So, you’re motivated to make some changes and you’re willing to do anything you possibly can to achieve these goals. I would love nothing more! But, anytime you start a journey to make a lifestyle change, it can be tough. You can expect some bumps along the way which is why it’s important to set real expectations. For the long run.
Hey, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect… and no one expects us to be. Because they’re not perfect either.
Set Real Expectations in the Face of Challenges
Sustainable change is all about learning how to set real expectations in the face of life’s challenges. If there’s one thing you can expect in life, it’s that things will always come up: parties, birthdays, anniversaries, life-altering events, stress, work, travel, sickness…COVID-19. Challenges will always be there whether we like it or not.
Don’t run from challenges. Anticipate them.
Challenges are part of life and unique opportunities for learning more about ourselves.
Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” when it comes to over-eating, for example, the groundwork is laid several hours, days, months…years, in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset and automatic thinking. Your actions in the face of a challenge are simply the last link in a long chain of decisions.
The goal of today is all about recognizing your actions in the face of a challenge:
What is the root cause of those actions?
How can you learn from those events?
… and most importantly, How can you move forward?
According to James P. Leahy, author of Bridging the Expectation Gap: The Key to Happiness, unrealistic expectations create an expectation gap which leads to unhappiness and feelings of failure.
If you’re in this for instant gratification, don’t expect your changes to last. On the other hand, if you’re in this to embrace life-long, healthy habits that you can learn from, you can expect some amazing things to happen now, next month and even more the following year at your annual physical. That’s why if you make a mistake, it’s important to be nice to yourself.
Don’t let one mistake derail an entire day or a whole week.
Set Yourself Up For Success with Real Expectations
Expectations have an enormous effect on our outcome, energy, drive.
In fact, multiple studies show that the way we manage our expectations can heavily influence our ability to experience happiness in life, work and even health outcomes.
When life gets crazy and you end up making a mistake, the one thing that you can control is how you RESPOND in that moment. Remember, you are in charge of your own actions, choices and reactions, regardless of any circumstance.
Letting emotions control you is the easy way out. It’s easier to do (or say) things in the heat of the moment… that you may regret down the line.
But, it takes internal strength to pause, breathe, and make a sound decision by staying calm under pressure. And that starts with setting realistic expectations for yourself in the face of a challenge.
“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl
Rather than focusing on perfection, anticipate challenges to occur and then pour all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best every day with the hand you are dealt.
Common Mistakes and Their Fixes
Here are a few common mistakes many people struggle with and their common “fix.”
You deter from your normal way of eating and indulge in something outside of the norm, feel guilty and then proceed to eat everything in sight.
Remind yourself that slipping up a little is not the same as slipping up a lot. Own up to your choices and move forward.
Eating portion sizes like a 5 year old during the day and then binging at night.
Of course you feel ravenous.
Of course you feel hangry.
Of course you feel out of control.
Your body is trying to do everything it can to signal to you that it needs to fuel itself. Instead, by eating balanced meals full of animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds throughout the day– you will reap the benefits of feeling satiated, full of energy, sleeping sound & through the night, and saying ‘goodbye’ to feeling ravenous late at night.
Waiting until 9pm to realize you still have 1,000 mL of water to drink.
Plan. Ahead. Do the math based on how much water you need and spread it out throughout your day. Rubber bands on water bottles, water app, giant jug…whatever set up works best for you, embrace it and just be ok with the fact that you’re going to probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you were before. Just don’t let it interrupt your sleep by waiting until night to chug a liter.
Set Real World Expectations
For the next few weeks, focus on making deliberate choices that reflect reality.
There is so much outside of our control.
Focus on what you can actually control and let go of the things you can’t. Set real expectations for yourself, expect challenges to be there and use them to grow stronger.
Ask yourself these two questions:
What’s one thing that I can expect to get in the way of achieving my goals?
And what can I do today to help me keep going when I face that specific obstacle?
To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether it’s a normal flu season or we’re facing the COVID-19 pandemic, our immune system is constantly being exposed to harmful bacteria, new pathogens, and carcinogens from every direction. Protect yourself by learning how to boost your immune system.
A strong immune system is the first defense against colds, the flu, and other virals and bacterial germs. Since prevention is better than a cure, it pays to work on giving the immune system all the help it can get.
Especially this time.
So, let’s dive into immune health and how to boost your immune system so you can not only stay healthy, but also keep working towards your goals!
WHAT IS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?
Immune means to be protected. So, a system in the body that helps fight off sickness is called the immune system (protective system).
Our immune system is essential for our survival and is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.
The immune system is spread throughout the body and involves many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues. When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. This network of cells, organs, and tissues is always on the lookout for invaders, and when an outside invader is spotted, a complex attack is mounted.Without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. It is our immune system that keeps us healthy as we interact with the world and germs around us.
But when we have an under or overactive immune system, we are at a greater risk of developing infections, getting sick, and other health conditions.
Kids and aging adults are two main groups of people that need to be even more mindful of boosting their immune system as they are more likely to get sick, but right now it should be a focus for all of us.
One thing is constant for all groups of people, no one likes to get sick and that’s why we got you covered. These 9 tips can help you boost your immune system on a daily level and improve your health.
9 Tips to Boost Your Immune System
1) MAINTAIN A HEALTHY NUTRITION PLAN – CONSISTENTLY
Eating Clean – To maintain a healthy immune system, it needs plenty of micronutrients and essential nutrients to operate effectively.
Therefore, loading up on vitamin and mineral-rich foods is one of the best things you can do for your immune system!
Fruits, vegetables and other plants contain naturally-occurring substances known as phytochemicals and flavonoids. They are what give fruits and vegetables their color and flavor. Phytochemicals are essential to your immune health and protect your body from damage.
But just eating fruits and veggies won’t be enough. You can’t forget about protein because it is a building block for a healthy body and immune system.
You also need to make sure you are simply eating enough to prevent malnutrition. Malnutrition results when the body does not receive enough calories and/or nutrients to promote good health and sustain healthy functioning of your body’s systems.
And let’s face it, many people cut calories or try to “diet” to prevent weight gain because they know they will be less active than normal and they want to look good for summer. While you can certainly keep working to lose weight right now, you just don’t want to drastically reduce calories and food.
2) IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR SLEEP
Yes, getting more sleep helps… but what really matters is getting good, deep sleep.
By getting into deep REM sleep you allow your body to shut down, de-stress, and produce the proper hormones it needs. If your stress level, cortisol, is elevated for prolonged periods of time, it will suppress your immune function.
Refrain from drinking caffeine and pre-workouts too late into the evening. You can use a supplement like melatonin and magnesium, or other natural ingredients to help your mind and body unwind from the stressful day. Even taking a relaxing shower or bath is another option!
3) AVOID TOBACCO
Pretty straight forward. Smoking undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.
Cut out smoking and you will instantly increase your immune health.
4) DRINK LESS ALCOHOL
Excessive consumption of alcohol impairs the immune system and increases your chances of getting sick.
I get it, right now a good drink sounds good… but sitting at home drinking because you’re bored, stressed, (or just because) won’t help your immune system.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t drink at all, or need to cut out all alcohol, but we are saying that the more you drink, the harder it is on your immune system.
5) IMPROVE YOUR GUT HEALTH
Having a healthy gut, with the right balance of healthy bacteria, and a healthy digestive tract is the most crucial aspect to staying healthy.
A little fun fact that many people don’t know is that the majority of your immune system lives in your gut. Your gut wall houses 70- 80% of the cells that make up your immune system.
Therefore, to increase your immune health, as well as detoxify and nourish your body … your gut must be healthy. Getting your gut bacteria healthy is one of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system and stay healthy.
Consuming enough vegetables on a daily basis is also extremely important to keep your immune system working at its best. Eating a variety of vegetables gives your body the phytonutrients and antioxidants that help fight off free-radicals, and give your immune system an extra boost!
When your digestive tract is operating effectively with the proper balance of good bacteria, your immune system works at its best, and you will be able to better utilize the vitamins and minerals from your food and supplements.
6) INCREASE YOUR VITAMIN C
Vitamin C deficiencies are a lot more common than you would think. One major reason is that much of the Vitamin C you get from the foods you eat is not absorbed by the body.
Another reason is because Vitamin C is one of the first vitamins to be depleted in drinkers, smokers, athletes partaking in long, strenuous events, and overweight individuals.
The consequences of being low in Vitamin C are known and documented to bring about a host of unfavorable consequences, including a suppressed immune system, and increased vulnerability to infection.
By addressing this nutritional deficiency, you can boost your immune system.
7) BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Activity improves your immune system and your body’s ability to respond to attacks. At a baseline, you want to shoot for at least 30 minutes of activity a day to reap the benefits for your immune health.
This activity can be whatever you enjoy.
Just make sure that you have at least a moderate level of intensity. Slowly dragging along on the treadmill, putting forth little to no effort does work the same way.
8) SOAK UP SUNSHINE
This time of year it can be harder and harder to soak up the beneficial sun rays! Especially if we are going to have to spend more time at home and indoors.
Sunlight is one of the major contributors to the production of Vitamin D in our body.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy functioning of the immune system, as it helps the body to produce antibodies. Low levels of Vitamin D can also be a major reason for respiratory problems, and low energy levels.
Do you ever notice you seem to have less energy in the winter?
Because we are spending more time inside, and when we go outside we have less skin exposed to sunlight due to long sleeves and pants … Vitamin D production will go down.
Therefore, making a conscious effort to get outside and soak up some sunshine for 10-15 minutes a day, and proper supplementation of Vitamin D can help keep your immune system strong!
9) REDUCE STRESS
Control stress before it controls you – Living with high levels of stress can lower your immune system and make yourself sick. Stress of any kind—emotional, physical, or psychological—quickly damages the immune system.
Even negative emotions like worry and anger can lower your immune system.Therefore, one good way to boost your immune system, as well as to improve the general quality of your life, is to eliminate these negative thoughts and emotions.
FINAL ADVICE FOR INCREASING IMMUNE HEALTH
Right now, a lot of people are looking to boost their immune health … strengthen their immune system… and simply stay healthy. I know I am as it’s the responsible thing to do for yourself as well as for everyone else around you.
The good news is that we can work to strengthen your immune system in two ways.
One way to keep your immune system strong and healthy is to avoid behaviors that might weaken your immune system like smoking and excessive amounts of drinking.
The other way is to take daily actions to improve and support a healthy immune system. Actions such as fueling your body with essential nutrients every day, improving sleep quality, staying active, and managing stress better!
Simply put… start implementing these 9 easy ways to take care of your immune system and it will take care of you.
What are macros? Macros are short for macronutrients. Macronutrients include protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These are three nutrients your body needs to produce, and store, energy to survive, function… and exercise! Each one has a different role in our bodies.
But, with all the conflicting information on what you should and shouldn’t be eating, it can be difficult to navigate.
We’ve dished up an overview of macros and why you need to find a balance.
A Quick Overview of Macronutrients aka Macros
There are three essential macronutrients every human needs: carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Each macronutrient contains energy, measured in calories:
Carbohydrate: 4 calories per gram
Protein: 4 calories per gram
Fat: 9 calories per gram
Over the years, they’ve all fallen victim to fad diets. Fat, in particular, was shunned for many years. And now, it seems carb has become the new four-letter word. But, they are all critical components for exercise, recovery and to function in everyday life.
Carbs tend to cause a lot of controversy, confusing a lot of people. They just don’t know why they need them or the best places to find them.
Carbohydrates fuel the body. Our brain, muscles and body’s cells all need carbs to function. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar (glucose) in our body which is either used for immediate energy or stored for later use.
Research has shown that high-fat, very low-carb diets can elevate levels of cortisol which in turn can increase catabolism and harm protein synthesis…in other words, you’re kind of eating away at your muscles and not making more (which is obv. bad for performance).
Carbs can be simple or complex.
Simple carbs are broken down (digested) quickly by the body and typically spike (and then dump) blood sugar levels. This would be what you might refer to as the notorious sugar high children experience after eating candy.
Examples found naturally in foods include:
Simple carbs are commonly found in processed foods such as:
table sugar & candy
sauces & dressings
bread & baked goods
cereal & crackers
juice & soda
Complex carbs are slower to digest (helping us control blood sugar and provide a sustainable source of energy), higher in fiber (helping us maintain a healthy GI tract and control appetite), and have vitamins and minerals (making them a nutrient dense choice).
Some nutrient-dense choices of complex carbs include:
brown & wild rice
What About Fruit?
Keep in mind that simple carbs (in their natural state) aren’t always the bad guy. Fresh fruit, such as watermelon and berries, are considered simple carbs. The optimal time to enjoy these foods is pre-, intra- and post workout.
Protein seems to take the stage as the dietary superstary. If you are active, want to maintain muscle and lean up, protein is a must. Why? Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks for must stuff in our body. It is involved in repair and rebuilding of tissues, hormones and our immune system.
It’s so important to include in your diet that if we don’t get enough protein, our body will start to take it from our muscles. We need protein to survive and thrive.
You can get protein from sources such as:
protein powder (useful for those who want fast-digesting proteins or need a quick replenishment)
How Much Protein Do You Need?
For sedentary adults who are otherwise healthy, 0.8g of protein per kg of body mass is generally enough to cover basic daily requirements.
Protein needs increase if:
You are training frequently or have a physically demanding job
You are injured, sick or recovering from surgery
You are losing protein for any other reason (poor digestion, stress)
You are trying to lose weight and in a negative energy balance
Generally, most individuals do not need more than 2.2g of protein per kg of body mass per day.
Macro: Healthy Fat
Repeat after me: Fat from food does not equal body fat.
That horrible fat restriction provided only to be a disaster. So many products that ditched the fat, only replaced it with sugar and starch (hello nasty low-fat Snackwell cookies). All those “fat-free” salad dressing, baked good and margarine ironically didn’t get us any healthier. Or fitter. It only made things worse.
Fat is an essential macronutrient that protects our organs and allows hormones to function properly. It also helps to preserve our bones and aid in immune and nerve cell function. Because fat takes a long time to break down and transport, it enters the blood several hours after we’ve eaten it.
A little fat makes everything better: flavor, nutritional value, satiety.
Health fats include:
avocado and avocado oil
nuts & seeds
fish (like salmon)
Fat to Stay Away From
Trans fat, often disguised as partially hydrogenated oils, comes from industrial fat processing to give the product a longer shelf life. Good for commercialized food production. Bad for our bodies.
Finding Balance with Your Macros
It is important to include each macronutrient in your daily diet. Finding the exact balance can be tricky – everybody has unique needs. But a good rule of thumb is to use your hand as your guide.
Portion out a serving of protein equivalent to your palm (men use two palms).
Portion out a serving of carbs about the size of your cupped hand (men, use two hands).
Portion out a serving of fat the size of your thumb (men use two thumbs).
Portion out a serving of vegetables equivalent to your fist (men, use two fists). Dark leafy greens…go nuts!
It’s official! The 2020 RESET 6-week partner Lifestyle and Nutrition Challenge is over!
We are so proud of all the hard work everyone put in, and a huge shout-out to our top 3 teams who averaged the most points.
1st Place: Team Kat & Marion
2nd Place: Team Shawn & Brian
3rd Place: Team Kelli & Nicole
The gym is only 1 hour of your day… then you have 23 hours every day full of decisions about how to treat your body and your mind. How you fuel your body, how you recover, sleep, de-stress…it all so important to any goal you want to achieve, whether it be weight loss, muscle gain or overall health markers.⠀
No fad diets here. Our nutrition challenge focuses on education and building lasting habits you can sustain for life!
Thank you again to our sponsors for the amazing prizes!🤩 Vitargo, Pinot’s Palette, Freshii, Summa Love Surf, YOLKED and Wahoos!
Congratulations to everyone who stuck with the challenge – 6 weeks is no joke, but this is just the beginning, right?!
By the way, we simply love these testimonies by our RESET Nutrition Challenge Team Winners!
“6 weeks ago, I felt over my head with this whole eating thing. Many labels later, experimenting with some great (and not so great recipes), and a lot of time in the grocery store, I began to “get it”. As I continued to build on that along with the other pieces (of the challenge), I began to not have the midday crash and my running pace improved.
I’m excited to keep this challenge going in some ways and turn it more into a lifestyle. Thanks Foundation Nutrition Coaching for helping me push myself!” ~Kat
“One thing this challenge really taught me is that healthy HABITS are balanced, long-term, and not absolute. One bad day doesn’t need to turn into one bad week, one bad month, etc. (something I am notoriously guilty of). I loved that each morning was a clean slate. Bring on the next challenge: keeping these habits up without the daily leaderboard motivator!” ~Marion
Create Your Own Customized Group Nutrition Challenge!
Host a customized group nutrition challenge for your staff or with a group of friends/family! Foundation Nutrition offers a simple and effective way to arm your group with nutrition knowledge, build camaraderie, provide accountability and boost motivation at NO COST to you, as the organizer.
Who Can Benefit from a Customized Group Nutrition Challenge?
Do you have a group of friends or family who want to fit together?
Your success is dependent on the support team you have surrounding you. Whether you want to get fit for Spring Break or embark on a lifestyle change, there’s no better way than doing it with a group of friends by your side! Rally up your crew and customize your own nutrition challenge for a fun, cost-effective way to stay on track!
Are you looking for a new team building activity for your staff?
Keep employees healthy, motivated and productive with a customized nutrition challenge for your business.
How Does it Work?
This challenge is 100% online. No matter where your team is located, anyone…anywhere can participate.
As your customized group nutrition challenge guide, we’ll collaborate on the nutrition and lifestyle goals you wish to track (nutrition quality, food quantity, sleep, exercise, etc).
You get to choose the timeline (start date) and duration for your group nutrition challenge. See seasonal launch ideas below.
Come up with a fun, creative name for your challenge.
Participants will track their goals right on an app from their smartphone.
View real-time results through a fun leaderboard.
Throughout the challenge, we will help participants stay on track with motivational and educational content.
How much does a customized group nutrition challenge cost?
Since this service is completely customized, the overall cost will depend on a a couple of things such as:
Base rate to create your customized challenge
The number of individuals you have participating in the challenge.
Whether you wish to receive coaching guidance throughout the challenge.
Contact Coach Angela at email@example.com to find out how the base rate and participant rate for your challenge can be easily wrapped in to the individual’s registration fee, making it no cost to you, as the organizer.
If sleep were a credit card company, most of us would be in trouble. Regardless of the cause, sleep debt is the accumulated amount of sleep loss from insufficient sleep.
Can you repay “sleep debt?”
Whether it’s due to a new Netflix series you can’t stop binging on or extra hours at the office, sacrificing sleep Monday through Friday is something we all do, more often than we’d like to admit. Lose an hour every night and you’re faced with five hours of sleep debt once the weekend hits.
Think sleeping in late on a Saturday will help?
The problem with stocking up on sleep on the weekend is that it’s won’t necessarily erase your debt. Some experts say you can “repay” a sleep debt to some degree, but not in big chunks of time.
It is best to stay on a regular sleep schedule (yes, even on the weekends), as our circadian rhythm works best with regularity.
If you tend to sleep late on weekends, you may find that it becomes harder to fall asleep come Sunday night. This only starts your work week off on the wrong side of the bed.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests the best way to bounce back from your stockpile of sleep debt is to spread it out. Be persistent and hit the hay a little earlier every night for a week or more but keep your wake time the same. Daytime naps may also help you play catch-up without disrupting your flow.
But, for the 22 million of Americans who work a “nonstandard” schedule — evening or night shifts or rotating days off — it can be especially challenging to get sufficient sleep. The best thing shift workers can do is to start tracking sleep patterns to ensure you’re logging enough hours. Also, aim to optimize their sleep environment (ex: blackout shades and cool temperatures), control the caffeine intake, nap when needed and sleep disrupting reduce blue light from cell phones.
Check out our series on sleep for more information:
Hydration for young athletes (and adult athletes, too) is more important than you may realize. A drop in hydration can not only affect performance, but can also result in headaches and a decrease in their cognitive performance.
Is your young athlete staying hydrated?
Guess what? Thirst is not a reliable sign of proper hydration (for kids or adults).
Experts recommend that young athletes drink plenty of water before a workout and every 15 to 20 minutes during a workout to maintain proper hydration, especially in hot summer months.
Make sure your young athlete stays hydrated during games and practices!
Hydration Tips for Young Athletes
✔Good hydration should begin early in the day before they even set foot on the playing field.
✔Drink plenty of water during the day leading up to a game or practice, especially in the two to three hours before start time.
✔Continue to drink during the game or practice (about 1/2 cup every 15 minutes) and afterward to re-hydrate after sweat loss.
✔Water should be the young athlete’s “go-to” drink for exercise that’s under 60 minutes.
✔Training sessions over an hour may require a drink to replace electrolytes lost through heavy sweating, such as coconut water or Vitargo (just watch out for those sneaky sugar-filled “sports” drinks that claim to be healthy).
Do you know what it means to eat healthy? You’ve probably heard a few things here and there about “what to avoid” and “what to include” in your diet to improve the way your body looks and feels. But what about nutrition for performance?
5 Key Tips: Nutrition for Performance
No doubt you’ve heard these nutrition tips before. And maybe you’ve discounted them because the celebrity tips sound more “fun.” While it can be tempting to turn to a fun “quick fix” to get the results you want, if you want lasting change, your food choices matter.
And they take consistency, dedication.
Rebuild with Protein.
Protein is important to help us repair muscle tissue and recover properly. Include protein-dense foods in each meal AND snack. Choose foods like chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs, protein powder. Keep the portion approximately the size of your palm for each meal/snack (one palm for the ladies, two palms for the men).
Include plenty vegetables in every meal and snack. Yup, veggies for breakfast. And make them green.
Eat the Right Carbohydrates.
Don’t be scared of carbohydrates. Your body uses carbs for energy. Include nutrient dense carbohydrates like sweet potato, oatmeal, potatoes, brown rice, fruits. Keep the portion approximately the size of your palm for each meal/snack (one palm for the ladies, two palms for the men).
Don’t be Afraid of Fats.
Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. For too long, fat has been vilified in the media. But, the truth is that dietary fat is essential to maintaining a healthy balance. Include fats such as coconut oil, nuts, olives, olive oil, flax oil, fish oil. Keep portions approximately the size of your thumb for each meal/snack (one thumb for the ladies, two thumbs for the men).
Focus on Food Quality.
Food has the power to directly impact your energy, performance, recovery, hormones, focus, etc. Food quality matters. A big problem with the “IIFYM” (If It Fits Your Macros) trend is that people are highlighting donuts and sugar-free crap next to their 6-pack. The problem is these “macro-friendly” foods are extremely low quality. Choose high-quality nutrient-dense foods 95% of the time to maximize performance.
Nutrition for CrossFit Performance
Nutrition is the foundation of every healthy lifestyle. Even if you’re busting your butt at the box but not paying much attention to the type of food going on your plate, you won’t see optimal performance results.
The general CrossFit nutrition guidelines recommended by CrossFit HQ are based on whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins.
Avoiding processed foods and high-glycemic carbohydrates is key.
They emphasize the proper quantity being the level of intake where both performance and ideal body composition are supported.
Does Body Fat Impact Performance?
Alright, brace yourself. No doubt you’ve heard some backlash over a comment made by one of the top CrossFit coaches last year about placing a goal number on body fat percentage for athletes. No doubt, this caused some uproar in the community, leaving many criticizing the comment.
No one is immune to the influence of social media. The key it to recognize how these recommendations directly relate to you and your goals.
In case you missed it:
“Nutrition is the foundation of our sport, the building blocks for everything we do. And yet, you’d be surprised how many CrossFit athletes either try to out-train a bad diet or just don’t know how much nutrition matters.⠀⠀⠀
If you’re trying to be competitive at the highest levels of this sport, you have to be lean enough. Think about it this way: If you’re carrying around 5, 10 or 15 extra pounds, you are, for all intents and purposes, working out with a weight vest. You’re just not going to be as competitive.⠀⠀
If you’re a male competing in the Open division (ages 18-34), you need to be around 11 percent body fat or lower. Females should be around 16 percent or lower. If you’re not, the goal with your nutrition should not be to fuel your workouts—you gotta lose body fat. Dial in a whole-food diet, then focus on optimizing quantity with the goal of getting yourself to a competitive body composition.”
Unfortunately, much of the above message was missed due to the numbers in the last paragraph. While the last paragraph caused controversy, the first part of this message is true.
Nutrition IS the foundation of our sport.
You can’t outtrain a bad diet.
But, in regards to body fat levels and performance….it depends.
Placing a generic number on body composition without knowing the individual’s lifestyle and needs, fitness goals, where they are in their training cycle, their experience, health history, etc, will not apply to most of the people reading this post.
This is where customized nutrition coaching comes into play.
Foundation Nutrition Coaching: Nutrition for Performance
If you’re ready to maximize performance through nutrition, don’t turn to the latest celebrity trends or Instagram post suggestions, create habits that last forever.
As your Foundation Nutrition Coach, we understand the importance of eating a clean and balanced diet… and we are passionate to share that knowledge.
Whether your goal is to eat for performance, increase energy, gain muscle or lean up, we can help.
In your 3-month Nutritional Coaching program, you will:
Identify what your current nutritional state is and how to make changes appropriately.
Find out what a clean and balanced diet looks like for you to increase energy.
Learn how to monitor and control your nutritional intake directly for your goals.
Receive coaching on HOW to be successful with your nutrition choices that fit your lifestyle.
Receive all the support and encouragement you need to make positive, life-changing dietary changes.
As your Foundation Nutrition Coach, we will work with you to reach your goals and form new habits that last a LIFETIME! This is about real LONG TERM results. No cookie cutter programs or quick fixes here.
The 3-month nutrition coaching program is now available in monthly payments.
Let’s chat. Contact Coach Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more
Check out some of our most recent Foundation Nutrition posts:
Remember to eat a meal/snack in 1-2 hours before training/competition and then again 1-2 hours after training/competition. For training that lasts longer than an hour, it’s a good idea to sneak in some carbs (apple gogo squeeze are perfect to-go option or some coconut water will do the trick) to keep energy high.
Is sugar bad? Will sugar make me gain weight? When is it OK to eat sugar?
Many of us think of sugar as the white stuff people put in their coffee and the stuff that makes up most of those cereals in the breakfast “food” aisle. Sugars also occur naturally in many whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and even whole grains. You recognize these as “carbs.”
Along with sugar, the macronutrient carbohydrates also includes starch (potatoes or rice), fiber (husks of whole grains), etc. The more complex the molecule, the slower it digests. That’s why eating more fiber can help us feel fuller for longer. Sugars, on the other hand, are simple- they digest very quickly. In other words:
Sugars are a type of carbohydrate, but not all carbohydrates are sugars.
The above point is vital to understand, because it teaches us that not all carbs do the same things in (and for) our bodies.
Let’s take a fresh look at sugar now and address the question many are wondering: is sugar bad… in all forms?
Eating Sugar: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.
Is Sugar Bad? Well, It Can Be Ugly.
No doubt, this is a difficult topic to address because most of us are emotionally attached to where we stand on food, especially sugar.
Try talking about the topic at the dinner table and you’ll be just as welcome as if you were talking about politics. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Did you know that most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars every day. That’s way more than what the American Heart Association recommends, which is no more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) a day of sugar for most women and no more than 9 teaspoons (150 calories) a day for most men. Sugar impacts our brain function, it can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and can increase your risk of heart disease.
And sugar is hiding everywhere.
Added sugars fall under all kinds of different names on ingredient labels. As a side note, the higher up an ingredient is on an ingredient list, the more of it will be included in that product. Find an ingredient ending in “ose” on the top of the list, put the product down.
Stay with me for a moment while I go on a little rant.
Yes, I know, most Americans love their breakfast cereals (I grew up eating cereal – though my parents saved the extra sugary stuff for Saturdays). Cereal is bright & colorful, it’s sweet, it’s super convenient….and we mistakenly think it’s good for us and our kids.
And cereal brands spend millions of dollars every year marketing to our kids to make us think that. In fact, during kids TV shows the top category of advertised food is… you guessed it, cereal (even beating out candy, other snacks and fast food).
Did You Know:
On average, cereal’s that are marketed to children have more than 40% more sugars than “adult” cereals, and more than 2x the sugar of oatmeal.
According to EWG’s analysis, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks (which used to be called Sugar Smacks) leads the list of one of the highest-sugar cereals.
And, even with the update in food label regulations, since serving sizes on cereal labels are still unrealistically small, many adults and children will typically eat more than one “serving” in a single sitting. And according to FDA’s analysis of food consumption data, 97 percent of the most common cold cereals underestimate the amount of cereal people actually eat.
Bottom line: most cereals are just as sweet as cookies and should not be considered a part of healthy meal. But, if you just can’t give up cereal, use common sense, read the ingredient label, and as always, don’t believe any information printed on the front of the box.
Eating Sugar: The Good
OK, thanks for hanging in with me.
Now about the good.
Somewhere along the way, we started hating on all sources carbs. But (all) carbohydrates are not the enemy here.
We need carbohydrates for energy. They are energy-packed compounds that give us quick energy. This is why choosing the right source of food where those sugars come from is so important.
It should go without saying that you’ll find much more sugar in processed foods than in whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Along with starch and fiber, sugars live under the larger umbrella: carbohydrates. The more complex the molecule, the slower digestion takes. Simple sugars, like from fruit, digest quickly and can have a positive effect in the right amount at the right time (ie: right before/during exercise). Starch and fiber, which is a much more complex molecule, digests slowly and help you feel fuller, for longer.
When in doubt, opt for a diet mostly composed of lean meats, vegetables, essential fats, little starch, little fruit and plenty of water. Your body, your training and your health will thank you big time!
Why Does Sugar Taste Good?!
Sugar tastes good, partially because when it’s in its natural state, whole foods, like berries, are full of good stuff like vitamins, minerals, and energy. Our bodies are naturally attracted to them.
But everyone is different. Some of us pull the dessert plate closer after dinner while others can easily shrug off grandma’s pumpkin pie. Some of us simply respond to sugar more than others which could be from genetics or something we learned growing up. Which brings us to question number one.
Will Eating Sugar Make Me Gain Weight?
The over-consumption of foods that have added sugars (not generally those foods that have naturally occurring sugars) can contribute to health problems such as diabetes and obesity. Added sugars feed yeast and bad bacteria in our bodies which can damage our intestinal wall, increasing intestinal permeability, AKA: leaky gut. That can trigger chronic, low-grade inflammation and lead to the transfer of substances from our gut into our bloodstream. In turn, this can lead to obesity and other chronic, metabolic diseases.
Plus, if we eat more processed, sugary foods, we’re probably taking in more energy (calories) overall. Many of these foods are tasty, in fact they’re engineered to make it hard for you to stop eating. And since we digest and use their energy very quickly, these processed foods tend to overstimulate our brain’s reward/pleasure centers which can lead to weight gain and even obesity. Data from the USDA tracking food intake from a variety of angles show consistent trends. Since 1980, Americans have continued to eat about the same total amount of fat, yet ate more carbohydrates, especially refined ones with added sugars. Over this time, the obesity rates in the United States have also grown significantly.
The World Health Organization defines “obese” as having a Body Mass Index higher than 30. Of course, some fit and muscular athletes tend to have a higher BMI even though they still have a low percentage of body fat. So, let’s look at those number for a moment. Currently, the average body fat percentage for women is about 40%, for men: 28%. To compare, the “healthy” range for a woman should be around 22-33%, and for men, that range should be around 11-22%.
While we can’t blame one single thing alone, including sugar for all the health problems and obesity surge (sleep & stress factor in, too), multiple studies do show that an increased sugar consumption does correlate with increased obesity levels, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, leaky gut, diabetes and cancer.
How Much Sugar Should I (Can I) Eat?
Let’s get this straight. Sugar (alone) doesn’t provide nourishment. No vitamins, no minerals, no fiber, no antioxidants, phytonutrients or hydration.
Sugar from nutrient-dense, whole foods, like fruit on the other hand, contains sugar, but they provide numerous positive health benefits.
When it comes to how much sugar (from whole foods) you should eat, everyone is different and has unique energy needs. Some people do well cutting sugar out of their diet (almost) completely, while others thrive on a high-carb diet. Some athletes will count their sugar intake down to the gram, while others do well with the general guideline of “eating less-processed foods & more healthy foods” and be very successful.
As a general guideline, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020) recommends limiting sugar to 10% of your intake. So, for example, if you’re eating 2000 calories per day, that would be about 50 grams, or 200 calories from sugar.
Start reading food labels to get a clear look at how much sugar you’re actually eating. Remember, it tends to hide in packaged foods (a lot). So, better than that, eat more foods without a label (like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, meat and seafood, etc.).
When Should I Eat Sugar?
As far as when to eat sugar from nutrient-dense carbohydrates, it’s very specific to your body type, time of training, training intensity, training duration, stress levels, health/illness and a slew of other factors. Nutrient timing is very specific. When done right, it can positively affect your performance and recovery, but what works for your training partner (or a template) may not work for you. In fact, it could actually backfire.
In general, your pre-workout meals should be consumed about 1-2 hours before training. It should be carbohydrate-rich (about half complex and half simple, which can be consumed during the workout depending on workout length), moderate in protein and fiber and low in fat. Intra-nutrition and post nutrition are just as specific as pre-workout nutrition.
Much of your performance success is dependent on how well you eat. So, remember this, even if you’re eating the “right number of macros” or counting your sugar grams before and after your workout, it can make a negative impact on your goals if those macros are coming from processed foods.
Look in your kitchen cabinets. Your refrigerator. Your freezer. See if you can find a product that you once thought was a healthy choice but have since discovered an ingredient (added sugar, for example) hiding in plain sight. Take a picture of the front/back and share it on our Facebook page. Then start researching alternative options that are more nutrient-dense.
If you can’t find anything, score! Maybe talk about a product that you once thought was healthy and have since swapped out for something else.
More Questions About Nutrition?
If you eat quality, nutrient-dense foods and get your portion sizes right the majority of the time, your can still indulge in a small portion of those processed treats on occasion. It doesn’t always have to be “all or nothing.” Yes, structure your diet around nutrient-dense, colorful REAL foods, but also remember that a healthy life is not about macro math or obsessing over everything you put in on your plate. Read the label, make smart choices, but be nice to yourself…in all areas of life.
And, as always, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact Foundation Nutrition Coach, Angela Salveo, at email@example.com to chat more about your 3-month individualized plan to get the personalized structure you need.