It is amazing what you can do when you put focus on improving elements of you health and fitness. Even in someone who has been training as long as myself.
I had been training for a weightlifting competition for about 6 months and was making steady progress, however I started to struggle recovering from big sessions and I was feeling low on energy during my training days. So I decided to look at an element that I thought was already pretty good and that was my nutrition.
I admit it is a humbling experience when you pull apart what you are currently doing and realise that it isn’t close to where it should be. However I also believe that if you check your ego at the door and allow yourself to learn more about a topic you will quickly find improvements in areas that may not be as strong.
I bit the bullet and signed up for Renaissance Periodisation (RP) template, which is basically a dietitian written plan for all my macro (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) and micro nutrients (veges etc…). It gave me specific quantities of each to eat at certain timings throughout the day, based on my goal of putting on lean muscle to improve my lifting & also improve my recovery!
The first week was a little challenging, having to weigh and measure my food and change my meals to suit the certain types of foods that the plan required. However with the aid of a planning spreadsheet by the end of week one I had already gotten used to planning and prepping meals.
So over the last 3 months the KEY lessons I have learned are as follows!!:
1. Quantity of food
I was eating no where nearly enough to support the levels of activity I was doing and also to support my body in developing the composition that I wanted.
Even if you want to lose weight, it does sound counter intuitive to eat more to lose body fat, however it is an energetic process and if you aren’t giving your body the right quantities of food it won’t make the changes you desire!!
2. Right Styles of food
Not enough protein, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates. I now eat vegetables with pretty much every meal, a lot more protein and more carbs. I found breakfast especially I wasn’t getting enough protein into my nutrition. It was primarily carbs…bread, oats and other sources of carbs!
Not that there is anything wrong with carbs, just was having the wrong balance, too much of one and not enough of the other. So don’t black book certain types of food groups, especially carbohydrates, because they are equally as important to the process of improving your composition and fueling your body to do what you want it to do!
3. Timing of Nutrition
Before, I wouldn’t eat after working out…or during a weight session. Not ideal when it comes to maximising the bodies timing when it comes growing improved composition! The timing has certainly improved and I have found that my recovery post session has improved as a result of putting food back into my body at the right times.
Even those these three lessons seem super simple, they are the back bone to any good nutritional plan. I found that with these three things alone and a healthy dose of day in day out consistency I have improved my strength, and my composition, which is a win-win instead of just bulking on any old crap food!
Now I realise not every body is cut out for a style of diet like RP, I get that 🙂 Weighing and measuring takes a bit of getting used to! However, there are a myriad of options out there….meal plans, programs (I have seen both the Arbonne 30 day and Body by Finch in action and both seem to have a desired effect).
And I’d say for the majority it is as simple as changing small things like cutting out takeaway, or eating whole foods based on the 3 principles above that will give you good results for a period of time! Just remember to focus on the 3 lessons above and make it happen!!
To your nutritional successes!