Nutrition At Home During Covid-19

Nutrition at Home During Covid-19

Nutrition at home during covid-19 stay at home actions and social distancing is much different for people. Athlete’s don’t have their normal routines or places for eating.

Watch this video with Velocity nutrition coaches and dieticians checking- in on what’s happening with people’s nutrition and sharing tips on eating smart right now.

Although this time is an unprecedented disruption to daily life for most of us, we can find ways to make 🍹lemonade out of 🍋 lemons.

One of the takeaways from this conversation is that this can be an opportunity to upgrade your nutrition at home during Covid-19. Build some new cooking skills, experiment, and help young athletes learn about nutrition and cooking.

Nutrition At Home During Covid-19 – Part 1
1:05 Checking In – How is everyone is doing 
7:28 What Should I Be Doing To Boost Immunity?
12:17 When You Are Overwhelmed Cooking This Much?
18:25 What’s Happening To Young Athletes At Home
20:37 What About Alcohol Increases During Covid19?
Nutrition At Home During Covid-19Part 2
0:24 How Can Young Athletes Stay On Track?
3:17 What Are Snacks To Stock Up On?
7:45 Is Your Shopping List Holding You Back?
9:50 What Can High School & College Athletes Do To Upgrade Their Nutrition?
16:12 What Are The Experts Advising People To Do?
23:00 Dealing With Struggles

The Missing Variable In Your Fitness Equation

The Fitness Equation

The Fitness Equation:

Training + Nutrition + Recovery = Results ?

Makes sense, right? 

Mostly, but it’s incomplete.

Read on to find the missing link in your plan.

A Smart Client’s Fitness Equation

The first time I worked with Steve was when he joined my strength and conditioning program.

He said “My diet is on point and I am really consistent in my workouts. I foam roll and get a massage regularly. I’m sure that all I need now is to get stronger! ”

It was true. There was no one more consistent.

He tracked all of his workouts and lifts, ate really ‘healthy’ meals and tracked his sleep. Ten minutes before class he showed up to roll out and stayed after to stretch and recover.

He was a very smart guy and a high performer in his career. His drive to perform in life at a high level was clear.

He wasn’t looking for just ok results in the gym, he wanted to find his peak physical state.

Fast forward, 1 year and Steve was still reasonably fit and reasonably lean, but he was putting in what he felt like was more than a reasonable effort.

He wasn’t gaining muscle, and he wasn’t getting leaner. In fact he had seen a slight increase in his body fat.

His frustration that he wasn’t seeing progress led him to the conclusion that he just needed to do more.

Do more to see the results he wanted since he was sure he was doing everything right. He must not be working hard enough.

Sound familiar? 

The ‘Aha!’ Moment

Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen this pattern play out many times.  At first, like any coach, I looked at the fitness equation. Was he managing all the variables? And was he consistent?

We spent a few weeks tweaking his macros. Tweaking his programming. Looking at his recovery making sure he was managing stress and sleep.

Tracking all the data to see where we could make adjustments to get him stronger and leaner. It still wasn’t changing and he was getting fed up.

One day after a particularly difficult strength training class, Steve got out his dinner as we were chatting and cooling down.

He opened his Tupperware and inside was the fitness industry standards- sad dry bits of chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. 

Aha Moment
The ‘Aha” Moment: there’s another nutrition variable

So I asked him something no one else had asked him before, “How do you feel after you eat this meal?”

 He looked at me, a bit puzzled and said, “ Full. I guess? How should I feel?”

This was my big ‘Aha!’ moment with Steve. From there we changed one thing that broke his plateau.

Tracking Nutrition Data

As coaches, we’re like Vanilla Ice “If you’ve got a problem, yo I’ll solve it’.

We love to break out our measuring equipment and get to work providing a set of exercises or a new macro split that will solve it all.

We have come to a place in fitness where many of us approach change and progress with cold, calculating, almost robotic methods that manipulate numbers only.

Pouring over numbers and controlling every aspect makes us feel like we are doing something.

Something that will guarantee our results. Up to a point this is true and worthwhile.

Not losing weight? –> Change your macros

Not getting stronger/faster? –> Change your training volume/exercise selection

Not sleeping well? –> Take melatonin and implement a sleep ritual

It feels good to give a client something tangible and immediately implementable to address their concerns. 

Simple right? A+B= Results!

A=write a program

B= Client follows program and voila!

C=Results!

Unfortunately, this neglects the fact that we are not simple, programmable machines.

For You: More Articles On Fitness

Fitness and Human Behaviour

We have more complex decision-making machinery than we are addressing in our coaching practices today.

So why did I ask Steve how he felt after eating and how did that help us break his plateau?

Because the secret sauce to long term results are emotional. It’s about satisfaction

Emotion is tricky because it can feel like an unreliable and constantly moving target, but that’s not an excuse to ignore it. 

Our subconscious is the driving force behind our behavior.

Behaviour is a result of what we feel, as our feelings are our first line of information processing.

First, something happens, then you feel something, then you respond.

Event + Feeling/emotional response = Reactive behaviour

It mostly serves us well by letting us know when there is danger, who we can trust or not trust and tells us about what we truly value.

This is where the expression “follow your gut” comes from because it can be difficult to articulate why you are having a particular emotional response in time to make a rational decision.

Luckily, we’ve been observing and processing life situations since we were born. Subconsciously, we have established a framework for how to live our lives that makes our ‘gut feelings’ useful. Happiness, sadness, anger, pride, excitement all send clear messages about what to do/not do to continue being a successful organism.

We chase ‘happiness’ in particular because it is our subconscious’ way of rewarding what it thinks is ‘productive’ behavior.

Find yummy food —> happy feeling. Get chased by bear —> not so happy feeling.

Unhappiness, Fear, Anxiety are signs that something in our environment needs to change.

The Elephant in The Room

The Elephant in Nutrition

Think of your subconscious as a big quiet elephant. We have instincts and feelings that are programmed to help us make decision that will guide us towards success.

Basic decisions we make all day, everyday promote the pillars of life which equate to success in survival terms; find food, find shelter, find a mate and reproduce.

Job done. Congratulations you are a successful organism.

But as humans, we also have this rational brain that gets involved too. It’s the part separating us from the rest of life on this planet which functions solely on instincts (or feelings).

Think of the rational part of your brain as the dude riding the elephant.

It’s the part of our brains that like finding logical solutions to problems. It likes using data to measure things. It likes to ensure that we feel in control of our situation at all times. It makes our elephant feel safe and stable.

After all, control = success. Right?

The Rider On The Elephant
Your rational brain is the rider using logic to direct that elephant of emotion

So here we have this super-rational little dude trying to steer and control this giant instinctual elephant.

For the most part, if we are generally heading in a direction the elephant thinks will keep it happy and alive, the rider remains in control.

If the elephant feels threatened or in danger, it becomes a lot trickier to control.

What Do You Really Want?

When our deeper values and principles match with our environment there is harmony and equilibrium. We can maintain this for the long term.

The rider tells the elephant where they are going and the elephant agrees because it feels safe.

When the rider tries to force the elephant down a particular path, it can become a struggle between instinct and rationale.

For example, you value your family life and you also want to have a rewarding amazing career. You want a career that provides value to society, all while having the physique and stamina of Thor.

Sometimes those values and priorities conflict forcing you to make choices. Choices that your elephant fears will make you less happy, or possibly less healthy.

If you spend all your time at the gym, your family and work may suffer. If you only go to work and spend time with your family, you may find yourself less healthy than you’d like. Equally, if you constantly miss work to spend time with family and work out you may find yourself out of a job.

The weight we give each of these priorities, and how we choose to balance our responsibilities, is different for each of us and is part of what makes us unique individuals. 

But what happens when the rider consistently makes decisions the elephant isn’t on board with? 

In Steve’s case, rigidly restricting food choices all day every day over a long period.

For a while, the elephant may go along, but push it too hard or ignore it and may just take you for the ride of your life!

Managing The Elephant in The Fitness Equation

So now maybe you are starting to see how this relates back to Steve and breaking his plateau.

 For a long time, Steve had been ignoring his elephant.  

Even though he thought he was paying attention to his needs, his elephant was hungry. It was tired and unsatisfied with the path he was walking. 

His subconscious set of values prioritized social time with family and friends. However, his rational brain said these are things that are contrary to his fitness goals and so they must go.

He was isolating himself from colleagues and family during the week in order to eat ‘compliant’ meals. On the weekends he was ‘binging’ on not just food but social activities as well.

He really loved good food. Yet, his rational brain was saying only bland portion-controlled food will give you results. To get where he wanted he had to control his calorie intake precisely and he couldn’t do that if he was around other people or if he enjoyed what he was eating. Because as we all know flavor = calories.

This is where our rational brain can let us down. We can create ridgid scenarios that are perfectly controlled and effective but don’t reflect reality very well.

Food variety is interesting to us because it is beneficial. Eating a narrow selection of foods can lead to longer-term nutrient deficiencies due to the limited range of foods we take in on a restrictive diet.

Color and flavor are indicative of the wide variety of nutrients our bodies need to sustain optimal health. We are wired to crave variety. It keeps us healthy and interested.

Boredom or monotony in training or nutrition will lead to non-compliance because it doesn’t feed our broader needs.

For Steve, this rigid strategy meant his rider and elephant were pulling in opposite directions. 

The Missing X-Factor In Your Fitness Equation

Our rational brain likes black and white thinking. It simplifies a complex world and creates opportunity for action. Chicken good, chocolate bad is very clear and actionable.

It’s thinking, “I can’t ever go out to eat if I want to have a six-pack! When I have a beer on Saturday with my friends, the whole weekend is blown, so I might as well say screw it and let loose!”

Monday rolls around with a dose of feeling like a failure and so the rider yanks back on the reigns and tells the elephant “Enough is enough! Get back on the path! You just need more self-discipline!”

The Missing Variable

The more we repeat this pattern, the less satisfying it becomes. Then we become less compliant, finding ways to ‘cheat’ or ‘have a break’.

When we first started that new diet or training program, we could maintain it. It provided a clear path to success by simplifying the complex foodscape we live in. When it’s exciting and new, it is sustainable, but over time we find it repetitive and less exciting.

Excitement and motivation are finite but allow us to give 100% to any aspect of our training while they last. As soon as the newness is gone so are the results.  In fitness we see this every January, and we watch as excitement wanes and consistency goes with it.

Whether this is in your nutrition, training or recovery. Variety is the key to satisfaction and sustaining your results.

Nutrition Tracking With A New Variable

So when I asked Steve how he felt about the meal that he was about to eat he was stumped.

His rider was the only one answering and he wasn’t talking to his elephant.  “This is what I am supposed to eat to get super lean. It’s not what I want to eat. I can’t eat what I want or I will not be able to achieve my goals.” The rider thought that how his elephant felt was irrelevant and counterproductive. 

In his mind, letting the elephant have control meant he would find himself in a pile of peanuts a mile deep because his elephant was an out of control animal that needed more discipline!

Rider and elephant didn’t trust each other anymore.

So the first step was the hardest. It went against everything he thought would get him where he wanted to go. 

We still needed to track things and assess progress, but not in the way he was used to.

I asked him to track how he felt after each meal…. With a very unscientific emoji system.

Regardless of whether they were ‘compliant’ meals or not.

😀 For a meal you enjoyed 

😐 For a meal that was meh

😕 For a meal that was totally unsatisfying

What he found was his big Aha! moment!

He learned that all through the week for almost every meal he had a 😕 or a 😐

On Friday night when he let loose, he had a 😀

then Saturday morning a 🙁 because he felt guilty for being so weak willed

followed by a big 😀 on Saturday evening when he went out 

And another even bigger 😠 by sunday evening when he was getting fired up to ‘get back under control’ for the week.

The pattern showed without a doubt that he had a death grip on his eating throughout the week. (success = control) When he finally let loose, he went nuts and unit he was really satisfied. (out of control = failure)

The consequences of this all or nothing approach showed up in his lack of progress.

Here’s What Your Diet Might Not Be Telling You About What It Takes To Get Lean.

A New Nutrition Variable: Satisfaction

We talked about what might happen if he didn’t feel 😕 about his meals during the week and how it might affect his weekends. We also talked about the nutrient/calorie deficit he was generating throughout the week that might have been generating some of the need to ‘cheat’ Friday-Sunday.

It took a lot of courage for him to trust that adding in some satisfaction to his daily routine would work.

He was scared that he would utterly lose control in the face of the ‘freedom’.

We took what he was already eating so he felt safe and still under control and added the most important ingredients- Flavor and Satisfaction

No more eating alone at his desk while everyone else was going out to eat together.

We also added a few calories per day in the form of more food volume and variety, using spices and herbs to pump up his satisfaction throughout the week. This helped ensure he was getting enough nutrients to fuel his workouts and grow some muscle.

What he found changed his approach forever. He immediately found weekend outings less out of control, even though initially he went to the same places with the same people. He ate and drank less because he didn’t feel like ‘it was now or never’.

He noticed that not feeling lonely while eating increased his satisfaction at meals. So much that he even stopped eating before he finished his portions. Paying attention to his feelings of fullness and satisfaction was helping him control his calorie intake,

A Fitness Equation For Sustainable Results

You see, if you want to do something really well you, have to do it A LOT for a long time.

That’s no secret.

But what we forgot to consider is that if we don’t enjoy it, we won’t do it as often and therefore, we don’t get super good at it.

Satisfaction = longevity of results

Therefore, a fitness equation that only includes rational brain data collection like this;

Training+ Nutrition+ Recovery= Results misses the elephant in the room. Pun intended..

Without satisfaction, nothing you achieve will last. Amazing results are only attained through consistent effort and consistent effort is unlikely if you are forcing yourself into doing something.

So the real fitness and health equation includes an x-factor. The satisfaction elephant. SO….. The real fitness (or Achievement) equation is:

Training+ Nutrition+ Recovery+ Satisfaction = Sustained Effort = Mastery Level Results 

How satisfied are you with your training and nutrition?

Could you still be following the same plan when you are 80?

If not, maybe it’s time to take a look at your strategy and make some adjustments.

Here’s What Your Diet Might Not Be Telling You About What It Takes To Get Lean.

what it takes to get lean

It’s a new year and you are focused on the new you. You want to be fit and leaner so you can feel good doing the things you want and look better.

You want six-pack abs. Toned muscles. That look of fitness and health. It’s an image we see countless times a day n advertising and social media.

But do you know what it takes to be that lean? To really understand what you have to do? What sacrifices you have to make to look a certain way.

You have to accept there are certain trade-offs you will need to make if you want to lose fat and change your health. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s a lot better if you understand these choices.

In the infographic below from Precision Nutrition, you can see the trade-offs for different levels of leanness. This is a key step in setting realistic goals and living a life you can happily sustain.

what it takes to get lean
what it takes to get lean
what it takes to get lean
This content is used under license from Precision Nutrition Inc. and may not be reproduced, transmitted, or otherwise used or reused in any way without the express written permission of the owner. Copyright © 2020 Precision Nutrition Inc. For more information about Precision Nutrition, visit http://www.precisionnutrition.com.

Tips to help you eat better when you travel in 2020

travel food

Travel is a necessary component of competitive sports that can start as early as middle school. When you’re on the road, all the careful planning and meal prep you do at home to guarantee your body get all the nutrition it needs for optimal performance suddenly disappears. Your body already has to contend with a host of challenges that can’t be helped – jet lag, long periods of time spent sitting on planes, strange beds, etc. – so change something you can control and make sure you’re still fueling your body well.

Prepare for Success

First and foremost, plan ahead. How long is the trip? How much of that will be spent traveling? Are you likely to need food on the plane? Can you make arrangements ahead of time for healthier in-flight eating? What kind of food will you have access to wherever you’re going? Answering these questions will help you form a plan and avoid the trap of grabbing whatever is easiest because you’re hungry.

Stay Hydrated

The recycled air on planes and in airports is dry and will dehydrate you faster than normal, thus requiring you to replace what you’ve lost more frequently. You can’t bring bottled water through security, but you can bring an empty, reusable bottle and fill it up at the bottle-fillers most airports have these days. You’ll feel better when you land and won’t feel any of the cravings that dehydration can cause.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Probably everyone who has ever traveled regularly has fallen into the trap of grabbing whatever is most convenient. Your flight might be boarding in the next two minutes, or maybe you know you’re about to be on a long flight and that bag of chips or candy bar looks like the bit of comfort you need to make it a little more tolerable.

We’re not here to say you shouldn’t ever have indulgences, but bringing your own, healthier snacks will help avoid impulsive choices that you will regret later. Below are a few nutritious options to keep you fueled and feeling good.

  • Fresh fruits and veggies: When you’re traveling, something you can eat with one hand is always welcome. Baby carrots and grapes fit nicely in a small plastic bag, and bananas and oranges come in their own container!
  • Almonds: Pack them easily into a small container for a protein-packed snack.
  • Pre-Packaged Single-Serving Options: These days there are plenty of snacks already packaged into a convenient travel size. Hummus cups go great with your baby carrots, and single-serving peanut or almond butter makes a nice addition to your banana or apple slices.
  • Make Your Own Protein Bars: A quick internet search will turn up far more recipes for protein bars than you will ever need. Make them in bar form or roll them into balls for a handy, nutritious snack.

All you need is a little planning and you’ll never have to wonder how you’re going to avoid hunger on the go again.

3 Foods to Avoid Before a Workout

Food is what fuels your human machine. Choosing the right kind of fuel can go a long way towards optimizing your performance. This article focuses on things to avoid before your workout.

Too much protein

Protein is, of course, an important part of any athlete’s diet. Getting the right timing around your workout is important. Too much of it before a workout or a game can leave you feeling too full or lethargic – neither of which you want.

Fried and Fatty Foods

Any food with a lot of saturated fat should be avoided. This type of fat molecule takes a long time for your body to digest. It stays in your digestive system longer, and can lead to bloating, cramping, or diarrhea.

Foods high in fiber

Even though your doctor might want you to up your fiber intake, don’t do it pre-workout. Doing so right before you want to break a sweat might have some unpleasant consequences. Fiber certainly gets the digestive system moving, but you don’t want that during a hard training session.

There’s a lot more to be said about nutrition before, during, and after training or competition.  Check back for more in the future, and if the topic interests you, start researching!

Sources:

http://www.health.com/weight-loss/foods-to-avoid-before-a-workout

https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/9-foods-avoid-workout/

https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/1078/3-foods-to-avoid-before-practices-and-games

What you need to know about protein: a beginners guide

protein formula

“Hey, Coach, why should I eat protein?”

Athletes of all ages ask us this question all the time at Velocity. Simply put, protein is what is going to make you stronger. A body that is getting sufficient amounts of protein is able to effectively grow and repair lean muscle mass. Without enough protein, your muscles will struggle to repair themselves after your workouts.

“That sounds great! I definitely want to get stronger and recover fast, so what foods should I eat to get my protein?”

Animal sources like chicken, fish, and beef are great options.  Animal proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, which are the actual components responsible for the growth and repair of your body’s muscles, bones, and tissues. Remember, milk and eggs come from animals, so they are also excellent options for a protein-rich diet. Try your best to choose animal protein options that are lower in fat, such as skinless chicken rather than fried chicken.

If animal proteins aren’t your thing (I’m looking at you, vegetarians and vegans), consider pairs of foods such as beans with rice, or nut butters with wheat bread. The beans or nut butters have proteins, but only when paired with the rice and bread, respectively, do they contain all nine essential amino acids.

“OK, that’s very helpful. But what if I’m a really picky eater? Are there any other ways to be sure that I’m getting enough protein?”

Many athletes include protein supplements in their daily diet. High quality whey proteins are the best option for athletes – particularly people without food allergies. Whey is a protein extracted during milk production, it belongs in the “animal proteins” category that we previously discussed. Check the labels and look for things like BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids) and glutamine. If you’re lactose-intolerant, try to choose a hydrolyzed whey protein.  These have already been broken down into their simplest forms, so they won’t cause digestive issues, and they will also be absorbed into your body more quickly. Vegetarians and vegans should look for plant-based protein supplements containing hemp and pea proteins. These contain ample amounts of all nine essential amino acids.

“Thanks, Coach!  One last question before I head to the store to get my protein: How much should I be taking each day?”

Every athlete is different, but a simple beginner’s rule to follow is to get 25-30 grams of protein five times per day. More specifically, someone who wants 150 pounds of lean muscle mass (such as a very fit and lean 170-pound athlete) should be eating approximately 150 grams of protein each day. It can sometimes be difficult to get this much protein into your daily diet, so using both foods and supplements throughout the day is recommended. Also, always try to get 25-30 grams of protein shortly after every workout because this is when your body is most receptive to the benefits that proteins provide.

4 Signs of Dehydration to Take Seriously

No matter the season, it is important for athletes to stay hydrated in order to perform at their highest level.

However, during the warmer months, dehydration is a very serious topic for not only athlete performance, but general safety and well-being. As the temperature goes up, so too does athlete perspiration.

When an athlete sweats, they lose electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. When an athlete depletes their body of fluids and electrolytes without replenishing them, they put themselves in grave danger.

READ MORE: What Not To Eat Before Games and Training

Here are four dehydration warning signs athletes should take seriously:

Dark Colored Urine With Strong Odor

This is one of the easiest ways to catch dehydration at an early stage. If an athlete’s urine is dark yellow it is a good time to start drinking some water and stop the problem before it even starts.

Prolonged Weight Loss During Exercise

Weight loss of 2% or more during a training session is a good indicator of dehydration.  That would be approximately 2.5-pounds of weight lost for an athlete weighing 125 pounds. Weight loss during exercise is not fat loss — so stay hydrated before, during and after training and bring plenty of fluids to games and practices. 

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps can be another of the warning signs of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Consuming a sports drink like Gatorade during exercise bouts longer than four hours or when under extreme heat conditions can help prevent muscle cramps.  This does not mean an athlete needs a sports drink for one hour of exercise — water would be much more beneficial to them than Gatorade.

Dizziness, Nausea and Fatigue

If an athlete is experiencing dizziness, nausea and fatigue, it is important to immediately begin consuming water or a sports drink and rest.  Also, it is important to avoid caffeine, as caffeine will increase urine output.

When you recognize any of these four dehydration warning signs, tell a coach or parent and begin hydrating immediately. Have fun and be safe this summer during your training sessions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON DEHYDRATION IN SPORTS:

National Athletic Trainers’ Association PREVENTING HEAT ILLNESS HANDOUT

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes

STOP Sports Injuries: Heat Illness Prevention