Five Things You Didn’t Know About Nutrition: Good Nutrition Defined
By Vince Del Monte
Carbohydrate back loading, intermittent fasting, low fat, high fat, low carbohydrate, high carbohydrate, high protein, vegetarian, vegan….confused yet? You aren’t alone. Heck, even the experts can’t seem to come to a consensus.
Everyone has a different idea of “good nutrition” but without a definition of what good nutrition is, we have nothing to compare it to!
The nutrition world nowadays has become a mess of crazy fads, with a new fad popping up almost every week! Without a clear definition of good nutrition and conflicting ideas at every turn, I wouldn’t blame you for feeling lost in the maze that we now call “nutrition.”
That’s where I come in. I am here to tell you that you don’t need an advanced degree in molecular biochemistry to build muscle and lose your belly fat. I want to set the story straight about what “good nutrition” is once and for all.
The Five Things You Didn’t Know About Nutrition: Good Nutrition Defined
1. Good nutrition properly controls energy balance
If you eat something, it gets used as energy. If you eat way too much of something, it gets converted to fat. Pretty simple right? Well, not exactly. There are two major things you need to know about nutrition and the control of proper energy balance.
A. Restricting your calories for a prolonged period of time causes an energy balance shift and the loss of fat along with lean body mass. As a result, guys looking for that elusive six-pack will only appear smaller with slightly less body fat.
B. Too often people oversimplify the model of diet and exercise and don’t take into account the interactions between diet and exercise as they relate to energy balance.
In order to get the most out of your nutrition you must be eating the right things, at the right times, and in the right quantities to be truly successful. Not only that, but you must match your nutrition with a quality exercise program to achieve optimal benefits.
2. Good nutrition provides nutrient density
Here is where I see most people go wrong. They assume that a calorie is a calorie regardless of the source. WRONG!
It is imperative to take into account the nutrient density of the food. A food that has a high nutrient density – higher amount of vitamins and minerals – will have a significantly greater ability to optimize hormone levels to a state of anabolism. Hello muscle gains and fat loss!
While I will be the first to admit that it is impossible to follow a strict diet 100% of the time, there is a huge difference between eating mostly healthy foods with the occasional treat and eating mostly treats with the occasional healthy food.
Think of it this way – eating a few hundred calories from spinach, broccoli, asparagus and other greens WILL NOT have the same hormonal or physiological effect on your body as eating a few hundred calories of Baskin Robbins Rocky Road ice cream. If anybody tells you differently, you have my permission to call him or her an idiot.
3. Good nutrition achieves health, body composition goals, and performance goals
The first two are pretty self explanatory. If your nutrition is in check and you hit your caloric needs, you will achieve greater health and improved body composition. It is the third aspect that often gets overlooked.
Stop me if this sounds like you. You are busting your butt in the gym, you are lacking results and your performance is not improving from week to week. What is the key component you may be missing? You guessed it. GOOD NUTRITION!
Think of it this way – while you are in the gym, you are breaking down muscle tissue. Whatever you are doing and eating the other 160 or more hours a week is absolutely imperative to optimal results and performance. Good nutrition allows you to feed your muscles and turn you into a fat-burning machine!
Simply put, junk nutrition will give you a junk body. On the other hand, good nutrition will move you forward to achieving the results you have always wanted – literally changing your body and your life. Good nutrition is as much as 70% of your results and performance, so why would you not spend as much time focusing on your nutrition as you would spend on your training?
4. Good nutrition is honest and outcome based
Up until this point, I have said things you may or may not already know, but good nutrition being “honest and outcome based” could take some explaining…
Let me ask you something. Do you have the body you want? Answer honestly. For most of you reading this – at least on some level – the answer will be “no.”
Essentially whatever you wish for your outcome to be, that is what you focus your food choices on. The fact that it is “honest” means that you follow your nutrition plan with integrity and certainty knowing that it will get you to your ultimate outcome. Don’t worry about what those around you will think about your food choices, and just make your choices based on the outcome you want to achieve.
At times, I have been so focused on my outcome that I’ve actually brought my own pre-packaged meals to a wedding. As an Italian, believe me when I say this is a BIG DEAL. But that is exactly what I mean when I say “honest and outcome based.” The more honest you are with your nutrition choices, the better the outcome will be.
You want to look like a physique model? You won’t get there unless you eat like one. Get your nutrition in check first and make it your number one priority. The rest will soon follow.
5. Good nutrition is sustainable
People are always looking for the “quick-fix” – the fastest and easiest way to achieve a dramatic body transformation. Where do those same people turn to for advice? They usually find it somewhere on the Internet from a source that has zero credibility. The problem nowadays isn’t a lack of information, it is the overabundance of information that is hampering your results.
Most of the newest fad diets out there are not sustainable because they are based on extremes. You may achieve some results, but they generally do not set you up for long-term success and are based on poor nutrition.
Sure, good nutrition appears more difficult to do initially, but it is more sustainable over the long haul. Not only that, but once you get in the swing of things, good nutrition is a piece of cake…ok, bad metaphor.
Good Nutrition Defined: Conclusion
Everything you need to know about achieving optimal health and the body of your dreams you already know. Don’t eat too much, cut back on sugar, eat more green leafy vegetables, etc. You have been told these things since your first day at school.
The key is that you don’t get caught up in all of the hype and hoopla surrounding the newest diet fad out there and stick with what works and has worked for hundreds of years – good, solid nutrition. Period.