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Food for thought: how the right diet can boost your training

Let's face it, it’s a topic that we have all struggled with over the years which is not really surprising given the number of conflicting ideas available in the busy fitness market we work and play in today!

I’ve spent at least 5 years jumping from FAD to FAD diet, seeing improvements, taking my foot off the gas and going back to where I started, if not worse. I never performed to anywhere near my highest potential, and spent a small portion of the year in good shape.

 

You want to know the secret? Keeping it Simple...

“If you have ever heard me talking recently you surely would have heard me using the expression you cannot outwork a bad diet, but a bad diet can surely leave you outworked.“

I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, I simply want to explain the basic relationship between food and exercise, performance and recovery

Firstly, what does food do for us?

Gives us energy.

Just as a car requires petrol or diesel to power its engine and generate energy, we need fuel – in the form of food – to power our continued existence, thoughts, recovery from illness, fuel our workouts and help us recover from training. The foods we eat provide us with a range of nutrients: carbohydrates, fat, protein, water vitamins and minerals and fibre.

How does that help with training?

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates are converted into energy the quickest and the human body relies heavily on the stored carbohydrates (glycogen) as its main energy source. These are stored in the liver and muscle tissues, most of us can store around 1200-1500 kcals in the body if eating effectively.

For workouts of higher intensity or for less than 40 minutes, performance will generally drop if there’s nothing in these stores, you may feel lethargic as your body searches for fats or proteins to use up.


FAT

Another great energy source that we have is fat, stored as internal fat and the very visible and annoying external fats. In foods they are also great for keeping us fuller for longer. With fat calories, the body typically likes using these during low-intensity, prolonged exercise.

For example if running a 10km, half marathon or marathon your body will begin to work its way through the carb stores mentioned above. When they are running low it will begin to take energy from our fat stores. If you choose to take a sugary drink or gel along the way, your body will simply go back and use up the kcals from the sugar in those and then transition back to using fats.

If you are an endurance athlete, fats should be at least 30%+ of your diet, as this is a really important source of energy for longer aerobic based sessions.

PROTEIN

This guy gets more hype than a Taylor Swift track. Why is it important?  Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. It is also a pretty good energy source as a back up. Your muscle tissues are made up completely of protein so when you train you are asking them to grow to cope with the new demands on the muscles. Eating more protein will help speed up that process. Simple. 

No need to go mad on it, somewhere in the range of 1 – 1.5 grams per kg of your bodyweight should facilitate growth. 

If your protein intake isn't high enough, you won’t recover as quickly. In the fitness game recovery is key, it allows to you to apply your best self every workout. Underperformance = Lack of development.

WATER

Lack of water causes dehydration in the joints ligaments and muscles, and the body won’t work without it.  Secondly, the body will be fatigued and its systems will slow down. Thirdly, it actually causes water retention (feeling bloated & wobbly). If you aren’t running to the toilet at least 6/7 times a day, start guzzling more water!

VITAMINS & MINERALS

We get different types from different food groups, some of them are essential for energy production, recovery, sleep and keeping your immune system high. Eating a well balanced diet is the best way to sure you aren’t skipping any. Although I wouldn’t say they are performance enhancers, if you’re low on them you will not be at 100%. (Eat Right)

FIBRE

It is the broom of our internals, constantly cleaning our digestive tract. Fibre carries away the waste products of muscle production. If waste builds up in the body it can lead to an increase in fat mass and poor overall health.

So how does that all fit together and apply to your day of training? Once again this is a very simplified version.

In my opinion no food groups are your enemy, however the timing and quantity of those foods is of upmost importance. Have a look at this example of my daily food plan below, it usually has me sitting on somewhere between 10-12% body fat year round.

Interested in finding out more about what you should be eating and why you should be eating it? Would you like to push your performance to the next level with your diet? Maybe you need some more examples of types of foods?

I would love to hear from you with any questions you have I understand it has been a bit of a whistlestop!

Yours in fitness,

Ryan Hamill


About the author

Ryan is a very goal orientated strength and conditioning coach has come from a nutrition background.

Ryan uses a holistic approach to his clients' health and fitness ensuring they have a firm understanding of diet , lifestyle and exercise. Using this 360 degree format it makes him a great Body Transformation Coach whether you want to simply tone up or pack on some lean tissue.

Read more here

Cauliflower Arepa | UFIT Kitchen

UFITs new take on ‘Arepa,’ by replacing the dough and flour with the Cauliflower. Yet another unbelievable use for cauliflower. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup mashed cauliflower
  •  2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp pysillium husk
  • 1/4 tsp chia seeds
  • Sea salt to taste

METHOD:

1. Mix all the ingredients with a fork. Once the ingredients are well combined, use your hands to make a ball and shape into a burger.
2. Prepare a baking tin with oil spray or putting 1-2 drops of oil spread and spread with a napkin.
3. Place the arepa and sprinkle sesame seeds.
4. Cook in preheated oven at 200 until crispy on the outside. Cool down, slice in half and fill.


For more information for UFITs Nutrition programs get in touch with us here. Join our next Clean & Lean Challenges that we run 4 times a year providing you with the opportunity to change your healthy habits into a lifestyle.

Thanks to @Soff.it for providing these deliciously creative recipes.

Coconut Tortilla | UFIT Kitchen

A great side for a nice curry or stew. If you don't add salt to the mix, they are very nice with sweet toppings too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Coconut tortillas
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp golden flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt to taste


METHOD:

1. Mix all the ingredients into your food processor. Preheat a frying pan (or crêpe) to a medium to high heat. 
2. Use oil spray or spread oil with a napkin. 
3.  Pour 1/6 of the mix and move the pan to distribute. 
4.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes, scratching the edges and flip. Keep flipping until golden and crisp. Repeat and serve.


For more information for UFITs Nutrition programs get in touch with us here. Join our next Clean & Lean Challenges that we run 4 times a year providing you with the opportunity to change your healthy habits into a lifestyle.

Thanks to @Soff.it for providing these deliciously creative recipes.

Homemade Chicken Tikka | UFIT Kitchen

A tasty and simple dish for the whole family to enjoy. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 barbecue skewers
  • 250g chicken breast
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 tbsp dried tikka spices (double check that there's no sugar added)
  • 1 lime - wedged
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Coconut oil (just a little bit for brushing after sprinkling the spices)

METHOD: 

1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Place in a bowl and toss 1 tbsp of spices.
2. Cover with paper wrap and store on the fridge.
3. In the meantime, chop the vegetables in chunks.
4. Put the skewers under water for 30 seconds. Assemble the skewer by mixing the chicken, onion, capsicum and tomato. Then place on a baking tray.
5. Use a brush with coconut oil to “paint the skewers" and sprinkle the remaining tbsp of spices on the skewers.
6. Bake in a preheated oven to 200 for 15-20 minutes.


For more information for UFITs Nutrition programs get in touch with us here. Join our next Clean & Lean Challenges that we run 4 times a year providing you with the opportunity to change your healthy habits into a lifestyle.

Thanks to @Soff.it for providing these deliciously creative recipes.

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Italian Inspired Zoodles | UFIT Kitchen

Go green!

Replace your standard noodles or flour based ingredients and enjoy this meal without your carbohydrates. You can also use this recipe when taking part in our Clean & Lean programmes.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150 grams of lean beef
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • 1/4 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of parsley (fresh preferably)
  • Peperoncino (or chili flakes)
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

1. Process for 2-5 minutes your beef with onion, 1/4 green pepper, 1/4 garlic clove, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp of parsley (fresh preferably), peperoncino (or chili flakes) salt & black pepper to taste.
2. Put 2 tbsp of flaxseed on a plate. Wet your hands and roll your mix to make the meatballs rolling them through the flaxseed, making a thin coat.
3. Bake at 200 until golden brown. This makes approximately 6 meatballs. Serve with zucchini noodles, hot sauce and extra virgin olive oil.
 


For more information for UFITs Nutrition programs get in touch with us here. Join our next Clean & Lean Challenges that we run 4 times a year providing you with the opportunity to change your healthy habits into a lifestyle.

Thanks to @Soff.it for providing these deliciously creative recipes.