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 😉
For as far back as I can remember now, we’ve had two tracks of programming. There’s L1, the fitness track, and L2 the performance track. For a while there were even three tracks, one being for ‘competitors.’ That was a mistake, but a good lesson nonetheless! The primary reason for the two tracks is to ensure that we’re covering all bases of fitness for all levels of fitness.
Having two programming tracks also takes care of much of the modifying guidelines you and the coaches need to ensure that you achieve the intended benefits of the workout, which means getting a good workout. And it shows you where you could be going with your fitness. However, you don’t have to, and for a long won’t be, following just one or the other track.
New members are the exception here. You all start on the fitness track because that’s where we build a strong foundation. Depending on how you progress, you could be capable of completing some pieces of the performance track in six months. And as you progress over the years you’ll find yourself having to mix and match between the two tracks to ensure you are progressing. The ability and need to mix and match doesn’t stop there, though.
If you have been following the L2 track for a long time, are able to complete some of the workouts as prescribed, and are still progressing, the L1 track still has benefits for you. The best benefit is arguably a bit of regression work. Dial the technical demand, volume and intensity down a bit to practise good recovery habits and tidy up your fundamental movement patterns.
You do however need to be smart about this. There is no point mixing and matching so much that you end up with an entirely different workout because you won’t progress at all. Scaling up or down too much will have the same effect, and scaling up too much WILL leave you injured. And that’s where the advice of the coaches comes in. While you are ultimately responsible for the direction you take, you are coming to us for a service. You can pay for a good plate of food without eating it, but I’m sure there are better ways of wasting money 😉
On a side note, following the fitness (L1) track doesn’t mean your performance won’t increase, and following the performance track doesn’t mean your fitness won’t increase. They are merely terms we use to describe slightly different methods and stages in your fitness journey.
So blaze your own trail, but heed the advice of your tour guides, the coaches, for a fun but safe journey.
You’re fired up! It’s the start of the new year, you either beginning a new health and fitness journey or carrying on from last year, and you have goals. Your momentum is high, so you’re dialing in your nutrition and getting stuck into training. You’re doing everything you need to, all of the time.
That might not be the best approach.
You certainly need to work towards your goals, but perfection is impossible. Balance, however, is sustainable. What I’ve experienced over the years, in both nutrition and training, is that almost everyone who goes “strict” all the time, even if just for specific periods, ends up going the opposite way. And that usually happens at the end of their set period or after some sort of event–birthdays, holidays, parties, etc.
Whereas those who find a healthy balance of good food and treats experience ongoing results, and are generally happier.
It’s kind of a kid-in-candy-store analogy. A kid who has never been exposed to all those amazing colours and smells is likely to lose their sh*t in a candy store. But a kid who has had some exposure to candy over time is more likely to know what they want and don’t want, find it, and if the parents are smart enough they’ll be out of there!
If you try to keep it strict all of the time, you’re probably going to lose your sh*t like that first kid.
In my opinion, it’s a simple approach. Eat good food (veges, a variety of meats, nuts and seeds, some fruit and starch, a bit of dairy) MOST of the time, and go for less healthy foods (processed foods, takeaways) and sugary treats SOME of the time.
This is striving for sustainable. Excellence is sustainable.
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