think you know about nutrition and is, quite simply the most effective body-recomposition plan ever created.
- Free 5-Day Fat Loss Course for Women – This course will help you lose fat. In addition to the download-able resources, each lesson includes a video, about 5 minutes long, an MP3 audio version in case you want to load it in your iPod, and a transcript in case you’re watching it at work and don’t have the headphones handy.
- Free 5-Day Fat Loss Course for Men -Same as above, except it is customized for DUDES. Enjoy!