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Eat Whatever You Want, Just Workout More! Right?
In the words of Lee Corso, "Not So Fast!"
So, you are ready to get fit and your workout frequency & volume it is as big as it’s ever been. Many individuals around the world still adopt and prescribe to the conventional thinking that because an athlete is training high volume, he/she can eat whatever they want. This could not be further from the truth.
One of the most common situations I encounter in coaching individuals around the world is that individuals that are working out a lot are becoming increasingly frustrated because they are either not losing weight, or worse yet, they are actually gaining weight. I understand and empathize with those that have experienced this. This becomes very frustrating for athletes because they are not getting the return on their investment of time.
The reality is that many individuals choose to workout a lot in order to lose weight and reduce body fat. The last thing an athlete wants is to train more than they ever have and end up heavier and “softer” as compared to when their training was significantly less. Adopting the “eat whatever you want” philosophy, no matter how much you train, can easily lead to increases in body weight and body fat percentage. Let’s review a few principles that will help you increase the return on your investment of time so you can become lighter, leaner and have the best performances of your life.
- Not every calorie is the same: as I discussed in Rx Nutrition, “if it was as easy as calories in versus calories out, it would be that easy”; sure, total caloric intake is important, but, it is not the most important. If an individual’s “magic number” in terms of calories is 2500, this is only one small piece to the puzzle. How do you manage this 2500 cal? What is the proper frequency? How much of this should be carbohydrate/protein/fat? What is the proper nutrient timing? If we consume the 2500 cal over four meals as compared to six meals, is this the same? Now, you can probably start to see, based on these questions, that it is much more in depth than simply “calories in versus calories out.” As an Ironman athlete, proper nutrition is critical for recovery and performance.
- Pre-workout fuel does matter: all too often, individuals think, ‘If I do not eat before my workout, I’ll burn more calories and lose more weight.’ On the surface, this almost seems to make sense, but this is a huge error in one’s nutrition life. Pre-workout fuel is one of the keys to success in terms of performance, recovery & body composition. Workout on a full take of gas (this does not mean a belly full of junk; rather, good quality pre-workout fuel as described in your 9Round Nutrition) and you will set yourself up for success.
- Your mindset is key: you just finished a long week of good workouts. Too often, athletes have the mindset that “I deserve to eat what I want; I trained X-amount of hours this week!” Well, here’s the reality, no matter how much you train, if we as athletes choose to eat the ‘not-so-good’ foods (and too much of it), it can definitely come back and haunt us. No matter what your fitness level, think of your body as a high-end racecar. To keep your racecar performing optimally, you have to keep it fueled with high octane. Your body is no different. By modifying your mindset, you will begin to make better food choices that will lead to improved recovery and performance.
As an athlete, you spend a lot of time working out. You focus on your workouts, you are disciplined and you get up early each day to make sure you complete the training to get to your goals. Now, let’s start to use this same laser-like focus when it comes to your nutrition. The reality is this, no matter how well an athlete trains, if his/her nutrition is not dialed in tight, results will be subpar. Not to mention, one’s body composition goals will not become a reality. Treat your body right and the sky is the limit for you in terms of body composition and performance!
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year