It’s no secret that you’ll perform better in sports and other activities when your body has enough fuel to keep going. But what should you be eating to have the best results, and what should you avoid?
There’s lots of talk about energy bars, supplements and meal replacements, so let’s take a look at what’s really going to be the best for you, long term. There are three principles that I feel you can more or less depend on in terms of food and working out:
- Real food is always better than fake food.
- Supplements are largely nonsense.
- Be suspicious of convenience.
Let’s go through these one by one.
Real food is better than fake food
This is pretty much a no brainer, right? Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, real meat, legumes, nuts – get the idea? The less adulterated something is, the more goodness can transfer from it to you. Not only will you get more energy and nutrition from real food, but it will last you longer than the fake kind. An energy bar may sound good based on the packaging, but really, nothing that has 2 dozen ingredients, only half of which you can pronounce is going to be as good for you as real, whole food. Nothing.
Supplements are largely nonsense
Any nutritionist or dietician will tell you that it is easily possible to eat the necessary amount of nutrients each day without resorting to powders and juices. Protein powder, fat burning powder, tummy-toning powder, Creatine – it’s all hooey that you’re probably better off without. You don’t need a whole heck of a lot of protein each day – and a shake to “replenish” you after a workout can use up your whole daily allotment. Then when you factor in the “extras” you added it to so it tastes palatable, you’re looking at a really calorie dense meal replacement that all too often gets treated as a snack. Exceptions can be made for professional body builders, who may need the extra protein, but the average work-outer doesn’t need any more than can be found in normal, healthy meals. If you eat sensibly to begin with, a supplement isn’t going to help you achieve better results.
Now I don’t know everything about supplements or how they work – this is based on my experience. For more information, I recommend you check out Flawless Fitness Bookwhere the fit jerk (who’s actually a pretty nice guy) talks about and reviews different supplements.
Be Suspicious of Convenience
It is my belief that a huge amount of blame for our energy and weight problems can be laid at the door of ‘convenience” foods. We may be short of time, but we’re shortening our lives by shoveling chemical by-products and dumptruckfuls of sugar down our gullets. I don’t even need to say anything about fast food, right? Don’t eat it and for the love of Pete don’t let your children eat it. Labels like “Organic” and “All natural” can be hideously deceptive on convenience food items. There is little regulation regarding those terms – so it could mean anything, if it’s true at all. Don’t be fooled by pictures of grains blowing in the breeze, or mounts of brightly shining produce on the box – the ingredients, nine times out of ten are sugar, followed by white flour, then more sugar. Pack some carrot sticks.