And other common Nutrition misconceptions debunked, by Tone House Registered Sports Dietitian Ryan Turner.
“Carbohydrates and fat are the enemy”
Carbs are our main source of energy. On the Turf, your body is utilizing carbohydrates while you’re training at a higher heart rate. When your heart rate is higher, your body is low on oxygen. You start breathing heavier to push out carbon dioxide and pull in more oxygen. As more demand is placed on your body, it looks for a quick fuel source that requires the least effort to break down for energy, enter carbohydrates (vs protein or fat); the body wants to work efficiently and this is how it does it.
Fat is not the preferred energy source during training because it takes more work for the body to use it as energy (future blog post on the Keto diet coming soon.) However, fat is necessary. Only a small subset of the population should be following a low-fat diet – and no one needs a high-fat diet. Fat is used to produce hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and estrogen which are all necessary for a healthy body and to see results from your workouts. The amount of carbs and fat is different for everyone and their preferred lifestyle. If you’d like to learn what yours are, shoot me an email! #dontfearthecarb and #dontfearthefat!
“You need to count calories and macros to see results”
Short answer – you definitely do not. I like to educate athletes about macros with the mindset of you’re eating food, not numbers. With that said, calorie intake still matters and understanding how much protein, carbs, or fat your unique body needs is good practice. Pick up a measuring cup occasionally to see what a portion of certain foods are – it can help you evaluate when you’re eating out if you’re getting too much of one thing or not enough of another.
It’s incredibly important to listen to your body, if you’re hungry after training on the Turf, you should eat. If you feel satiated during a meal, put your fork down and save the rest for another time. On the flip side as an athlete, you may not feel hungry directly after a workout (it’s a very normal thing) – but at that time you should be pushing protein and carbs into your body for optimal recovery (within 30 minutes is ideal.)
The quick, fast casual meals that I see many people choosing to save time during the workday tends to be low protein (because it’s cheaper and easier for those establishments to sell large amounts of starchier foods). If you only rely on those meals or even skip meals/snacks you aren’t consuming an optimal amount of protein, carbs, fiber, or beneficial fats. Understanding macros aren’t about restricting foods – it’s about making sure you’re getting enough of each category and optimizing your eating habits.
“You need to ‘eat clean’ and boring to see results”
Nope. Untrue. Wrong. “Clean eating” is just a trendy term, it really doesn’t mean anything. You could say, “more whole foods,” “less added sugar,” “lower saturated fat,” or “less refined and minimally processed” – those can actually be defined. Think of your eating habits like saving money: if you lead a lifestyle going only back and forth from work and penny pinching, you’ll likely save money versus splurging frequently. With nutrition, if you only eat chicken breast, sweet potato, avocado and never go enjoy a meal out with friends – you’ll likely control your calories and maintain whatever your nutrition goals may be. However, food is meant to be enjoyed, food is tradition, food is comforting, food is culture. We just need to understand our food and what we need as an individual.
The average “unclean” fast casual or restaurant meal can range from 600-1000 calories. Depending on your goals, those portion sizes may need to be adjusted, but by no means should you not eat those foods. I’ll be the first one to tell you to eat your tacos, go out for ramen, grab that sandwich (with a side salad or fruit) – just make decisions that are appropriate for what your goals are. I’m here to help – just ask how you can work the foods you enjoy into your lifestyle. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m happy to help.