27 Mar How to fuel yourself for success
Nutrition can make or break your performance. Unfortunately, this topic is marred with misinformation or even flat out lies. So the goal of this blog post today is to provide you with facts and a practical approach on how you can use Nutrition to fuel your performance. This means I will use a scientifically, evidence based approach with regard for the social and emotional role Nutrition plays in our lives. Because, let’s face it, food is much more than just fuel for your body and if we neglect the social and emotional aspects of it we only set ourselves up to fail.
That’s why at High Performance Coaching we prefer to use the 80/20 method. Where 80% of your choices are focused on increasing performance and health and 20% of your food choices are for pleasure or celebration. This approach still stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain while reinforcing the positive self-esteem that comes with making overall healthy and High Performance choices.
Before we dive into the how, you might be wondering if Nutrition can really impact your performance? Because, although it’s common knowledge for athletes to dial in their Nutrition to increase their performance, professionals are more likely to neglect their Nutritional choices because they believe it will save them time. What they don’t realize is that how you feel and operate is up to 45% related to your last meal. You really are what you eat!
A great example of this is a 2004 experiment by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver where he changed a school’s menu to have more protein, vegetables and fruits, while drastically lower the amount of saturated fats and processed foods. Within a month the teachers noticed a significant difference in student’s attention spans, memory, overall behavior and in their test scores. So if simple school lunches have this great of an impact, what do you think your food choices have on you?
Now that we have established the impact food has on you and your performance it’s time to see how we can get the most benefit out of our Nutrition. Just like the 3 other High Performance Pillars (Movement, Mindset and Recovery) I created 4 levels for High Performance Nutrition.
On average the human body is for 60% made up out of water and the brain for 80%. It’s safe to say that hydration is critical for performance and your overall health.
Being well hydrated will boost your immune system, remove toxins from your body, assist in your digestion, improve your energy levels and increase your mental and physical performance.
That’s why we start by focusing on drinking 2 to 3l water a day. This number will vary from person to person. The easiest way to know if you are well hydrated is to look at the color of your urine. If it’s colorless or slightly yellow, your fluid intake is probably on point.
- Portion Control
In general the typical Western meals are high in carbohydrates and fats, but extremely low in protein. So the first steps would be to increase your daily protein intake and change the carbohydrates and fats we eat while opting for more natural and nutrient dense foods in order to create a healthier routine.
This change in Nutritional behavior will have a positive impact on your heart, blood vessels, brain, performance and health. You will feel and be ready to effectively deal with any meeting, negotiation or must-win event of your day.
- Macro’s & timing
Now that we have taken care of your health, it’s time to optimize your body composition and performance. We do this by calculating your optimal daily intake of calories and macronutrients and plan them throughout the day according to your physical and daily demands.
The goal is to keep you focused and energized the whole day by maintaining steady blood glucose levels. Because avoiding blood glucose spikes and dips is critical for reducing brain fog, preventing energy slumps, stabilizing hormones and enhancing your immune system.
We do this by creating balance in the macronutrients of our meals, and by eating 5 to 6 smaller meals per day.
In theory you should be able to get all of your nutrient needs taken care of through your diet, but unfortunately with our current farming and transportation practices this is just wishful thinking. That’s why it can be extremely helpful to get your blood work done and see where your deficiencies are so that we can supplement according to your needs.
Most High Performing professionals will do good by taking a multivitamin, omega 3 and some extra vitamin D. But what’s good for one person might not be always be good for someone else. That’s why I suggest to get your blood work done and work from there.
Next to these 4 levels we use a variety of strategies and tools to help you stay on track during business dinners, traveling for work and crucial events that require you to be on you’re a-game. But these are useless if your foundation (level 1 & 2) is lacking.
Now that you are aware of the impact of Nutrition on your performance and life, my request to you is to get started with the foundation today and experience these amazing benefits for yourself. As always if you have questions or need help, feel free to message me and I’ll gladly help you get started on the road to sustainable High Performance.
Kennard Van Messem
High Performance Coach