So far the most persistent question, comment and POV we get is about nutrition and especially yay or nay on supplementation. Our stance on fitness is multifaceted and more importantly it places the whole before the parts. This issue of supplementation and diet choices is a chance to illustrate a make it or break it point.
Short answer…you don’t need supplementation but you don’t need meat either…see where we’re going?
Our bodies run on air, water and whatever we can scrounge for calories. Micro and phyto nutrients are nice as well but only for long term survival. Take heed of this, fitness is about far more than survival but quality of life as much if not more than quantity. There are zero guarantees with regards to health, which is why 99.99% of medicine is designed around trying to save lives ‘after’ things have gone wrong.
We took a few quick iPhone pictures of some nice foods at our local grocery, you know some of the stuff around the outside edge where the lower caloric loads exist. Are these healthy choices? In the general sense of course as they provide nutrient rich low calorie sustenance. Well…unless you are allergic to one of them and it slowly but surely pushes a possibly iffy G.I. track (inherited from your family line) into a self-destructive state. Over the years silently and patiently it or a combo of it(s) conspire to create permanent damage.
Alright, superficial scare tactics aside there is a point and no it isn’t about pesticides, preservatives, dyes or the like. We’re talking about choices. Natural food choices are definitely safer choices but that is about all. You will still suffer your genetics and lifestyle no matter how so called ‘clean’ you eat. Fitness is about proactive healthcare. Real fitness prepares you and repairs you from all the stress of life.
We tend to be such a mix of genetics and lifestyle stressors, that what are good choices for one person may actually be poor choices for another. You can eat all the organic tomatoes or free range eggs you want but if they don’t suit the sum total of you what really is the point? Even fresh eggs and clean tomatoes can be contraindicated in some save for low, infrequent exposure.
One of the most common mistakes we see everyday is people who have too little lean mass. That’s right, it is as large a problem as too much adipose tissue. If you don’t have it or have lost it forget having a metabolic rate which supports a sane daily caloric load. By sane we mean relative to modern living and modern stressors.
Lean mass means bone density, connective tissue muscle and proper water levels. If you aren’t a rugged male between the ages of 10-35 you are going to have challenges in the lean mass area. The point here is what supports lean mass? The answer is – not much.
This is where we get opinionated and you may have to take or leave us. We think that lean mass levels have a undeniable bearing on overall health and wellness. You can put the best gas and best synthetic oil in a car but if it is a P.O.S. car it just won’t matter…you’ll get the initials just take a second. This is no different than the more common idea that you can have the best exercise, comfortable lifestyle but if you eat poorly you will suffer all the same.
Lean mass is your captain and crew and they will direct you, save you and determine your ultimate destination.
Creating and maintaining;
– stable blood sugar levels
– muscle, bone density
– strong but subtle connective tissue
– endurance and strength
– pain free range of motion in the joints
– reasonable flexibility
– neurophysiological health
all require the proper nutrition at the proper times for you. You can build all these elements with basic good nutrition, if you can stick to it over the long haul but you will not over come uncontrollable influences like life stress and genetic predispositions.
Did you know that so called ‘crappy’ sugars could actually help those with serious lean mass challenges? If ingested after exercise designed to drain the cells of glycogen, these sugars in the right amount help a lot more than hurt especially when health is measured over decades. Thus sugar could be characterized as a supplement to be used with caution. Like the well known supplement creatine, both have been shown to fight muscle wasting in chronically ill persons.
The question remains how should we eat and would it help or hurt to supplement with anything from vitamins to ester clearing agents. Do fat burners work or is fish better than chicken? What part of the chicken, what kind of fish? In a basic true sense all food is supplementation if you are rating the source. The best place to start is keeping it simple.
Minimize your food choices for a month or two. Think about who you are and your body type. Consider your work and lifestyle. Start by keeping track of how the foods you ate made you feel right after ingesting and your energy level as well as mood later on. Just keep it basic, write down what you ate and when and rate your response. An easy method is to have the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 written out on a page twice, one page for everyday. Circle the number rating energy and sense of wellness late morning and late afternoon. It isn’t so much the rating but the visual linear choice that matters. The range is basically very poor, poor, ok, good, very good, great, excellent. Write down what you ate and when on the same page and how much water you drink. Don’t be shy to note anything that stands out like belly bloating, hyper, lethargic, clear headed or foggy and such.
Its way easier than it sounds especially with smart phones, though a little journal can be nice to scratch in. You will find patterns in time as you review, these patterns can literally change your life even save it. Did you see a correlation between some foods and joint discomfort? Did you look or feel puffy from certain choices? We’re you hungry sooner? Did you crave soon after or have honest hunger around the next mealtime? How was your sleep…on average (comparing many different nights) relative to food choices and/or amount of food not to mention timing of food? You will get to know you first in a sort of abstract way then quickly it will congeal. You will find connections to others like you and see the relation to family. You will create many new questions but that IS the point.
Get to know yourself your strengths and weakness all in proper perspective. Any health professional who doesn’t try to figure you out personally…walk the other way. Take the advice graciously and save it, it is nothing more than a very small piece of the puzzle. Fact is if your aren’t interested in getting to know yourself better from a health and fitness perspective then why care what you do or what you eat anyway right?
And if you’re looking for a shortcut we wouldn’t mind if you shared a find, as of yet we haven’t found any [smile, share and thanks for reading].
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Agreed, it is bothersome that most of the fitness industry is built on looks rather than health. Even performance based improvements are still second fiddle to health and overall fitness in our books.
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