We can get caught up in macro-nutrient partitioning, the best times for glycogen replenishment and argue if a post training insulin spike blunts growth hormone but none of this really matters if we don’t have the basics and foundation of our diet in order. We are all guilty of trying to run before we walk – in our training methods and in our diet plans and protocols.
Here, Conor sets out a few guidelines that we really need to tick off the list first…
1. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS
It’s been said time and again, but for such a simple rule it really bears repeating. This one basic thing can make such a huge difference to the amount of calories a person takes in every day; you will be amazed at how less calorie-dense food is when it’s good quality and unprocessed.
You should be able to look at the meal you’re about to eat and know that everything on your plate is in its original, unprocessed form. That’s a cooked chicken fillet as opposed to chicken nuggets. Whole or diced sweet potato instead of a wrap. Steamed fresh broccoli, not a “veggie-burger”. And don’t forget your drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil for those good fats!
2. DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE “LOW-FAT” TRAP
Most of the time, if you see something marketed as being “low-fat”, it’s a reason to run a mile. Manufacturers can be very cynical about how they label foods, and as often as not, what some people think is the healthier choice is actually more calorie-dense than the normal, full-fat option. You could quite legitimately say that a kilo of white sugar is low-fat, for instance. That doesn’t mean you should eat it and expect not to put on weight!
3. DO A BIG WEEKLY SHOP
Try to avoid buying dinner every day when you’re rushed, hungry and on the fly. Instead, get a big shop done when you have time and you’ve just eaten!
4. GET TO KNOW YOUR BUTCHER
Rather than grabbing some processed rubbish (and paying through the nose for the privilege) from a convenience store, invest a few minutes in sourcing good quality, tasty, meat, poultry and fish from your butcher. They’ll usually be happy to suggest recipes too!
5. PLAN YOUR MEALS
Nothing leads to poor food choices like being caught on the hop! You’re a lot more likely to eat too much of the wrong thing if you’ve neglected to plan ahead. Most people have a pretty established daily routine whether they realise it or not, so try and anticipate your needs in advance. Tupperware is your friend.