While at the Underground Strength Coach Level II cert last weekend I had the opportunity to share ideas and speak with some terrific coaches. A couple of guys and I had some great conversations on one of the most valuable, but overlooked components of fitness: Nutrition and people’s relationship with food.
Now, I’m not talking about the nuts and bolts of diet plans or the grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrate that we take in. We talked a little bit about that stuff but we were thinking bigger than that. Instead of hammering on the minutia of performance nutrition we talked about the overall quality of the food we eat and our approach to food.
So many people have a distorted relationship with food and as a result, their health, energy, and physiques are impacted. In talking with Sincere and Shawn we all shared our amazement that so many people, even those who maintained some aspect of a fitness lifestyle, paid little to no attention to the food that they put in their bodies.
Food is life support. We are deeply connected to our food sources physically, mentally, and spiritually. Food is not a crutch for our emotions that we run to when we’re down. Food is not a substitute for happiness in our lives. That’s an abuse of food. Instead, food supplies us with the energy and vitality that we need to create that happiness for ourselves. When we eat food that supports our lives we are prepared for success.
In training athletes, I find a lot of them will skip meals, then pig out on some sort of processed quasi-food and try to down a super-processed supplement shake to make up for it. Then they wonder why they have no energy to focus, perform, and can’t recover from their workouts worth a damn?
Many fat loss clients I’ve trained use food as a support mechanism and a band-aid, rather than try to face and fix their life problems. Let me get this straight: Your depressed because you’re overweight and don’t feel good about yourself, so you eat something awful for you to help yourself feel better… huh?
Look, people, we’re supposed to eat food. I’ve done my time as a nutrition and diet geek and I can argue ratios and grams of various micronutrients with you all day. However, when it’s all said and done the real answer is this: Eat good, natural, healthy food. Eat quality meats (grass-fed or wild if you can), load up on fruits and vegetables, minimize or completely drop grains (especially wheat), focus on nuts, seeds, and healthy oils as your fat sources, and eat simple things that you enjoy. Minimize processed food and check your labels mercilessly. If the food you eat is full of ingredients that you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce, then probably you shouldn’t eat it.
Whenever possible get organic, LOCAL food. I firmly believe that the closer a food was grown to you the healthier it’ll be for you. Plus you’ll be supporting a local sustainable farming community, and that’s what will bring us, as a society, security in these turbulent times. Honestly, it wouldn’t hurt you to start a little garden, even a window box herb garden, but that’s a rant for another time. Just trust me on this, there’s something special about growing, picking, and eating your own food. If you’ve never had the pleasure of that then you really should try it out.
Too many people today don’t know anything about how the food they eat gets in front of them. That’s just plain unacceptable. If you are putting this stuff in your body, which you supposedly care about, I just don’t understand how you wouldn’t want to develop a strong, healthy connection to it.
Eating well and naturally is one of the seven secrets to a strong and healthy life I go over in my free e-book 7 Secrets of Strength and Health. If you want to know the other six, just sign up over on the right!