Any idea how to help a guy who grew up eating rice as his carb of choice?
fuck i meant to post this a while ago but i guess it might help now. i made a guide about buying running shoes somewhere in this thread if you need help with that as well.
SemisoftCheese's Guide to Eating
So great. You started working out. But now you realized you subsist on Doritos and Mountain Dew and that probably isn't a good road to fitness. How and what do you want to eat to get in shape?
As boring as it sounds, it helps to know the theory behind what you do. The more you know, the easier it is to rationalize your choices on how you eat. I'll try and keep it fast and simple.
All food is made of calories. Calories come from the latin word calor
, which simply means heat. Calories are simply a measure of how much energy your body can get from this food--and serve as a general measure of how "heavy" things are. Eating more calories than you burn will make you fat--whether it's from broccoli or big macs.
But wait! This doesn't mean you can eat 2000 calories of top ramen a day, burn 2500, and call it healthy. Food can further be broken down into three groups.
Carbohydrates are the most simple foods chemically to break down. "Good" carbs are pasta, rice (more on this later), simple sugars (like the sugar in fruit). In terms of energy, carbs are most quickly converted into energy by the body--athletes ingest tons of carbs. Dieting magazines often demonize carbs because if you don't burn them, they are quickly converted and stored into fat. This is true, but wrong in terms of fitness. Carbs provide energy, and you want energy, don't you?
Brotein. It comes in shakes, steaks, and other things like fish and beans. As a general rule of thumb, proteins that come from animals (steak) is better than non-animal protein (fish), which is better than vegetarian protein (beans). Why do you need protein? Protein is used by the body to repair muscles. Every time you work out, you're actually creating little tears in your muscle, which are repaired and made stronger. Protein should be eaten around 30-45 minutes after your workout, because there's a thing called "the protein window" in which your body is actively seeking protein to repair your muscles. It's no big disaster to eat it later, but if you can, it helps, and you'll feel better too.
Fats are an issue of contention. Chemically, fats are just long, complex strands of carbohydrates--and because they're complex, the body takes the longest time to break them down. On the other hand, because they're complex, fats contain large amounts of energy to burn. Should you consume fats? In most cases, no. Fats, while energy rich, tend to have other detrimental effects on your body--trans fats and saturated fats clog your arteries, mess up your blood pressure, etc. There's a clear and solid reason top athletes don't eat Big Macs--because it's better to get the energy from clean, quick burning foods like pasta or grilled chicken. Acceptable fats include omega-3 in fish and the monosaturated fat in olive oil, but these fats are in trace amounts in both foods. In general, the fat from your Doritos and Big Macs is doing nothing but, well, making you fat.
How Should I Eat?
If you've made it this far, another question's on your mind. All this science is pretty boring, but how does that mean I should eat? There are two things to consider here: how you eat, and when you eat.
How you eat is probably the first and foremost question. It's hard to give a dietary plan for everyone, but here are some rules of thumb.
Count Your Calories:
Like I said, if you eat 3000 calories of broccoli and yogurt a day, and only burn 2000, you're going to put on weight. Use a website like livestrong to count your calories in your meals. If you're eating too many calories... it's time to change your diet. It's the most simple rule of getting in shape--work out more than you eat.
Eat Fresh Food:
Fresh food has a wide variety of connotations. In this case, it means eating basic, classic, clean foods--pasta with tomato sauce, grilled chicken breast--food that people would make on the farm. Food like this is easy for your body to break down because it's clean--there are no preservatives or complex chemicals to interfere with your body. Replace your soda with juice, etc. This also applies to run around like margarine. Yes, margarine is lower in fat than butter. But it really sucks in every other way. Margarine is higher in trans fats, it's made from vegetable oil... just go natural. People have eaten butter for hundreds of years. It's better for you than margarine. Trust me. Eat fresh food--your body will love you for it.
Eat on schedule:
Your body has a schedule. You'll figure it out yourself, but there are times your body likes to be fed--in the morning, around midday, and at night. Eating irregularly means that you are putting strain on your digestive system--and it might not get all the nutrition out of the food you're eating. Avoid working out 2 hours after eating, try and eat post-workout, and don't eat before you go to sleep. Snacking is okay, but try making healthy snacks like peanut butter sandwiches or something. Processed foods are often nutritionally bankrupt.
So to finish it off, I'll provide a daily guide of what I eat when I'm in training for cross-country. This is three day's worth of food: pre-race, race-day, and post-race day.
Breakfast: 20oz Coconut Water (I'm light on breakfast.)
Lunch: Chicken breast sandwich, some chips, water and juice.
Dinner: Pasta done lightly with a bit of butter and parmesan cheese. Water.
Breakfast: 20oz Coconut Water, 3 Egg Whites
Lunch (Race starts at 3): Half a plain bagel, Gatorade 01 Prime Workout (1 Pouch), probably around 30oz of cytomax.
Race Warmup: 3 CLIF Energy Bar Chews (so I don't get hungry during the race), lots and lots of water.
Post-Race: Bagels, rice balls, Gatorade, Seaweed
Dinner: Steak, Grilled Chicken, some form of green vegetable.
Breakfast: 20oz Coconut Water
Lunch: Chicken breast sandwich, maybe a burrito if I'm feeling hungry.
Dinner: Fish, potatoes, maybe some udon noodles or sushi.
So you can see besides race day, my food is pretty normal. I like to drink coconut water in the mornings because it hydrates extremely well. Besides race-day, nothing I eat is super-regimented or complicated--it's pretty basic, simple food. The race-day stuff you probably won't need to eat unless you're competing--it's not really normal food and it tastes pretty awful anyway. But my diet isn't super regimented or anything--it's pretty much whatever I feel like, and I try and keep it healthy. I drink a lot of water. I don't eat McDonald's that much, I don't drink a lot of soda, I work out... and that's how you stay in shape. Not much to it. At the most basic level, burn more calories than you eat.
I can go in depth about stuff like creatine and juice cleanses and paleo diets... but you guys don't really need that. Just burn more than you eat. No need to make it rocket science. Try and eat clean stuff, and burn more than you eat. Take the stairs. You get the idea.
I'm around for questions if you have them.