What at-home training has taught us about nutrition

I think most people think that they have a handle on their nutrition habits. A lot of people will say “yeah I eat well I usually have salads for lunch” or “I will eat well during the week and relax more at weekends”. Ok so you may have had a handle on things in your usual routine but unfortunately your routine was destroyed. Routine is a beautiful thing and we fundamentally crave routine and our body works around routines (circadian rhythms, sleep cycles and protein turnover) so a routine is key to good nutrition practices.

LESSON 1: HAVE A ROUTINE FOR YOUR NUTRITION

Having a work and a social routine ultimately gives you an eating routine, you wake up and have breakfast at 7, mid-morning fruit snack at 10, lunch at 12.30, mid-afternoon vegetable snack at 4 and then dinner at 6. A routine like that works around your work and social commitments and keeps you in a healthy routine. When you’re at home however, how easy is it to just take a trip to the fridge every hour? Thinking to yourself “yes I will have just a little bit of brie to tie me over” then before you know it you’ve eaten half a wedge of brie in a day (I promise I’m not writing this from personal experience). The reason why intermittent fasting protocols are popular is that it is based around routine, even the paradigm of “little meals often” is based around routine. When you don’t have a good routine for your nutrition it’s easy to eat over your required calories. Avoid over-eating and avoid feelings of boredom by creating a sustainable eating routine.

LESSON 2: AVOID BUYING SELF INDULGENT FOODS

Dr John Berardi founder of Precision Nutrition has an amazing quote “If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate, will eventually eat it”. HOW TRUE WAS THIS OVER LOCKDOWN? You would do your weekly shop and whilst you may have plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit and free-range meat, I am willing to bet you bought your fair share of ice cream tubs too. Now I just want to add a little caveat at this stage, very few foods are inherently bad, it’s the volume and enthusiasm with which you eat them that makes it bad. So that tub of ice cream you add into your shopping cart, those croissants and favourite crisps WILL get eaten and usually eaten quickly. If your goal is to lose body fat, just do yourself a favour and don’t buy these foods or if you do, buy them in portion size quantities. If you buy the big tubs of ice cream and big packets of crisps then you will eat all of it. Losing body fat or building muscle is a marathon not a sprint and the journey is always worth the sacrifice. Stop buying these foods and after a while you won’t even crave them anymore. It will help you meet your target for protein intake, vegetables and fibre too.

LESSON 3: TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR FOOD

Taking pictures of your food can be a really beneficial practice for a few reasons. Firstly, you can see how big your portion sizes are compared to the recommended sizes (click here to see our handy portion guide), secondly, you can see how colourful your plate is. The more colour you have on your plate, the better because colour = vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. Yes it is important to hit your calories target and macronutrients but getting plenty of micronutrients is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Thirdly, you can track your behaviours. Remember that last Thursday when the kids were driving you mad? Notice what you ate then compared to the days when you are more relaxed and stress-free. Nutrition is more than just calories and macros it’s a habit and behavioural based practice that will allow you to live a flexible and healthy life whilst still enjoying yourself.

LESSON 4: KNOW YOUR CALORIES

The final lesson we learned from training at home is to know your calories. When you are in an environment that has easy access to many energy dense foods, it is crucial you know your calorie intake. We recommend using My Fitness Pal App or you can use this online calculator from Precision Nutrition here: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weight-loss-calculator. Whilst many might see knowing your calories as another inconvenience, actually it’s empowering you to achieve the results you want without living a restrictive lifestyle. That means you can go out for a big BBQ meal for your mates birthday and the next day eat a bit less to maintain your daily average. It also allows you to have a slice of cake after a healthy day eating and stay on target. Remember knowledge is power and you should see it that way.

These 4 points should give you a great foundation to get a hold of your nutrition. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask one of our PT’s or click here: https://sandownsports.co.uk/personal-training/ to enquire about our personal training services.