So The holidays are now over folks! The mornings are starting to get darker and the evenings are getting shorter. In another week or two, you never know, it might even rain...........
Seriously though, generally over the summer months, routines often fall by the wayside with holidays, kids running around, day-trips, midweek nights out.....the list goes on. And usually as a result, training suffers, and any kind of nutritional discipline generally goes out the window.
So now's your chance to get back on track. But the question is, how do you get back on track in a way that is going to be sustainable for the foreseeable future?
That's down to the individual - one size does not fit all! however, here are a few simple guidelines to get you started.
Baby Steps - It can often be a good idea to begin making small changes to your lifestyle at first. These will be easier to maintain in the long run. for example, reducing your plate sizes in your kitchen will inadvertently reduce your portion sizes at mealtimes! This can make a huge difference down the line.
Quality - Sometimes, simply replacing one food product with another can make a huge difference to our body composition. It is a great idea to try to replace as many processed foods in your diet, with foods that come from a natural source. these tend to be much more nutrient dense and contain less sugar and artificial ingredients. A good example - prepacked mashed veg could be replaced with home cooked fresh veg from the local shop. Much better quality and you know exactly what you have.
Shopping - I know everyone loves going food shopping.....Shopping smart is very important here. What happens when your cupboards are full of junk food? you eat it, right? So don't buy it! Generally, if you keep your trolley moving at a decent pace around the perimeter of the supermarket, you won't be far away! Also, it's a good idea to have a list with you so that you know what you are buying before you get there. Better still, online shopping - order exactly what you need without having to walk past the biscuits or the hot food counter!
Accountability - set yourself some targets, make a plan how to achieve those targets and share this with a family memeber/friend/coach so that your progress can be tracked and maintained......Easy!
Hands up if you train 🙌🏻
…yep, most of you reading this will probably take part in some form of exercise or training, at least once this week..…so guess what? That makes you an athlete!
So maybe you train twice a week. Or three times? Or even six times? And maybe you are finding yourself making very small gains or no gains at all? Or you just can't lose that extra 3-4 lbs that you'd set as your goal a long time ago? Your training plan is good and you train consistently every week. So what could be going wrong?
This Is the key sentence…
You CANNOT out-train a bad diet
It doesn't matter how much you train or how you train. If your diet and lifestyle do not support your training, it will simply not be possible to achieve and sustain your long term training and/or weight loss goals.
So what do I do? Where do I even start? It's not as difficult as you may think.
1 - Quantities. Are you eating too much or not enough? Both will affect your overall goals!
2 -Quality. Is your food coming from a natural, unprocessed source? The less processed foods we consume, the better.
If you can dial in both of these aspects, you're on the right track. You can then set about looking into some of the more precise details, like macronutrients and micronutrients.
Are you getting the correct amount of protein, fats and carbs on board?
Are you spacing out your meals throughout the day?
Are you timing your meals around your training?
And possibly the most important thing of all? Planning. You need to set yourself aside some time to prepare your food!
So why don't you sit down at the next opportunity and plan how you are going make some small improvements to your lifestyle over the next week and see how that goes for you!
When should I have my protein shake?
Post workout recovery nutrition is a vital component when it comes to achieving our fitness goals. Whey protein is the 'gold standard' when it comes to building lean muscle and allowing our bodies to recover quickly, in time for the next session.
Ideally this should be taken on board within 30 minutes of the end of the session so that it can be absorbed by the body quickly, and recovery can start straight away.
It is better to consume this as a shake - liquids are much faster absorbed and digested, and are therefore a better option than solid food!
Tip - bring your protein to the gym with you and mix it with almond milk or coconut water and enjoy straight after class!!
PS: Coach MacLeod claims that she only did extra workouts during the 28 Day Challenge to benefit from the protein shake - it definitely didn't harm her performance in the recent Celtic Games!