Train Loco Nation! Today we have an awesome guest post by our friend and colleague, Mohamed Bouaziz. One thing that we are huge advocates of is sticking to the basics when it comes to nutrition. You tend to see a lot of people want to jump on the latest fad diet, eat magical foods, save all their carbs for at night, etc. But time and time again, the basics of nutrition have worked for a long time. So we asked Mohamed to do a guest post on this topic. Without further ado, let’s let Mohamed drop some knowledge bombs on performance nutrition basics.
– Chris and Eric
Hi, my name is Mohamed Bouaziz. I am an ISSN qualified performance nutrition consultant, self-taught chef and an amateur boxing athlete. In this article, I hope to awaken you to the fruits of the fitness industry and will undoubtedly give you some great pointers about performance nutrition in respect to your health and fitness goals.
Sometimes, it is powerful to put things into perspective by addressing the importance of basics, basics and more basics. Some of you may be newborn fitness fanatics, however. Have you actually tried to understand basic principles of biochemistry and physiology before embarking on a complex nutrition or physical program? Some may be lucky to work with experienced practitioners but how about those of you that doesn’t? I would recommend to keep reading.
I find research fascinating and I love learning the underlying molecular biology of how nutrition can facilitate training adaptations, body composition improvements, and sports performance. However, as a practitioner, basics are the most valuable skills in my toolbox. Macronutrient splits and beta alanine dosage are awesome when working with athletes who lie in the 1% of population. At the elite level, complex periodization in nutrition and training may be the difference between a gold medal and bronze medal classification. Still, for the majority of people, consistency in basics can go a long way toward achieving success.
Food has been part of human culture and tradition for way to long for us to be rewriting the laws of human nutrition. Our hunter gatherer ancestors, alongside our most recent empires all had food central to their beliefs and lifestyle. There was love and community and family engagement in food farming, production to the final platter on the table, something that is seen as “old school”. What happened to the cyclical passage of food education from grandmother to mother to daughter? We are now surrounded by supermarkets who promote beautifully packaged artificial poison, and unfortunately, millions of children growing up overweight and physically disabled from overeating, immobility, and poor food education form their environment. Malnourished youths are fed nutrient poor and energy dense food that has left society on the edge of a killer epidemic. Educate your family, kids and spread the simple information that can save lives.
Mother Nature has blessed us with phenomenal variety of sustenance, yet we have diverged from our ancestral predecessors who were far from malnourished. Unfortunately, today’s calorie counting generation requires more conditioning when it comes to food education. My responsibility as a practitioner is to educate innovative and creative ways of engaging individuals with nourishing cuisine. I believe that breeding an interesting in food education, preparation and presentation is the key step toward offsetting the imminent obesogenic climate. Without doubt, it is a medicine for those who know how to use it correctly. Scientific studies are not necessary to teach us our evolutionary traits in feeding and food culture.
The fitness industry keeps increasing in interest and it has spawned a generation of selfie taking and gym apparel breeding fanatics. The unfortunate thing is that some literature in sports science is young, whereby solid long term well controlled and designed studies are very few. This leaves a lot of room for twitter debates and scientific wars between shredded athletes and academics, who by the way have to perform soul testing and expensive research for months on end. Let us leave the research to more experienced academics and practitioners and let the elite lifters argue over the best method of muscle hypertrophy. From my experience, I believe that nutrition is one of many context dependent tools that should be embedded within a lifestyle. And when balanced alongside other requirements of living, it can lead us all to physical and psychological vitality. For this to occur, education is vital.
In health and fitness, the word lifestyle has recently begun to overtake the dieting principle. Yes diets don’t work, period! Diets promote extremes and extremes are a no go for an average person who wants to be healthy and look good naked. If you’re an athlete who’s nutrition needs are predetermined by training and competition needs, then strict protocols are necessary. Are you the kind of person who has only been training a few months and have decided to compete? Be realistic! Fix your body from the inside out and then start adding layers of muscle, spray tan and makeup. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho emphasizes that knowledge gained on the journey is more important than arriving at the destination. Nonetheless, social media is full of ‘’experts’’ and egos. Today’s culture of ultimate performance and physique perfection has left many inexperienced individuals in lost in a whirlwind of various dieting fads, quick fix plans, ”super-efficient” anabolic stimulants and ”quick slimming” weight loss products, to name a few. The secret is that there is NO secret!
So, you must be wondering what my thoughts are on achieving the highest standard naked physique. If you are expecting data, hypotheses and significant results….. stop reading now!
In no particular order.
Whole food: Approximately 80% of the food you eat should come from fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds. Meat eaters should consume high quality, lean protein sources with complete amino acid profiles. Even though non meat eaters can achieve high protein levels from a whole food diet, plant based protein supplements may be important in the athletic subgroup. I believe that a mixed meal of carbohydrates, fats and high quality protein is more powerful than a post workout whey/carbohydrate shake. Certainly, convenience matters and the shake may prove handy in some instances. Essentially, you must prioritize a single ingredient and micronutrient rich feeding behavior and make supplémentation a Plan G!
Gastrointestinal (GI) Health: Food consumed doesn’t equate food absorbed. So you may be eating 200g of protein per day, but how much of it is utilized in our beloved protein synthetic pathways? Through the consumption of prebiotic and probiotic rich foods, you can slowly rebuild your gut health and general immunity. (Fermented foods such as tempeh, natural yoghurt, kefir, Sauerkraut are just a few examples. Known as lacto-fermentation, this ingenious process breeds cultures of good bacteria that will out colonise the bad ones and the good news is, it is so easy to prepare at home. Many fruits and vegetables are naturally prebiotic including raw chicory root, garlics, leeks and onions, so think twice before you ingest a pill and capsule.
Activity: Resistance builds muscle and endurance will ruin those gains, right? Wrong! Let the elite bodybuilders argue over the crossover principles, and just focus on regularly stimulating your cells.
Sleep: Focus on getting good quality sleep. You’ve heard it many times but believe me, it is critical for all things involving physical and psychological recovery.
Hydration: Maintain solid hydration levels through the day. Im not just talking bottled H20. Fruits and vegetables will contribute hugely to those daily goals. Dehydration by as little as 2% of body weight can cause a huge loss in work capacity.
Extremes: Avoid extreme dieting techniques, e.g., very low carb or very high fat, liquid dieting, prolonged fasting etc.
Stress: Stress kills. Try allocating good quality down time alone and with loved ones. Family is everything! Please spend less time worrying about rep ranges, intra workout BCAA’s and which brand of whey protein is the best….…
So in general, my conclusion comes back to how I started. Basics! I hope I put some things into perspective and hope to have clarified that in the context of sports performance, food is extremely powerful. Some see food as a tool while others see it as art. I’m definitely a huge advocate of the latter. At Med Nutrition, food is art. I want to encourage you to transform your kitchen into a thriving lab of flavors, smells and ingredients. This way I can guarantee you will laugh and love your way into good health, and your dream physique will ultimately follow.
Mohamed Bouaziz BSc (Hons), CISSN, Dip.ISSN
Adapt Remodel Performance Nutrition
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