I work with a lot of people who are very active and many of them are training for a specific event or sport. I have found that most of these people are very concerned about what they eat and how. And they should be – proper nutrition is essential to performing at your best.
However, I find that a lot of people don’t eat enough food for both the training and recovery process. A typical diet would be some kind of a smoothie or shake in the morning, a salad for lunch, then a bigger meal for dinner. While this might be a healthy diet for someone who isn’t active, it’s not enough calories to drive performance and recovery.
I have even had patients who start losing fat as they eat more food. If your body doesn’t have enough nutrients for the activity level you are maintaining, it will constantly hold onto the fuel it gets if you don’t give it enough.
There are a lot of ways to add healthy calories to your diet. For example, a breakfast protein shake or smoothie is typically low in calories. You can add a lot of extra stuff to your morning shake, like nut butters, chia seeds, and meal replacement powders, to increase the nutrients and calories for your body. A typical shake might only have 200-300 calories, which isn’t enough to make it all the way to lunch.
You want to make sure you are eating healthy if you start eating more – fruits, veggies, lean meat and whole grains are a good start. Also, eating good fats from almonds and avocados are great for you. Focus more on the calorie dense items to get the most out of the food you are eating. Vegetables need to be an important part of your diet, but eating an extra cup of lettuce won’t get you as many nutrients as an additional avocado, for example.
The tricky part about all of this is figuring out how much food you should be eating. If you need help figuring out a good plan for your meals and what to eat, give us a call at 949-387-0060. We offer a free consultation to discuss your options.