It doesn’t matter what training you are doing or what your goals are, your approach to nutrition is going to play a huge role in the end result. The phrase ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet’ has been shared millions of times on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram and that is because it is the truth.
As my regular readers know I am trying to achieve three goals in 2016 and one of them is to maintain a healthy body composition. My goal of having a lean, athletic body is not driven by aesthetic reasons but rather practical ones. I am planning on completing a 100-mile charity bike ride in less than six hours and every extra pound of fat I have is more weight I have to drag round the course.
That is why I am really trying to reduce my body fat and increase my lean muscle mass. In order to do this I need to train correctly and maintain a balanced diet, unfortunately as January has progressed I have really struggled to keep my eating habits healthy. There are a number of reasons for this and this blog is a way for me explore them and outline things I can try so that February is a more productive month.
A little preparation goes a long way
I work in an office where sugary snacks and drinks are never more than 10 feet away. In addition to several biscuit tins we have something called ‘Four o’clock snacks’, which are an amazing perk but can undo your hard work in a matter of minutes. When I joined the company I used to binge every day and then wonder why I didn’t have the energy or motivation to go and workout. Recently I have been trying to bring my own healthy 4 o’clock snacks to work so that I am not tempted by naughty treats. However during January I haven’t managed to do this every day and unsurprisingly when I get peckish at 4 o’clock I am reaching for the unhealthy option. I know that when I do bring a healthy option from home I choose it over the unhealthy one, so I need to make sure I do that every day. That is where a little preparation can go a long way and I don’t end up trying to out-train a bad diet.
Everything in moderation
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t do things by halves. It is a great attitude to have most of the time, unfortunately when it comes to food it can be problematic! I have a very sweet tooth and once I get the taste I can find it very hard to control my sugary cravings. I don’t want to live a life without enjoying my favourite treats (Reese Peanut Butter cups for example) but I know I can’t have them every day. Trying to abstain from something is not a recipe for success in my eyes, having a little of something every now and then is the way to go. That is why I back healthy lifestyles over fad diets, one approach is sustainable and the other isn’t. My problem is that I haven’t been eating treats in moderation. I have been having additional cheat meals and that is undermining the hard work I have been putting in at the gym. If I am to avoid having to out-train a poor diet in February I have to see my cheat meals for what they are, a reward not an excuse to go crazy!
Variety is the spice of life
I find that eating the same things regularly can become boring and that is when I start to make bad food choices. As previously mentioned I have a very sweet tooth and when I eat a meal that is uninspiring I will scour the kitchen or the biscuit tin for something a little more exciting. Over the last month I have had quite a few repeat meals and I believe that is why I have found myself seeking a little excitement. I have found myself either buying the same lunch or cooking the same dinner too often over the last 27 days. So in order to keep my nutrition on point and not have to out-train a bad diet for another month I need to keep my taste buds guessing. This is where I link back to my first point – preparation. If I plan a range of healthy meals and make sure that I am not eating the same meal more than once a week I will be cooking meals that I look forward to eating.
My plan for February
Having explored some of the reasons why my nutritional choices have not been as healthy as they should have been over the previous month I have created some clear nutritional guidelines for February. I have outlined these below and I believe that if I stick to then I will be a lot closer to having the lean and athletic body I am striving for.
My February guidelines to avoid having to out-train a bad diet:
- Always prepare healthy food for work the night before so I can avoid temptation the following day
- Plan in a weekly cheat meal and enjoy it for what it is, a reward for dedication and not an excuse to binge
- Never eat the same twice in one week so that I don’t get bored
I am already looking forward to the variety of food I am going to eat in February and excited by the possible results of sticking to my guidelines. If you have any good tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle please let me know, as I need all the help I can get.