Coach Kevin’s Take on Nutrition

Monday, May 11, 2015 by Coach Kevin

I have been told that my “bedside” coaching manner is not the gentlest—so, fair warning—I’m calling it like it is in this blog, and will give you the hard facts on nutrition and calories. The gist of my argument is that there is no magic in calories and there are equally no excuses for taking in excess calories.  The equation is simple:  calories in > calories burned = FAT storage.  For those non-math majors, if you take in more calories than you burn, the excess in calories is stored as fat.  Want proof?  How many people have you seen come out of a boat after being lost at sea for weeks heavier than before they were lost?

It is true, however, that different foods affect your body in different ways depending on how quickly the carbs from the foods hit your blood stream.  Eat a candy bar full of processed sugar and your blood sugar spikes.  This causes your body to react and quickly convert that sugar to fat.  Take a piece of fruit and chew on it and your blood sugar does not spike as high because the carbs in fruit are buffered by the fiber in the fruit and it takes a long time to get released in to your blood stream.  Your blood sugar doesn’t spike as high and the carbs are burned without being converted to fat.

Why is this important to an athlete?  Because extra weight slows you down and increases your risk of injury.  For every pound you weigh over your ideal weight, you add 1 minute per 10K to your run time.

What can we do with this information?  We as athletes at times make things too complicated, I think; however, I will admit that knowing what to eat can be complicated.  Heck, some people go to college for 4 years and get a degree in what to eat.  But it doesn’t have to be complicated.  So here are my easy to follow rules for nutrition and weight loss:

  1. If you can’t pick it, dig it out of the ground, or catch it, don’t eat it.
  2. If someone else picked it, dug it up, or caught it for you and then processed it, don’t eat it (putting it in a bag or wrapping it in Saran wrap is not processing).

And that is it!  See?  I told you it was simple.  Then you may ask what and how much should I eat?  No fear, I have a simple plan:

Breakfast: Handful size of protein (eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, or legumes) and handful size of fruit (handful as in the size of your closed fist)

Midmorning snack: Half handful size of protein (eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, or legumes) and a piece of fruit

Lunch: Handful size of protein (eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, or legumes) and 2 handful sizes of veggies and a piece of fruit

Midafternoon snack: See Midmorning snack

Dinner: see Lunch

Late night snack: Handful size of fruit

Any time you’re still hungry eat all the veggies you want and one hardboiled egg.  Pretty simple.

And now you might ask, which vegetables and fruit?  I like letting my girlfriend to pick for me because she’s great at picking different vegetables, but for those of you without her creative touch try this: go to the grocery store and pick the first two vegetables on the vegetable aisle.  The next time you go back for more, take the second two vegetables.  The next time, the 5th and 6th ones.  You get the idea.  You will be surprised how vegetables you would never have picked are really good (as a personal example, I just tried parsnips for the first time.  I would have never picked them and they are great….yes my girlfriend got them!) Variety is the key to health when it comes to fruit and vegetables, so get out of your boring apples and broccoli rut, and try something new.

Follow my advice and you will be eating healthy.

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