So let’s start by talking about the process of your body taking creatine kinase and phosphate in the ATP-PCr energy system to create adenosine triphosphate….
Just kidding. You really don’t need to know that. However lets face it, there are a lot of people out there who over complicate the system for pretty well no good reason and I’m personally not sure why but sadly it’s out there, between whether or not you should detox, the voodoo magic that is referred to as creatine, how protein magically turns you into a pro body builder, or that magical new discovery that’s conveniently in pill form and for sale that shreds literally all of your hard to burn fat away in 4 easy payments of $59.99 that automatically renews if you don’t cancel in a week.
Long story short there’s a lot of garbage “sales” sounding information floating around that doesn’t make a whole ton of sense. I’m here to make sense of it all, starting with a foundation of nutrition and supplementation!
Alright so you’ve either been at the gym a while or you just started and things are going great! So you think to yourself, it’s time to start eating a little healthier.,which is awesome! So you type healthy eating into google and get a little over 700 million results….. well f*ck now where do we start? Well let’s keep it simple.
All food is made up of calories. A calorie is a unit of energy, so food is basically measured by how much energy it can give you. This is composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats — proteins and carbs at 4 calories per gram and fats at 9 calories per gram, with a few small exceptions.
When it comes to eating, protein and fats are focus number one because they’re literally essential for survival. Your body can’t make them; you have to eat them. When it comes to protein, aim to eat about 0.6 times your body weight in grams of protein. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds you’ll want to eat 90 grams of protein a day from any source you’d like, whether its cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, fish, beef, chicken, chick peas, or lentils. Long story short, you have options and a quick look at the nutrition facts of what you eat will help you ensure you’re getting enough food to fuel yourself and your recovery!
Next is fats. Fats, also known as fatty acids, are the next essential nutrient for the system. About 0.3 times your body weight is good on fats, which you can get from anything you want that isn’t a trans fat. So things like coconut, peanuts, almonds, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil etc. are all great choices.
Last is carbs. Carbs are amazing for you so don’t shy away from them. Just do your best to avoid sugar and you’re golden. Carbs are designed to provide energy to the body. The body can make its own energy from proteins and fats but if you’re fairly active and going to the gym, extra energy helps. Then, if you’re looking to gain weight and get stronger, progressively eat more and more carbs until you’re gaining a little weight per week and boom you’re good. Do the exact opposite for losing weight.
And finally we come to supplements. Supplements aren’t as fancy as they seem but they’re incredibly effective. They make up for any lacking points in the diet or any specific desires you have, like better recovery, better sleep, and more energy, or making up for not eating a lot or if you could use some extra protein in your day. I won’t go in too much further than that on supplements in this article since I’ve given you a ton to think about but I’ll go in further in future articles. To keep it simple, when you’re looking at supplements ask yourself what you want them to do for you or what gaps in your diet do you want to make up for. That will determine if you’ll benefit from a protein powder or a multivitamin etc.
Hopefully you have a little bit of a better understanding of your body’s needs for nutrients and where they come from!
Written by Nick Bowman, BSc Biochem, Holistic Nutritionist, Pn1