Tonight one of my clients asked me to do up a document or another meal plan for their group (The Iron Butterfly’s; some crazy-fit girls).
It got me thinking that everyone is looking for the newest, hottest thing with nutrition and I honestly find nutrition to be kinda boring for a few reasons:
1. I hate to cook, I hate to go in the kitchen
2. I hate to go grocery shopping. Costco gives me anxiety, and I simply can’t do it (thank you HW staff for shopping for me.)
So I thought I would throw out a post on ‘Rob’s Nutrition Rules’ to help people out.
Here are some of my Nutrition Rules…
Keep in mind these can and should change. I always want to be learning and evolving with my education and training, and do not want to be stuck doing the same thing I did 10 years ago. To me, progress is all about testing, tweaking, and tracking.
I have to give props to John Berardi for his article “7 Habits Of Highly Effective Nutrition” on T-Nation. Great article. Read it HERE.
To the right is a picture of me at 38 years old.
This is how I walk around. No “dieting.” This is just me normally. When I want to lean out more, I increase my training with sleds, sprints, jumps etc. My weight training doesn’t change a big lot.
I like having nutrition rules that allow me to eat healthy, simply, and not be one of those people who eat chicken all day long, and are in a bad mood because of their lack of food choices.
1. Protein & Fats for Breakfast or Protein and Berries – Lower to no carbs in the AM.
I start my day with a lean protein source plus something else.
Usually it’s a protein shake. I use Myofusion Banana, almond milk and berries sometimes frozen strawberries and bananas. I add in spinach with this.
Once again…lots of protein…lower carbs.
Berries are fine. I usually have blueberries and strawberries every morning either fresh or frozen.
And 1-2 big black cups of strong coffee. 🙂
2. Before Breakfast, Have 1-2 big glasses of water
I usually add lemon (real lemons not lemon juice from a container).
I can’t over-stress the importance of water, water and more water.
Try to drink 4 liters a day.
Drink lots & lots of water. (More than you think.)
You can go a month without food and not die, but you can’t go a week without water.
3. Earn Your Carbs
Carbs aren’t they enemy. The problem is that they are everywhere and dirt cheap (and damn do they taste good). However, we all have access to way too many sugars and processed crap.
I am not a health guy who hates bad foods. I love it as much as anyone, I just limit it. You can have carbohydrates, you just have to have them around your workout (pre and post). Want some carbs? Go do a leg day.
As well, the leaner you are, the more you can have. So as a guy, stay under 10% body fat. For a girl, stay close to 15%.
Grocery shopping for me is pretty simple. For everything I buy I say:
“Would or Could A Caveman Eat This?”
Eggs – Yes
Berries – Yes
Broccoli – Yes
Cheerios – NO
Get the point?
Eat the basic foods that we are meant to eat.
Greens, berries, mixed nuts, meats (some lean and some not), eggs, veggies…
As much as you want, really, (except for fruit, see above: you’re allowed this when you’re lean).
Eat more real foods. I consider “real food” to be something that actually DOESN’T have a food label.
Broccoli, Chicken and foods like this don’t have labels.
Eat organic when you can, grass-fed and grass finished when you can.
But when you can, choose just make the best choice with the options you have.
This one I totally stole from Charles Poliquin.
It’s easy. Eat as much variety with colors as you can in your food.
The more greens, purples, yellows, oranges, and blues the better.
Eat as much variety as possible. The more of a rainbow you get into your system, the better.
6. A Calorie is NOT a Calorie
If someone tells you that all calories are equal, you have 2 options:
1. Hit Them
2. Hit Them Again
Seriously. Are we still debating about calories being equal? They are so not.
Points fat-loss programs don’t work.
Don’t obsess about the overall calories, be more concerned with the QUALITY of the calories.
1000 calories from a good chili is far better for you than a 1000 calories from a Big Mac. (In terms of usable calories, macrontrients, micronutrients, and on and on.)
Eat the right foods at the right times and you don’t have to worry about calories.
7. Manage Your Insulin Well
This is a huge problem for most of the population. What scares me even more is that now more and more KIDS are diabetic. This is wrong. Kids shouldn’t have diabetes, because they shouldn’t be being fed soft drinks, sugars, and crap. It’s not their fault.
That’s a whole other blog post for another time.
The reason for the obesity epidemic is poor insulin management. Fats and proteins don’t cause insulin levels to rise. You can eat more food like this and you gain less (more like no) bodyfat. Avoid SUGARS and reduce carbs.
We have way too many carbs and sugars in the North American diet. This needs to be replaced with good proteins and good fats.
So when in doubt, eat proteins and fats, add in greens and berries, and you’re all set. AVOID the carbs with fats or proteins. The only time you want sugars is when your body is lean enough to handle them efficiently. That’s why carbs and sugars stay LOW until your body can deal with them. You want carbs working FOR you not AGAINST you.
There are many supplements that you can add for insulin management. I recommend ALA, chromium, L-carnitine, cinnamon and more.
8. Don’t DRINK Your Calories (but there are exceptions)
You get the point.
2 main reasons why you don’t want to drink your calories:
1. It’s too easy get a ton of calories
2. Most of these calories come from sugars.
So simply put, don’t drink that crap. Drink water, green tea, coffee (black if you can). That’s it.
As well, drinks like soda (including diet) will cause dehydration. The more you drink, the thirstier you get. It’s easier to drink 5 cans of pop than 5 glasses of water. One will hydrate you, the other will dehydrate you, big time.
So as I said above your drink choices are:
Water, green tea, black coffee.
The next question I always get is… drumroll…
It’s your life, but to get the best gains, minimize your alcohol. I drink one drink a day, usually red wine. It won’t kill me, and I believe the benefits of one drink a day of red wine a great enough to warrant a glass here and there. Yes, it’s a bit of sugar, but at my leanest and when I slept the best I drank a glass of red wine before bed.
9. Use Supplements
I am not saying what brands, or what types. That is for you to research!
That said, I strongly suggest you cover your basics in the supplement world. It doesn’t matter if you believe they work or not. They work.
You get the picture.
If you want to know the brands and supplements I like and use, I can do it in another blog post.
10. Try Things – Learn For Yourself
I believe that some nutritional principles can be set but I also feel that everyone is different both in the lab and in real life.
We all have busy lives, hectic jobs, lack of sleep, lack of time. So simply do the following:
Make the Right Choices
Do things right 90% of time and you are good.
But always be sure to see what works for YOU.
At 38 and trying many different nutrition programs, diets, I finally know what works for ME pretty well. From there, it’s just fine-tuning for me.
Get to know your body and keep a FOOD JOURNAL to track your mood, energy, recovery etc. These things are impacted big time by nutrition.
I ate oatmeal every morning for about 15 years.
Then I decided to cut it out (when I started to read more about gluten).
So no oatmeal for me.
I got leaner, I feel better. I don’t have oatmeal anymore.
Test things on yourself, LEARN and educate yourself.
11. ENJOY FOOD & ENJOY LIFE
Enjoy good food and enjoy your LIFE.
If you want to have something that’s bad for you, minimize it.
Want a burger? Have it on Saturday as a TREAT MEAL and reward yourself for a job well done.
Don’t be one of these people that are miserable to be around because of their lack of food choices. Make good decisions 90% of the time and you can ENJOY your 10%.
I love chocolate and I love red wine. Does that mean I can’t have those things? NO. I have them but not every single day. I enjoy a treat night or treat meal after I have a great week with my training and nutrition.
Don’t be a crazy person that lives off egg whites and chicken. Good healthy food is meant to be enjoyed and it’s good for you.
So, there you have my basics of nutrition.
I don’t try to make things more difficult in my life, I try to make them as simple as possible. We need more simplicity in our lives, not more complications!
When in doubt, eat like a caveman, make the right choices, and learn to be grateful to have such great food choices in our life.
Good food is not an expense, it’s an investment.
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