Your health and fitness results are about 90% governed by how you choose to eat. This is why I see people work out day in and day out, but rarely ever see results. Their nutrition sucks! ‘Dial in’ your nutrition and you can probably look and feel your best with as little as thirty minutes a day of exercise. Yes, sleep and stress management are huge factors in our overall health, but they tend to be a bit out of our control sometimes. Nutrition is the one thing that we have complete control over in our lives. So finally take control of your nutrition and your health and fitness will optimize once and for all!
I am not a doctor and do not misconstrue this as medical advice. This is simply the nutrition that currently works best for me and the majority of my most fit clients and hopefully you can get a few helpful ideas from this.
Speaking of doctors, a word on the gurus out there... I was once told to never listen to someone on nutrition unless they can speak to it in their underwear. I agree and pass this advice on to you.
Below are ten items to ‘dial in’ to finally find success with nutrition. I have answered the following questions for myself, to give you an example, but remember that we are all different, with different goals, and respond differently to most things. You may not be a 44-year-old, 180 lb., 6’1 trainer trying to be as strong and athletic as genetically possible. I am an omnivore, don’t have any types of allergies or sensitivities and kind of eat a little bit of everything, from seaweed to beef organs. I encourage you to do some experimentation and find what works best for you.
Ok – 10 things on nutrition. It’s not that complicated...
1. Have a freaking goal!
‘Every goal has a plan, and every plan has a goal.’ Think on this for a bit and really be passionate about it. My goal is to be strong, fast, lean, and athletic, - one arm pullups, a five- minute mile, playing lots of sports well and injury free, and I want to feel real good taking my shirt off at the beach. These are my current goals and I eat accordingly. Having a gut doesn’t help with any of this.
2. Balance your meals:
Don’t just grab a random handful of crap. You are not a child. Have a plan! Meals should be balanced out with the correct ratios of macronutrients. For optimal health and fitness, my macro balance is approximately, 1 gram of Protein per 1 gram of Carbohydrate per .5 gram of and Fat. This normally looks like a fist full of protein, a handful of carb, and a thumbs worth of fat. This ratio optimizes my energy levels. Optimal energy will make everything in your life better!
3. Time your meals:
Split up your meals based on convenience and enjoyment. Again, don’t just grab a random handful of crap whenever. Have a plan! Meals work best for me consumed every 3-4 hours with no snacking in between. This timing along with the balance of ratios should allow for optimal energy. I do like to have periods of low insulin so the body can oxidize bodyfat if needed, hence the no snacking between meals. All the diets are OK, intermiEent fasting, 16/8, OMAD, whatever works for you is great. But I feel my best with smaller meals evenly spaced out.
*For 4-6: KNOW YOUR MACROS!!!
I definitely don’t want you carrying around a scale, but yes, at some point you will need to track a two-week detailed food journal and check a few labels to know exactly what is going to dial you in.
My typical day looks about like this:
Daily calorie Base 2250, Protein 180 grams, Carbs 180 grams, fat 90 grams. I will explain below how these numbers can change in correlation with my activity levels. I mostly have four pretty evenly split meals throughout the day with dinner being a bit larger. Meals 1,2, and 3 are approximately 500 calories, 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of fat. Meal 4 is approximately 750 calories, 60 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of fat.
4. Consume your goal bodyweight in quality protein!
This is a constant and probably shouldn’t change. Every tissue in your body is made of protein and you need a lot of it to thrive. I weigh 180 lbs. which puts me around 180 grams of protein daily. I consume approximately 40 ish grams of protein four times per day (with the last meal being a bit more protein.) I do use essential amino acids when training intensely for over an hour. - I typically use 10 grams of essential amino acids per additional hour of exercise. Animal protein is superior, but you can get away with plant protein if you supplement correctly, like with the product below.
5. Consume half your bodyweight in quality fat.
Your cellular membranes are made of fats and quality fats are essential for you to thrive. Think pretty skin here. I consume about 90 grams of fat per day split up into four meals of 20 ish grams (with the last meal being a bit more fat.) I also eat a bit more fat when training intensely for over an hour in the form of a tbsp or two of Baruka nut butter or homemade chocolates – made with cacao powder, cacao butter, coconut butter, and honey. They are the shiz!
6. Consume your bodyweight in quality carbohydrates (unless your energy requirements change.)
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary energy source and if you want to really have good energy, quality carbohydrates should be consumed often. I consume about 180 grams of carbohydrates a day split up into four meals of 40 ish grams (with the last meal being a bit more carb.) Carbohydrates are also the only macronutrient that changes a lot along with my fitness output. My personal rule of thumb on carbohydrates is that I add in 100 grams of carbohydrates per additional hour of exercise a day split between the before and after training meal. I normally add extra carbohydrates in the form of fruit, granola, honey, ‘Sweet Potato Awesome’ chips, and ‘Alyssa’s Healthy Vegan Bites.’
7. Be consistent!
The trick here is to plan and love your meals! I absolutely love my meals and look forward to each of them. I actually love them so much, I normally don’t like to splurge anymore because then I cannot eat them, - unless it is sushi. And pack a freaking lunch if you live in Gulf Shores with no healthy options.
8. Rotate your dinners based on nutrient variety and awesomeness.
Literally pick your four favorite meals, make them as healthy as possible, and rotate them every few days. Sure, you can have a ‘convenience’ meal or two a week or go out, but stick with the plan. I always hear people say that this kind of eating must be boring. No, it just feels real freaking good to feel good. It’s hard to explain this to out of shape haters.
I do believe that we are all a bit dehydrated, especially in the south, which probably zaps our energy and creates premature wrinkles more than anything. At the very least, consume half your bodyweight in purified water daily. I believe the best water to have daily is Gerolsteiner. Not only do I believe Gerolsteiner is the cleanest water, but it also has the highest mineral content, especially magnesium. I no longer supplement with magnesium since consuming Gerolsteiner. This goes along with most of the foods I eat and why I don’t supplement much anymore.
10. Upgrade everything:
You are what you eat, and you are what you eat eats. Your cells are always replacing themselves with the nutrition they have on hand. So, you literally have a chance to build a better and younger body if you give your cells better food than you did let’s say for the last five years. So, upgrade everything! If you eat chicken wings, make them the best, most organic, free range, chicken wings possible. This goes for water, protein shakes, EVERYTHING! Here’s a hint, if you are consuming an energy drink that rhymes with Nelcius or a shake that rhymes with Hustle Kilk, upgrade them – unless you want a junk body…
Honorable Mention: Supplementation. I supplement much less frequently than I used to, mainly because my diet has improved so much. I use supplements when ‘out of system.’ If travelling, feeling run down, overtraining, etc., I have a host of supplements to help out. But my current nutrition fills in most of the gaps minus a few electrolytes. I believe that hydration is paramount, and always start my day with an electrolyte elixir of Quinton and molecular hydrogen and have a packet of LMNT with 32 oz of water per hour of exercise.
My typical day:
I really believe that the body needs about 100 different nutrients a day to thrive. It’s worth mentioning again that your cells are always replacing themselves with the nutrition you have on hand and can be optimal with a very clean version of these 100 different nutrients coming in daily. This is one of the main reasons I have designed my diet the way I have and have stopped intermittent fasting for the most part. Almost every time I eat, there are at least 20 different nutrients being consumed. Of course, I will still have a few boiled eggs and an apple in a pinch or a can of sardines and some blueberries if I don’t have wild salmon. But if you compare the nutrient variety and density of an egg omelet with veggies, garlic and herbs and sweet potato mash or wild salmon over spring mix, sprinkled with blueberries, avocado, and some roasted veggies, the latter more elaborate meals win every time.
I exercise mainly in the form of sports/hobbies two to three hours per day. Due to the energy costs of these activities my calories are as follows. Daily calories base 2250 (2500-3500 with activity), Protein 180 grams (200-250 with activity), carbs 180 grams (300-400 with activity), fat 90 grams (100-150 with activity.) I know that seems like a lot of numbers, but your calories must change with your activity. If you do an hour a day most of the time, figuring this out will be much easier.
Meal 1: 6am. Approximately 500 calories, 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and 20 grams of fat. I believe with my current goal that consuming 40 grams of protein within an hour of waking up is crucial. I have a large cup of bulletproof coffee (half decaf and half French roast) in a French press with 1 scoop of Bulletproof Collagen and a spot of Organic Valley Grassmilk Half and Half. If I am on the road, I take, the ‘Instant Latte’ versions of Four Sigmatic and Laird Superfood that has organic instant coffee mixed in with a creamer, collagen sleeves, and a ‘shaker thermos’ so I can stay ‘in system.’ I have a ‘Meal One’ oats pack next that soaks overnight in the fridge in a mason jar. Yes, I travel with the oats too. That is my breakfast seven days a week unless I feel the need to mix in a fast, which is about once a month.
- Bulletproof decaf coffee
- Bulletproof French kick coffee
- Bulletproof Collagen
- Laird Instant Latte
- Sigmatic Instant Latte
- Meal One overnight oats
Meal 2: 11am. Approximately 500 calories, 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and 20 grams of fat. The ‘Bodyhealth PowerMea’l is my ‘go to’ shake that I always consume post exercise, normally around 11am, seven days a week. Yes, I travel with it too. I have a small handful of organic blueberries and a tbsp of Baruka Nut Butter blended in with it or alongside it. I have yet to find a shake that gets even close to the nutritional profile of the ‘PowerMeal.’ The taste isn’t the best, but I really don’t think your meals should taste like a dessert anyway. The right shaker bottle makes the shake MUCH Better! I know the one I use should be glass, but I just haven’t found one that froths the shake up like the one below. If you decide to use another shake, please don’t use one with sucralose or cyanocobalamin. These ingredients are red flags and there are plenty of good options out there.
Meal 3: 2pm. Approximately 500 calories, 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and 20 grams of fat. The Yogurt Parfait. I put 1.5 cups of Organic White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt (Stonyfield Organic Grassfed Yogurt is my second choice) in a large mason jar. I stir in 1 scoop (20 g) of ‘Kion’ Whey protein, a tsp of organic local honey, a tsp of organic cacao nibs, and a tsp of organic bee pollen. If you prefer a plant-based protein powder, I think ‘Organifi’ is the best! This meal is a bit harder to travel with, so I normally just take a bar with me in place of this as needed. The ‘Kion Clean Energy Bar’ and the ‘Bodyhealth’ bar are my two ‘go to’s.
- Kion Whey Protein
- Organifi Plant Based Protein
- Cacao Nibs
- Bee Pollen
- Kion Clean Energy Bar
- Bodyhealth Bar
Meal 4: 6pm. Approximately 750 calories, 60 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrate and 30 grams of fat. Dinnertime!!! This is the most variable meal that rotates meats, fats, and carbs (veggies and starches.) The most nutrient dense and my favorite meats are beef (with organs), fish, shellfish, and eggs. My favorite veggies are Brussel sprouts, asparagus, green beans, and salads (mainly spring and summer lettuce mixes.) My favorite fats are grass fed butter, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil, and my favorite starches are Ezekial bread, potatoes, rice, and beans (Make sure to soak and sprout your carbs accordingly for digestibility.) I simply rotate these foods every few days with lots of different herbs and spices to change things up. My four favorite meals are burgers, tacos, pizza, and grain bowls, and I try to eat each of these once a week with other meals being simply meat and veggies, salads, stir fry’s, and stews. I have organic red wine a few nights a week and often have a cup of broth with dinner. I obviously don’t travel with my dinners, but I really try to eat as healthy as possible when out. You can easily blow a week’s worth of results in a few epic splurge meals. This is why sushi is my jam!
- Pre-workout: Sometimes I like to have a drink to pep me up pre-workout or midafternoon. I typically have a bit of Macha, with a shot of expresso, and some chocolate LMNT.
There you have it.A hopefully easy to follow set of guidelines to get your nutrition ‘dialed in.’Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments or would like some help figuring all this stuff out. I love to geek out on nutrition!