As dedicated athletes we all know how much of a ball ache it can be to eat correctly all the time. Unexpected events pop up, your mother-in-law invites you over for a lovely 3 course scoff fest and you don’t have heart to say no and to go with these are a thousands more reasons as to why you may stray off the beaten track! So when you DO make the effort and deflect any excuse which is lobbed at you it stands to reason you want the very best results right? In that case you need to learn how to make your food work HARD for you! You do all the shopping, the preparation as well as spend the money to get it into you fridge, now it is time to make your food work for you! Here are my top 3 tips to making every gram and calorie you eat go that extra bit further for you!
When it comes to eating your food, the timing you apply can be critical to your success. It is one thing having the right food to hand; it is quite another knowing when it is you need to eat what. Having ‘fruit’ in the day because it is ‘healthy’ for instance isn’t going to give you the best results. This could in fact promote fat gains and affect your overall rate of anabolism! Instead, have some pineapple, kiwi fruit or strawberries in a morning smoothie or with your egg whites to get the antioxidants and vitamins whilst also utilising the sugary carbohydrates.
With red meat, don’t eat it with your pre-workout meal because it will sit in your stomach for a long time due to the higher fat content, potentially causing you to underperform in the gym. Instead, have it as your evening post-workout meal because the fats will prolong the rate of digestion, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and the fats will also help boost your testosterone levels. After intense resistance exercise your testosterone levels can dip, therefore this makes perfect timing to have a food which will help spike them once again!
There are just two very simple examples of how eating the same food at different times of the day can have remarkably different results to your physique and health!
Making the food edible so it doesn’t hospitalise you is all that cooking counts for right? Not quite! Cooking your food in different ways can vastly change the amount of nutrients it has left. For example, vegetables are far better steamed than boiled. Why? Because by boiling them you often entice a massive proportion of the nutrient profile out of the food. In fact the water in which you cooked the food is often more nutritious than the veg by the time you have cooked it!
Another example is over cooking meat. If you allow your meat to burn and cremate it you are risking the chance of damaging the amino acid profiles of the food. This makes the food far less anabolic for you! Not many people opt to toast their meat I know, but some do allow their meat to be burned by leaving it in the pan for too long!
Again here are two very simple ways in which you can make your food work that bit harder for you!
This is where it gets a little bit more complicated. However, we can keep it basic enough that even my stubborn old grandma could understand it! If you are having your last meal and you’re dieting, you don’t want a meal which will keep you full for just a couple of hours! You need ingredients which will help keep your rumbling stomach happy for hours! Therefore you need to opt for a protein source such as beef, yet you can also add some cottage cheese, Udo’s Choice oil and even some almond butter. What you are doing here is combining an array of healthy fat sources to really prolong the rate at which your body will break down your meal.
On the flip side, if mass gaining is your current goal then you might want to try a combination such as the following. Chicken breast, brown rice with veg and more importantly some pineapple. Why? The pineapple will help spike your insulin levels, which in turn will hopefully maximise the nutrient shuttle into the muscle cell. As this occurs your muscles will be able to absorb more of the amino acids, thus promoting faster muscle recovery and growth.
These are very simple things you can do to make your food give that little bit extra when you need it most!