In the Barebones Fitness Nutrition Plan (BFNP), I laid out the practical information necessary to set up and implement an effective fitness nutrition plan. We talked about specific number calculations and food choices without going into details about where they came from. The reason is I wanted to give you the practical steps you could implement immediately without getting sidetracked with too much technical information. The plan is laid out in black and white, in less than two pages. That's all you need to know about fitness nutrition, thanks for your time, I'll be sending you a hefty invoice shortly!!! Not so fast. While the main goal is to get you to use the basic principles, I do believe it is valuable to learn the reasons why you should be using those principles. In other words, I believe it is important to learn some of the science behind fitness nutrition. Taking this extra step in your fitness journey is valuable for several reasons:
1. Informed Decisions: When we rely solely on our taste buds for making food choices, we're screwed. We love sugar and fat, and that's the bottom line. Who doesn't love fresh baked chocolate chip cookies -- the crispy outside, the warm doughy center, the melted chocolate… but I digress (and don't go eating chocolate chip cookies now and blame it on me). The fact is that's the way most of us eat. We make our food choices based on impulse, "I feel like…". This pattern is not conducive to a lean and fit physique. Learning some of the science behind fitness nutrition will give you another tool in your arsenal so you can make better food selections. You won't just be eating based on taste, you'll also think about function. That, my friends, is the key to fitness success.
Hell, I feel like chocolate chip cookies right now, but I’m not going to eat them because I know how the human body processes them. The fat in the cookies will elevate blood fatty acid levels. The sugar will spike blood glucose and insulin levels. This is a deadly combo. Insulin carries circulating fatty acids and excess glucose out of the blood stream and deposits it into fat cells. Although a complex physiological process, it's sort of true what they say, that junk food is going straight to your ass, or gut, or thighs, or whatever your problem area may be.
When you understand concepts like blood sugar and insulin swings, and how they impact fat storing mechanisms, you will more than likely make a better choice at the dinner table. You don't have to be boring and eat for function all of the time, but you can't eat for taste all of the time either. You have to find the balance, and science helps balance that equation.
2. Confidence In Your Plan: You've got to believe in what you are doing if you're going to get results. I don't want you to eat a certain way because I or anyone else tells you to do so. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. If you don't believe what you are doing will accomplish your goals, your adherence to a program will not last. I can make all of the promises and tout my credentials and experience all I want, but ultimately you are the one calling the shots. With information comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes confidence. Once you know the way foods impact your internal systems, you'll understand why you should be eating a certain way. Lack of confidence generally results in people jumping from one plan to another. They follow something just until the next hot diet book or issue of their favorite fitness magazine hits the stands, and then drastically change everything. You'll never get results that way. Sure, you need to make minor changes in your program from time to time, but the core foundation should remain based on proven principles, not the latest and greatest fad. Once you understand how the body works, you'll be able to separate valuable breaking research you can incorporate into your overall plan from -- to put it bluntly -- bullshit. And trust me, there is a lot of bullshit out there. That brings us to the next reason…
3. A Strong Bullshit Detector: By the time you finish reading this article, there will be dozens of new gurus, hundreds of new books, and thousands of new articles related to health and fitness. How do you separate the credible information from the bullshit? In my earlier years, I wasted time following various worthless programs because I didn't know any better. I fell for the ridiculous claims and false promises all in the hopes of achieving my physique goals. I wanted to attain them so bad I would try anything. It was only as I progressed in my fitness education that I was able to make wiser decisions and stick to a proven plan. If you rely on established scientific principles, you'll never be disappointed with the results. Most novices who don't bother becoming educated in the field usually jump around from program to program, diet to diet, without ever giving one a long enough time to do its job. They get swindled, and make their important health and fitness decisions solely based on claims. Lose 30 pounds in 30 seconds, sounds good, sign me up. Once you know how the body works, you'll know exactly what you need to do, and can leave the magic pill mentality behind. Trust me there is nothing new under the sun, we know everything we need to know about getting into shape, we just have to apply it if we want real world results. But people are always looking for the next best thing, an easier way, etc.
You don't have to get a Ph.D. in Human Physiology, but you should spend some time learning about basic fitness nutrition topics. That's what this Fitness Nutrition 101 Series is all about. In the following series of articles, I'll attempt to teach you everything you need to know about fitness nutrition so you can make informed decisions. Don't fall asleep, there will be a test at the end.
Author: Nate Miyaki, DIAKADI Trainer