The Perfect Diet
The quest for the latest and best diet to offer fast and effective weight-loss results is never ending and while there are many nutrition frameworks that can help you achieve your health and wellness goals, this variety can sometimes be a problem. Each one promises results and inevitably when we don’t see immediate results using one approach, we jump ship and try another.
Let’s have a look at the basic principles of some of the more valid and well-researched options.
The Paleo Diet
The paleo approach to eating is based on scientific research (not just reverting to how our ancestors ate) and encourages a diet full of nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory whole foods including good quality meats, a variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. It generally excludes common dietary irritants such as gluten, dairy, grains and legumes and of course, sugar.
The Zone diet was developed by Dr Barry Sears as a solution to diet-induced inflammation and is also well-researched. While no foods are specifically excluded, Zone principles require a focus on the proportion and quantity of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) you are consuming to maintain an optimal protein to carbohydrate ratio for improved hormone control and balance.
Macros or Flexible Dieting
Flexible dieting or Macros calculates your macronutrient quantities based on your total daily energy expenditure and how much weight you want to lose. Like the name implies, this approach is flexible and doesn’t restrict any foods provided they fit your macronutrient requirements.
A ketogenic diet consists of very low-carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat foods and is well researched as a possible treatment option for type 2 diabetes and for improving health markers associated with metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, insulin resistance cholesterol profile and blood sugar levels). In the absence of blood glucose, which is usually supplied by carbohydrates and excess protein, the body burns ketones for energy, which are produced in the liver from fat stores.
Intermittent fasting is an approach that cycles between periods of fasting and eating and can be more accurately described as an eating pattern since the focus here is on when you eat and not necessarily what you eat.
So which approach works the best? In terms of physiology, you are indeed a unique and special snowflake and what works for your gym buddy won’t necessarily produce the same results for you. So experiment and find the approach that works best for you and understand that it isn’t going to be a quick fix.
Once you have this figured out, the secret is CONSISTENCY.
Consistency is the secret to the perfect diet. The consistent and long-term application of a sustainable nutrition framework that works for YOU. Consistent training that you enjoy and consistently making an effort to manage the other variables that impact on your health like stress, sleep, family and friends and environment.
Consistent doesn’t mean perfect. Just consistently good enough for most of the time
One of the reasons sports became such spectacles is the apparently unpredictable nature of the event. The bounce of the ball could go any way, the environment has an effect on the outcome, and each athlete experiences unexpected rises and troughs. Perhaps this is why so many analogies are drawn between sports and life. When you really look at it, though, sports are in fact very predictable.
You know how long and how far it will go, the rules are defined, and there are even particular seasons for each sport. Whereas life is truly unpredictable. There are arguably only two aspects of life that you know are going to happen; change and death. And you don’t even know when that will happen!
You’re not participating in a sport in your training sessions. If you’re competing or working towards competing at Regional or Games level, it sure is your sport. But what you’re doing in your training sessions is a health and fitness program. Health and fitness for life, and life has no off-season.
Yes, the Open is over and many of you participated in it. Yes it’s the Easter holiday season. And yes, we are doing fitness testing. We’re in this for the long haul, and life goes on! We do keep you updated on the program, though, so you knew we were at the tail of this training block 😉
On that note, the training blocks aren’t designed to be aligned with the Open. We’re always working on your endurance a.k.a cardio, regardless of the time of year. Each block simply has a few particular foci to ensure we’re covering all your bases. Safeguarding your health and fitness through aging is the overarching goal. Sacrificing your endurance to be stronger from April to October would be opposing that goal. Side note, more Regional aspiring athletes should probably spend the Games off-season working on their endurance instead of starting strength programs…..
You also have to deal with whatever life brings you, and that often means doing the stuff you don’t like so much. If all you ever did in training was what you liked, wanted and assumed was good for you, you wouldn’t achieve much, and that’s why you come to facilities like these 😉
With the Open coming up and thanks to the billion local competitions happening, a question often asked in class is “what’s the standard for this movement?” In events, like the Open, movement standards are used to define the prescribed task and to standardise the tasks to ensure that all participants are subject to the same requirements. All sports have standards; out of bounds lines, scoring positions, infringements, etc. And it’s all for the same purpose–to create a level playing field.
What we do in class, however, is not a sport. It’s training. One of the reasons you participate in a sport, like the Open, is to test the fitness you’ve developed in training. Therefore, there are no standards in training.
Before you take that and run (a bigger) riot in class, that does not mean you’re free to do whatever floats your boat in training. We teach you particular positions in training because they are the safest positions that will also yield the best results quickly. We spend most of our time in those fundamental positions, such as feet shoulder width in the squat, and when we’ve developed consistently good mechanics with intensity we freestyle it by playing with positions to suit the workout while increasing our skill level. We also drill good range of motion (RoM) in training because it pertains to improving your fitness.
So if we had to use phrases to define the difference, there are competition standards versus movement in training. What you should recognise is that consistently good movement in training naturally gives you high competition standards.
To go back to what we do in training, testing forms a part of evaluating training progress. When we do fitness testing in sessions, we do use some standards to ensure that you have a consistent and measurable baseline to track changes against.
In training, focus on consistently good positions. If you enter a competition, adhere to the movement standards to avoid no-reps. In training, there are no no-reps (unless we’re testing fitness ;-)).
We’ve all had nights where we just can’t seem to fall asleep. You didn’t have caffeine, it was a busy day, you don’t have much on your mind at all, and you are ready to sleep. Yet you just can’t doze off. What do you do to help you fall asleep? In general, you try several things.
You might read, count your breaths, try to control your breathing or count sheep. Perhaps you have a glass of warm milk and some baked treats in the hope of inducing a carb coma. Or maybe you go looking for earplugs and eye patches? Whatever the approach/es, you tried hard but to no avail.
It was just sleep. Why are given so many approaches to make such a natural habit ‘work’?
It’s a common trait, though. You’ve got to work hard to get stuff done, yeah? Nah, not always.
Until you’ve acquired mastery, performing a movement requires a conscious effort. But more often than not, you try too hard to learn or improve a movement. You become so focused on getting it right that you almost freeze up. I call it paralysis by analysis. Your CNS either becomes so lit up that you become to rigid to move, or there are too many messages coming from the brain for the body to make sense and nothing happens when you try to.
That’s what happens in the moment. What follows is lots of ‘work’ to make you better. Learn more progressions, do more reps, watch more videos. You keep trying harder. Do you remember what eventually got you to sleep? Unlikely. What probably happened is that you gave up trying, and then fell asleep.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t try. In movement if you don’t try you won’t know. What I’m saying is that you should try differently. Think about it before you move, and when you do move, just move. Think about one to two things only. Ride the good and bad days. Accept the process for what it is–a process. Do less, it’s more. Chill out, the world will keep turning!