The bodybuilding concept isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but what can all of us learn from it? The bodybuilding diet is designed to build muscle and reduce body fat, by using a certain balance of proteins, fats & carbohydrates. It focuses on using food as fuel, training your brain and body to think of it as more than simply, ‘a pleasure to satisfy the palette’. I think that we could all learn something from this focus: nourishing our body by giving it fuel. To some, this may sound simple, but for many of us, our mindset and lifestyle need a little tweak and a few simple adaptations. Repeat after me: “Nourishment is paramount”.
Here are a few tips for healthy living, inspired by the bodybuilding concept:
- A general rule of thumb is to eat more often! Depending on your preferences and lifestyle, this may be easy to do by adding in small handfuls of nuts or seeds, or by grabbing a shake.
- Make small adjustments to your lifestyle so that you are able to adopt a pattern of regular eating – ie. by packing small containers of pre-prepared foods to take when we are on the move.
- Make more than you need. We’ve heard this before, but by making more food than you need, you create extra portions that can be eaten for lunch, mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks.
- Whenever you feel the need for a ‘pick-me-up’, such as mid-morning or afternoon snack time, start off with a simple swap to a protein snack bar. Protein snacks have added protein powders and plant protein is a great for a boost of necessary amino acids. Be mindful of the nutritional content here: although they may seem great nutritionally, some bars are high in sugars due to the presence of dates within them – stick to eating just one rather than multiple bars per day.
- If going for whey protein, be sure to check for unwanted ‘extras’. If you aren’t sure of an ingredients origin, or can’t pronounce it, it is probably best to research a little more before purchasing and certainly, consuming.
- Eating plenty of greens, or ‘cruciferous vegetables’, is another part of bodybuilding regimes, a favourite combination often includes greens, chicken & rice. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable: these vegetables absorb the toxins in your body and act like a ‘buffer’, going on to remove these toxins upon exit from the body. This job is vital to prevent the body from becoming more toxic.
- Other cruciferous vegetables include kale, spring greens, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. My recent blog, Time To Go Green Try this! It will help you to further understand the essential role of cruciferous vegetables and Why Salads Alone Won’t Keep You Healthy looks at so-called ‘healthy’ foods as well as, habits that can cause nutrient deficiency.
- Eating balanced meals of protein, fat and carbohydrate is key and a good way of ensuring that you have balance and variety in your meals. Learning about what foods fall into which category is essential.
- Eating seasonally can play an important part in variation: from one month to the next, you will find a different range of foods that you can buy locally and are in season. It is known that, foods that are in season are at their most nutritious.
- By eating a varied diet, you obtain nutrients from a variety of sources and this is important so as not to become deficient in certain vitamins or minerals (Why Salads Alone Won’t Keep You Healthy).
Healthy Eating Basis
For you and I, eating a strict ‘chicken, rice & broccoli’ diet is difficult to sustain for long periods of time. However, it is a good concept to choose as the basis to your healthy eating; helping to create balanced meals and snacks and making conscious decisions towards healthier lifestyle habits. By taking steps to eat good food at regular intervals, say 3 medium sized meals supported with two smaller snacks, you are fueling your body with a constant supply of nutrients, keeping your metabolism functioning well. By adopting this approach you provide your body with more opportunities for nourishment and using food as fuel both for mental & physical activity.