One of the four key points of the Relentless Success Pyramid (notice that all of the points are the same size?) is “Supportive Nutrition”. When we talk about Supportive Nutrition, we’re not talking about a diet plan with massive avoidance of certain foods, although there are probably some things you should stay away from, nor is it some sort of short-term crash diet designed to shed pounds as fast as possible, although to drop fat you’re probably going to have to eat a little less.
What we are talking about is the nutrition principle that we believe that food should be utilized to in some way support your goals. That’s it. While we get into much deeper nutrition with some of our clients, for most people’s goals the lion’s share is going to be an appropriate amount of standard, healthy (but still should be tasty) fare.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your food; there’s even a place for less “health food”. That place could be a bit of a mental reset or if you’re in a severe state of energy need. Trust me, coming from someone who has tried to consume 1000g of carbohydrate from only healthy, complex, and fibrous sources in the past… don’t do that. Just don’t. For a quick gut check (pun intended), just ask yourself if the food you’re about to consume is going to take you closer or further from your goals.
Since everyone likes specifics, these are some of the basic guidelines we utilize for 99% of clients at Relentless. The Supportive Nutrition Foundation Principles:
1. Eat lean protein with every meal. Most people don’t eat enough protein, unless they come from a bodybuilding background, in which case they probably eat too much. For the normal, hard training but otherwise sedentary adult this is simply going to be about one normal-sized serving of lean meat, dairy (IF you tolerate it well), or a legume mix with every meal. Getting enough quality protein is easier to accomplish if you eat four to five times per day. If you only eat your three squares, that’s fine, but you might have to focus the portions a bit.
2. Eat lots of multi-colored vegetables. Almost nobody eats enough vegetables, so load your plate with them. Then when you think you have enough on there, add more. Not only will this give you a shit-ton of important nutrients, but it’ll also help keep you from overeating on things that you shouldn’t. Everyone only has so much willpower, and hunger (and secret malnourishment from low nutrient quality intake) is one of the primary killers of it.
3. Eat plenty of healthy fats from wild and/or pastured meats and fish, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, eggs, macadamia nut oil (a favorite of mine), and other nuts and seeds. This fat will provide energy but it’s also one of the primary building blocks (along with protein) of your cells. Being deficient in healthy fats can have a profound effect on your body composition, hormone profile, and other aspects of your overall health. Basically you’ll have less muscle, feel like crap, have the sex drive of an eighty year-old (and not one of the cool, hip ones), and have bad hair, skin, and nails. Just eat some good fats.
4. Eat energy foods such as starchy carbohydrates or higher fat sources (fattier meats, etc) as you need them. If you are or recently trained hard or are operating at a high level of energy, then you simply will need more food. Use these foods to fill in the gaps. For a football player doing double sessions during training camp, that may mean a LOT of these types of food. For someone who trains a few times a week and is pretty much hanging out at their desk the rest of their life (fix that!) then it means not nearly so much. If you need it, eat it. If you don’t, don’t.
Bonus points if you choose high quality energy foods that also can fill nutrient requirements from one of the first three principles!
5. Hydrate. Drink more clean water than you are now. There’ll be more posts in the future on water, but for right now just assume that you’re not drinking enough and drink more.
Nutrition doesn’t need to be nearly as complex as people make it out to be for all but the very specialized athletes. If your nutrition is in line, your strength training is in line, and your mindset and progress are lined up and moving forward, you’ll get where you want to be.
Make sure to sign up on the right if you want to see a video on how we utilize Supportive Nutrition and the other pieces of the Relentless Success Pyramid to build your athletic, healthy, and high-performing body and mind!