Advanced Nutrition Seminar: Re-Cap & Key Points
A big thanks to everyone who came out to my "Advanced Nutrition Made Easy" seminar last Saturday!
Hopefully you took away a few key principles and an understanding of how to actually apply that in day to day life. If you have questions on the content now that you've had a bit of time to think on it, please drop me a line!
A FEW OF THE BIG TAKE AWAYS
- Treat all recommendations as only a starting point, then track progress, body fat %, energy levels, and digestion to see how it's actually working. Adjust from there based on the trends that you see and the principles we discussed.
- Even if your food profile looks perfect on paper, it might not truly be working for you. If your diet "should" be working, but it's not, you've got to look deeper.
Either you're missing one of the basics, or else you should start by looking into a) if you're getting enough quality sleep, and b) your digestion.
If you're not digesting/absorbing your food properly, all the healthy food in the world won't help you. Trouble shoot this with consistent food tracking looking at food sensitivities. Make note of any 'digestive feedback' and common food sensitivity symptoms.
- Don't get caught up in a one-size fits all approach to nutrition (or fitness, for that matter) based on what an expert says or what works well for someone else. It might be a good fit for them and not for you. We're all different and there are no magic answers, just principles. We talked about this as it relates to food sensitivities, post workout nutrition, food timing, maintaining optimal energy levels throughout the day, and carb tolerance.
- Get an average of 8hrs of sleep per night or more. Research says that the average person's sleep need seems to be between 8-9.5 hours, so 8 is actually on the low end, but get the sleep you require. Also, remember the cumulative nature of sleep debt, and what it does to your brain, mood, performance, sex drive, and tolerance to carbs/propensity to store fat.
- If you are low on sleep, avoid refined carbs and figure out how to catch up and eliminate the sleep debt you've accrued as quickly as possible. Remember, the research shows that the more sleep deprived you are, the more you'll handle sugar like a diabetic. In this scenario, you'll be dealing with a double whammy: increased appetite and cravings for sugar and a higher likelihood that sugar will be stored as fat. Avoidance is therefore key.
So is getting your sleep back on track ASAP. It can help to actually write out the math to put a real spot light on the problem. For example, if you built a 6 hr sleep debt over two nights, how are you going to add 6 extra hours of sleep to your schedule over the next week? And if you absolutely can't do 6 make-up hours, what's the best you can do? Even 6 hours is impossible, can you make an effort to get 4?
- If you want to go deeper into your nutrition, you've got to track the rhythm of your daily energy levels as they relate to food (what foods you eat, the portions, and timing), sleep (quality & quantity), and stress. Then work to normalize this so you feel good all day and wind down naturally at the end of the day.
- Routine is king for sleep. Remove all lights, keep it cool, and go to bed at the same time every day as much as possible.
- How many carbs/which carbs should you be eating? In no particular order, it depends on:
- metabolic type
- bodyfat percentage [lower BF % = higher tolerance to carbs]
- type of carbs - glycemic index [more water and fiber = slower digesting = better if you're carb sensitive]
- gender & muscle mass [more muscle mass = you can handle more carbs]
- goals - fat loss means fewer carbs while performance, muscle gain means you can eat more.
- activity level - sedentary = very few carbs while very active means more.
- time of day - many people tolerate carbs differently at different parts of the day, so track any dips in energy/mental acuity
- sleep debt (the more sleep debt you have, the less carbs you can tolerate)
- whether or not you trained/exercised hard that day (if you train very hard, we usually want to adjust carbs and total food consumption relative to activity level. i.e. you'll have more carbs and total food on a very hard training day than on a rest day or light day)
- many of these factors can change over time, and so can your tolerance to carbs
In general, if you are overweight and want to lose fat, keep carbs very low (let's say below 50-70g/day as a starting point), and especially avoid high glycemic ones. If you're very carb tolerant and very active, you might take in as much as 2g of carbs per lb of bodyweight per day, sometimes more if training is totally loco. And if you're in the middle, then something like .75-1g of carbs per day per lb of bodyweight.
- Post workout nutrition: don't even think about this until the basics of your nutrition plan are consistently good (80%+), but...
...there's window of 30-60mins where your muscle cells become more sensitive to absorbing carbs and proteins after intense exercise, and then a diminishing affect lasting for several hours after that. Should you take any specific foods in this window? Depends on:
- Whether or not you already have the basics (food quality and correct proportions) correct. If not, don't worry about PWO nutrition. Seriously, don't waste your time. It's a very small thing compared to good fundamentals. This is NOT super important for most people interested in general fitness/health/longevity.
- How carb tolerant are you? If you're not carb tolerant, zero or relatively few carbs after training.
- Goal/priority: even if you're carb tolerant, you still might just want to have a balance meal after eating vs. specific PWO nutrition shakes. If high carb shakes make you feel like taking a nap and you have an important mid morning business meeting, your main goal might be balancing blood sugar and keeping mental focus vs. maximising every little bit of post workout re-fuelling after a morning training session.
- If you did a mainly strength workout, have mostly protein. 25-40g. If the workout was more cellular/metabolic (i.e. hard breathing, build up a acidic feeling in muscles, and lots of total volume of work completed), do carbs and protein. 4:1 to 1:1 ratio.
- If you're a candidate for PWO nutrition (i.e. are carb tolerant, low BF %, and have the basics in place), stick to high glycemic and low fructose sources of carbs. They will digest and will get to the muscle faster.
“Sleep Thieves” – Dr Coren.
“The Promise of Sleep” – Dr. Dement.
“Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival” - Wiley
(in my opinion, this is sensationalist and poorly written, but has a couple good concepts and ideas)
“Coping with Food Intolerances” – Dick Thom
"Allergies: Disease in Disguise" - Bateson-Koch
KNOW THEY SELF (AND THY POO)
Free PDF guide (based on a book my Paul Chek)
“Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers” – Sapolsky
“Adrenal Fatigue: The 21’st Century Stress Syndrome” - Wilson
“Why We Get Fat” – Taubes
“The Paleo Solution” – Wolf
"The Renaissance Diet” – Israetel
“How to Eat, Move and be Healthy” - Chek
"Real Food: The Best Diet" - Dr Weil [video presentation]