Skip to main content

What’s this about intermittent fasting?

There’s all this talk recently about intermittent fasting, keytones and ketosis. What the heck is everyone taking about it and why should I learn about it?

I have recently been hearing about it in regards to TMIs (Tramatic Brian injury) and how ketosis is very helpful. Soooooo…. I chose to check it out! Through my research I learnt that the brain works better on keytones (fat) vs glycogen (carbs). When you intermittent fast, it puts your body into keytosis. While you are fasting, your body burns keytones for energy, not glucose. Ideally you fast for 16 hours, as it takes the body approximately 8 hours to burn all the glucose out of your body.

I also love reading Chris Kresser’s articles, here is one on the benefits on fasting: https://chriskresser.com/could-you-benefit-from-intermittent-fasting/

There is a lot of research out there about how amazing intermittent fasting is, check out this video to learn more. And remember to consult your Doc when trying anything like this 😉

Diet confusion

Why is it that some people can have a couple bites of goat cheese on a salad and find themselves constipated for two days, while others can eat an entire ring of brie cheese guilt-free without even an inkling of a digestion trouble?

When it comes to diet, there is still so much we don’t know. Yet, everyone thinks they know exactly what the body needs…

“Strict paleo is the best way to lose weight!”

“No way, Zone is more sustainable for the long haul.”

“I don’t care what you say, I stopped eating meat and have never felt better. Long live vegetables.”

“Red wine is good for you.”

“Red wine is a carcinogen.”

“It’s all about anti-oxidants and kale. You can’t eat too much kale.”

“Humans don’t digest leafy greens very well, so I’m off all leafy greens.”

“I have never met a strong vegetarian. They’re either skinny or pudgy.”

“Why do you hate vegans so much? Tom Brady is a vegan!”

You get the point: Everyone thinks they have it figured out when it comes to diet, but the truth is even the experts can’t seem to agree on much. And their advice keeps changing!

There are dieticians and nutritionists out there who promote high-fat, low-carb diets, while others pump the old-school Food Pyramid. The supposed experts can’t even agree on even how many macro-nutrients—carboyhydrates, protein, fats—we should be eating. As a good psychologist friend of mine, Dr. Damian Murray said: “If you think about it, that’s like a psychologist not knowing if thinking happens in the brain or the elbow.”

It’s safe to say, when it comes to nutrition, “You know nothing, John Snow!”

That being said, if there’s one Registered Dietician I trust to give advice it’s Jennifer Broxterman, owner of NutritionRx (www.nutritionrx.ca) Why? Because she’s constantly educating herself, is incredibly open-minded, and has worked with a ton of athletes about what works and what doesn’t work for them. She knows nutrition isn’t a one-size fits all thing, and she caters her advice accordingly.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you might be an already-fit athlete. This advice is for you:

5. Complex carbs aren’t so bad, after all

Many times, athletes are under-eating high-quality complex carbs for the amount of high-intensity, high-volume training they’re doing, Broxterman said.

Broxterman believes there’s a misconception among many already-fit people that they should avoid carbohydrates. While more sedentary, weight loss, new-to-fitness lifestylers, should avoid too many carbs, she said athletes need more high-quality forms of complex carbs.

“If you’re an elite level athlete, you’re like a Ferrari, and you wouldn’t put cheap gas in a Ferrari. You’d put premium,” she said. For athletes, premium carbs include not only fruits and vegetables, but also foods like oats, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, and bulgar, barley, Broxterman said.

“Don’t eat like the overweight person at your gym trying to lose weight,” she added. “Don’t be afraid to eat carbs.”

4. Rest is where the gains are made

Often athletes don’t focus enough on their recovery and post-workout nutrition, Broxterman explained. She recommends getting both a protein and carb source into the body within 30 minutes after finishing a training session.

She explained the body needs 200 to 400 calories within 30 minutes of training to put itself in recovery mode. This can come in the form of a full-fledged dinner with steak and rice and vegetables, or in the form of a smaller 200-calorie, balanced snack.

She added that you don’t necessarily need to eat something that has been marketed specifically as a “post-workout” product. You just need to get some carbs and protein into your body ASAP.

3. Food shouldn’t be a chore

Sometimes Broxterman finds athletes simply don’t spend the necessary time in the kitchen.

“They’re lazy in the kitchen, or have an inadequate meal prep and grocery shopping routine,” Broxterman explained. “You wouldn’t go to the gym and not bring your lifting shoes and gear, so why do high performance athletes think they can get away with going to work without packing two or three high-quality snacks and meals in advance?”

For those who really struggle with meal prep, she has some creative ways to help:

Her first idea is a food swap.

“How it works is each person is responsible for making one meal, and then you come together and exchange your meals. So someone might bring slow-cooker chill, and someone else brings turkey meatball, for example. Then you go home with five or six meals that you can put into your freezer for the week,” she said.

She has done a food swap at her affiliate in London, Ontario a few times; it always receives great reviews from her athletes.

Another option is to dedicate one day each week to food prep, Broxterman suggested.

“Cook lots, and full your freezer with meals for one or two weeks,” she said.

Finally, don’t be afraid to outsource cooking, she suggested.

“People pay for others to program for them and coach them. If you really suck in the kitchen, find someone—a friend, a culinary student—to cook for you,” she said.

2. Fixate your eyes on the forest, not the trees

Contrary to those who find food a chore, Broxterman finds some athletes have the opposite approach: They’re so detail-oriented they forget the big picture. These athletes are obsessed with being perfect, on finding the absolute magic diet, to launch them to the next level.

“For example, counting macros, tracking every calorie you consume using an online program, and trying to balance carb percentages to fat percentages perfectly. That shit doesn’t matter,” she said emphatically.

Instead, for Broxterman it comes down to consistency. This means consistent meal-prepping, consistent portions and consistently high-quality foods.

“Just like at the gym, do the work and you’ll get better.”

1. Avoid a fitness and figure-style approach to your diet

While the stereotypical fitness and figure athlete tends to eat just three things—chicken, tuna and broccoli—over and over again in order to lean out, Broxterman doesn’t think a diet without variety is good for most athletes.

She once had a client who ate chicken, broccoli and almonds “every damn day for dinner,” she said.

When you eat the same thing everyday, you’re likely to get bored, and often when you’re bored you simply don’t eat enough calories for the volume of training you’re doing, she said.

She recommends adding variety to your diet. Try new recipes, and even new foods, to keep your body and mind entertained, she said.

Why changing your diet is so difficult – Part 2

Here are the second two parts to Emily Beer’s post about nutrition.

3. Precision Nutrition

Precision Nutrition’s idea of changing one habit at time really resonates with us. Check out their website here: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/one-habit.

The idea here is not to overwhelm a person with grandiose and sudden changes in their lives; instead, long-term success comes from focusing on changing one small habit at a time.

Precision Nutrition offers a 12-month personal nutrition and exercise coaching program—habit-based coaching—that focuses on LESS TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE MORE.

In a nutshell, the change they suggest looks like this:

1. Choose one habit/task per month (It could be something like not letting yourself drink alcohol during the week, or not letting yourself have seconds at dinner). It’s important to choose an easy goal at the start, and it’s important the goal is measurable.

2. Write down your plan, which will clearly state what your goal is each day and each week.

3. Announce your goal publicly: The more people you tell, the more you will be held to account.

4. Keep track and report your progress.

 

4.  The WholeLife Challenge

Check out their website here: https://www.wholelifechallenge.com

Many CrossFit gyms and MadLab gyms have embraced, and have had great success, with The WholeLife Challenge.

Three things we like about the WLC:

1. TEAM ENVIRONMENT:

The WholeLife Challenge can be turned into a team competition. Having teammates to lean on, who are going through the same thing as you are—as well as having support and people to hold you accountable—really resonates with many WholeLife Challengers, who have had great success improving their diet and body composition.

2. MORE THAN NUTRITION:

When you sign up for the WLC, you will be asked to track not just your diet, but also things like your hydration, fitness, mobility and sleep. The idea is this challenge is meant to improve your entire lifestyle, not just your body composition.

3. VARIOUS LEVELS

Not everyone is looking to follow the same diet, and not everyone is ready to eliminate everything all at once. The WLC offer various levels, so to speak, that allow you to choose how extreme you want to be with your changes.

The next Whole Life Challenge begins September 17th.

Why is Changing your Diet SO DIFFICULT?

Why is Changing your Diet SO DIFFICULT?

One of the absolute hardest things as a coach is getting our clients to change their diets. For whatever reason—lack of time time, motivation, willpower, or a massive sugar-addiction—it’s much easier for people to commit to a gym routine than it is for them to stop eating processed foods, or to break their overeating habit.

I’m not suggesting there’s a magic-bullet solution; we believe in different strokes for different folks, but here is some FOOD for thought—and various options and resources—if you’re struggling to change your diet. Hopefully one will resonate with you.

1. Nutrition Coaching with your personal Coach!

If you’re the type who needs one-on-one in-person coaching and someone to hold you accountable, then maybe it’s worth considering working with your coach.

If this is you, reach out to your coach and ask how he or she can help you reach your dietary goals.

2. Develop a healthy relationship with food

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received about nutrition is from a Registered Dietician and professor at the University of Western Ontario Jennifer Broxterman—also the owner of NutritionRx (http://www.nutritionrx.ca).

She reiterated the importance of developing a healthy relationship with food.

What does this mean?

“If you’re questioning whether you have a good relationship with food, think about your relationship with water. You drink water throughout the day, but there’s no pressure about how much to drink or when to drink. You drink when you’re thirsty,” Broxterman said. “Most people have a natural relationship with water.”

She added: “If you’re thinking about food every 5 minutes, if it’s always on your mind, and you’ve lost that natural ability to listen to your body, then you probably don’t have a healthy relationship with food.”

One way to help become healthier is to stop labelling foods as good foods and bad foods, and to stop beating yourself up when you mess up, she explained.

“One of the things I often tell people is it’s a lot like brushing your teeth. Everyone has forgotten to brush their teeth here or there, but you normally don’t beat yourself up about if. Not brushing your teeth once doesn’t lead to a spiral effect of not brushing your teeth for a week. But that often happens with food. Someone ‘cheats,’ and then this spirals into a week of bad eating,” she said.

While Broxterman believes it’s important to eat whole, unprocessed foods most of the time, she believes it’s equally as important to indulge guilt-free here and there. The guilt-free part is the key, she said.

It’s the wanting what you can’t have philosophy, she explained. Preventing yourself from ever having a cheat meal will only lead to obsessing about all the food you can’t eat more than you should.

The point is, if you mess up, forget about it and move on.

~ Emily Beers

Next two points coming next week…

Should you take sports supplements?

Picture taken from http://fahadmaniar.com/whats-in-your-supplement-part-1-protein-shakes/

 

In my last post, I discussed the supplements that I recommend to add to your diet to reach optimal health.  In this post, I would like to discuss sports supplements.  Many people think that when they work out, they need their protein shake otherwise their effort in the gym will be wasted…  No shake, no biceps!?  Or we often see the crossfitter that, without the pre-workout shake, WoDing is not possible…  But how can I go 100% intensity otherwise?!

I hope to surprise some of you by telling you that you don’t need a pre-workout and a post-workout supplement to obtain all the benefits from your workout sessions.  In fact, a sport supplement should NEVER replace a deficient lifestyle.  For the Average-Everyday-Normal guy/girl who goes to the gym two to three times a week, if your nutrition is not dialled in, you don’t hit the bed consistently for at least 8 hours each night, and you swim in stress daily, your are simply wasting your money with sport supplements!  You don’t need the mass gainer, fat burner, super energizer pre-WoD, and incredible recovery post-WoD supplements.

Sports supplements are for the serious athletes who need the extra edge.  By that I mean someone who trains five days or more per week, sleeps well, eats clean, and manages his recovery time by relaxation, stretching and mobilizing.  That type of crossfitter needs extra help to enhance the benefits from the last training session, as well as optimizing the muscles repair and minimizing the recovery time.  If you don’t fit in that description, I strongly advice to go back to the basics: nutrition, sleep, and stress management.

As for the sports supplements that I recommend, again, I like to keep it simple.  You know by now that I am a strong paleo-diet proponent, so you guessed it: your sport supplement should be free of grain, dairy, and artificial ingredients.  If you are going to supplement to optimize your training sessions, you certainly don’t want to ingest ingredients that are inflammatory!?