With all the crazy diets, information, and opinions out there today, nutrition is oftentimes the least important thing for many people when it comes to eating. Society and the media today has people so caught up in counting calories, counting macros, restricting carbohydrates, eating eight meals a day every two hours, using stimulant-laden toxic supplements, and the list goes on. How about we actually just focus on what is most important – and that is fueling our body with the best nutrition every single day – making it taste amazing, genuinely enjoying it and not seeing it as a chore, and just simply being in tune with our bodies, not eating like some robot with a calculator.
Tracking calories and macros definitely have their place in achieving body composition, maybe to lose body fat, or in prep for a comp etc., but in terms of health and nutrition, we need to be thinking long-term, that is, what is a way of eating that feels natural and I can maintain the rest of my life, that is healthy, fun, diverse, and serves both my physique and health? This is why it is so important to respect our body, to respect our food, and to be intuitive and understand the nutrition in the food we are eating and how it impacts our bodies.
Now you may not want to eat a 100% vegetarian or vegan diet, however the first crucial step to take is to significantly increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, especially vegetables. If you are supercharging your body every day, multiple times a day, with vitamin and mineral rich vegetables, whether just chopped raw, or in a salad, or you juice them, you are giving your body such a massive advantage. Why? Because you are strengthening your immune system, strengthening and alleviating your digestive system, improving your cognition and mental capacity, replenishing bone, muscle, and connective tissue, and increasing your energy, thus ultimately aiding your ability to lift more weight, gain muscle, recover, and look and feel your best inside and out.
Internal health is crucial to your external health, so quality of food and a high vegetable intake is essential to this. If health is always your number one focus with what you put into your body, then healthy you shall be. And if you are at your healthiest, then no doubt the aesthetic and performance goals you have in mind will be achieved. With that being said, pre-workout you should be consuming more high quality fats and some protein, and post workout you should be consuming quality carbs and protein. The fats (such as natural peanut butter, nuts, avocado, coconut etc.) will give you greater instant energy and mental focus so you can lift more and with better overall performance during your workout (ask any power lifter what their pre-workout fat intake is like), and then the carbs (such as sweet potato, white potato, brown rice etc.) post workout help drive the protein into your muscles which are screaming for these nutrients after a big weightlifting session.
Raise the bar on your health with an increased micro-nutrient intake (fruits and vegetables), and master your pre- and post-workout macro-nutrient intake (fats, carbs, protein), and watch how your strength and size increase like never before, all the while you’re actually improving your internal long-term health.