How important is nutrition to you? Figuring the foundation of life is built upon the concept of nutrition, it should be a priority for all of us. Nutrition is about more than your dietary preferences. There are multiple factors that add up to overall nutrition and health. Brian MacKenzie, of Power Speed Endurance and XPT Life, shares some insight and tips for improving nutrition and body performance by focusing on two key components of nutrition, hydration and food.
Importance of Hydration
A key aspect of nutrition that many people don’t talk about is hydration. In reality, hydration should sit at the forefront of any nutrition program. Without hydration, we would last about 3 days. Without food, we would last roughly 30 days; that alone shows just how vital hydration is to life. Try starting your day off with a 20-30oz glass of water. Brian adds Himalayan pink salt, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 3CARB to his for added benefit. When focusing on hydration, it’s important to find carbohydrates that slowly and steadily shuttle water into cells and keep it there for intracellular hydration, which is why Brian chooses to add 3CARB. Not all carbohydrates work the same, some carbs like sugar shuttle water in and out very rapidly which adds no benefit for intracellular hydration.
Put it to the test. Brian suggests implementing this hydration routine for some time and then stopping for a few days. Notice how your body feels when you are not hydrating properly.
Real Food Sources
No matter what your dietary preferences are – vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, or gluten-free – it’s important to make sure you’re getting your food from real sources and not consuming processed foods. One of the biggest culprits is sugar. If sugar is a part of your daily diet- whether you are an athlete or not- you aren’t understanding nutrition entirely. Not only does sugar have no essential nutrients but it also leads to obesity and diseases like cancer and diabetes. It’s important to make sure we not only take into account what we are eating but also whether the food source is real or processed.
Beyond choosing real food sources, what a person should eat depends on the individual. Everyone’s body processes food differently. Some thrive on red meat, some on fowl, and others on fish. It’s a good idea to be aware of what you put in and see how your body responds to different foods in order to get an understanding of what works best for you. Your gut will tell you a lot about your health.
Are you a Glucose or Fat Dominant Athlete?
In other terms, which fuel source are you burning more efficiently, glucose or fat? Which category an athlete falls into is influenced by diet and food source. For example, you can consume glucose in the form of fresh fruit or processed sugar, and you can consume fats from healthy sources like almonds or from sources like fried food. Both options fall into the same category of either glucose or fat but where the food is coming from has a big impact on how the body responds. If your body doesn’t know how to break down fat, you will become a more glucose dominant athlete which means your body will break down lean tissue a lot quicker. The goal is to get our bodies in a place where we burn fat all day long.
A good way to become a fat dominant athlete and kick-start your body’s fat burning process is through gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis occurs when the body needs energy but the glucose stores that the body usually turns to have been depleted. In order to produce energy the body needs to function, it will turn to other non-carbohydrate sources for fuel such as fat and protein. Fasting is one way to achieve gluconeogenesis and allow the body to break down fat as a fuel source in an efficient manner.
One of the biggest questions is, how often should I be eating? The answer is simple, when you’re hungry. If you’re always hungry and you don’t live a very active lifestyle where you move constantly throughout the day, there’s a good chance you are eating a lot of high glycemic carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrates process quickly, empty out, and send the message to your brain of “I need to eat again”. Make sure you are ingesting the right kinds of food that don’t cause this sort of response in your body to occur. After that is taken into account and you are eating wholesome foods, paying attention to your own hunger cycle is paramount. Some people eat less frequent, bigger meals and some people work much better with frequent, smaller meals. Since everyone’s body operates differently, try out a few different options and see which one allows your body to function at the highest level.