How nutrition can help you improve your performance ?
Actually it is very simple: If you want to have a healthy body you have to eat healthy!
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains provide essential minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, proteins and enzymes that regulate bodily functions and keep our cells healthy. Do you want strong, healthy cells bristling with power or do you want weak, vulnerable cells that surrender when being faced with exhaustion or inflammation? Exactly! Fueling your body with good food will help you train harder, recover quicker and feel better.
After dealing with nutrition for 15 years and trying out different diets I’m now at the point where I know what works best for me. But every body is different and what works for me doesn’t necessarily works for you. However, there are tips that work for everyone and that will help you quickly notice an improvement in your athletic performance:
1) « You are what you eat. So don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake. »
2) Try to cook with fresh, unprocessed and ideally homegrown ingredients. Canned food that expires after years is dead food. How should your body get energy from this?
3) Stay simple! A lot of people push too hard in the beginning and mix all kind of vegetables or fruits. Don’t go with more than four main ingredients for your smoothies or meals.
4) « Listen to your body. It’s smarter than you.” Stop eating when you are 3/4 full. It takes about 20 minutes until our stomach signals us that he had enough. So leave the table when you are still a bit hungry, this will help your body to have a healthier digestion which in turn gives you more energy to do other things, eg. sports.
5) Eat small quantities every three to four hours. Have the biggest meal in the morning and go really mellow at night (don’t eat after 8pm). If you need a snack, grab some nuts or drink a smoothie – they provide you with long-lasting energy.
6) If you are really craving for some sugar, eat fruits. But only an hour or two after your last meal as otherwise it messes up your digestion.
7) Eat mindfully and consciously. Thoroughly chew your food and enjoy the act of nourishing yourself. You will notice that you need less food than before. Also don’t talk too much while you are chewing as it interferes with optimal digestion.
8) « Count chemicals not calories. »
9) You don’t need to eat meat to become a better athlete. (The famous sprinter Carl Lewis is vegan since many years!) You can get your protein from all kind of foods, eg. flaxseeds, chickpeas, beans, eggs, quinoa, rice, almonds, nuts etc. The only thing which is important is that you have protein in every meal, eg. mix flaxseeds with your cereals in the morning, snack some nuts in the afternoon and eat fish with rice in the evening.
10) Keep a food journal. Write down what you are eating every day of the week – like this you can see if your diet is balanced and if you are taking in enough proteins, vitamins etc…
My favorite superfoods:
Himalayan pink sea salt: Most natural, highest degree of minerals (Filtered water is often lacking minerals, simply add a bit of Himalayan salt!)
Apple cider vinegar: Aids digestion
Flaxseeds: Reduces inflammation, great source of protein (add it to smoothie, salad, banana bread etc)
Chia seeds: Loads of nutrients! “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength” (great with chocolate porridge)
Coconut oil: One of the most beneficial saturated fats you can consume. Use it for cooking instead of butter or olive oil. When baking you can replace butter with it.
Quinoa: Great source of protein and gluten-free
Avocado: Includes loads of potassium and magnesium
Almonds: Contains healthy fats, proteins, magnesium and calcium