Nutrition 101

ICON Gym promotes and uses nutrition plans that are designed to help you gain muscle while leaning out. These plans emphasize excellent food choices which will start the recompositioning (more muscle – less fat) process and build your metabolism.

Fat Loss NUTRITION 101

To have lasting success in any endeavor you have to take a disciplined approach. There is much more to a sound diet than mere calorie counting and “carb” watching. The big mistake made repeatedly is trying to eliminate the consequences of poor eating habits (weight gain) with a quick fix solution. This approach ultimately fails and leads to an even greater weight problem that becomes more difficult to correct.

I cannot stress enough the role a sound diet based on solid nutrition will play in you reaching your fitness goals. We are constantly getting mixed messages regarding diet.  Some “experts” encourage us to follow unbalanced eating plans promising shortcuts to health and beauty. The HGB Diet (hormone supported diet plan), Body Transformation and prepackaged meal plans along with other failed and dated techniques are still making news and claiming unbelievable results. My goal is for you to make informed decisions about your diet and to see why these methods lead to ultimate failure, so let’s look at the facts.

 

The Principals of Nutrition

The ultimate longterm solution to being healthy and lean is having a healthy metabolism. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient demands dictated by cell activities and body maintenance, stores of nutrients soon become depleted. Body stores may be sufficient to compensate for an inadequate diet for a brief period of time, in the long run serious consequences can be the result.

Once nutrient stores are depleted, a continuing nutrition debt drains body tissues. The body will try and compensate but is only able to a point. When tissue levels or resources fall far enough the body will go into conservation mode and the metabolic processes eventually slow down or even stop. Consider the effects of osteoporosis, calcium is not sufficient in the diet and the body is forced to raid its own resources of calcium to maintain normal function. The result is loss of bone mass and integrity.

Malnutrition comes in many forms and is not calorie specific, meaning that it is possible to consume plenty of calories and still have a nutritional deficit.

Our bodies are masters at adapting and dealing with stress. We have built with in us all kinds of safety mechanisms intended to protect us and keep us alive. Poor nutrition can illicit a host of protective measures that most of us would rather avoid.Think about the consequences of a suppressed metabolism or a decline in hormone production, red blood cell production and a multitude of other reactions that are a result of a lack of resources/nutrients.

Over the years I have seen many clients with a number of problems that were corrected by making changes to their diet and training. Just by giving the body what it needs it has an amazing propensity for healing and correcting it’s self. Be it remedial exercise or addressing diet problems and nutrient deficiencies, our bodies given the right resources and stimulus can heal and right much of the wrongs that are attributed to sickness and “old age.”

The Fundamentals

Food, water and oxygen are the life sustaining substances we need.  Food provides you with both the energy and materials needed to build and maintain all your body cells.  It is important to distinguish between food and nutrients.  Food is the source of nutrients, nutrients are the nourishing substance in food that are essential for growth and development and the maintenance of body function throughout life.

Classes of Nutrients:

The nutrients in food can be organized into six classes. This outline will cover the energy-yielding nutrients, which, excluding water, constitute the major portion of most foods.

Water:

Water is necessary in every metabolic process. If you are dehydrated you will not burn fat and can’t build muscle. Drink at least 64 ounces per day!

One clue that you are properly hydrated is clear urine.

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrate selection can be a tricky topic. Various carbohydrates elicit a different metabolic process in the body. The rate at which the digestive system can process carbohydrates is known as the glycemic index.

The most beneficial carbohydrates tend to have a rate low on this scale while the “Bad Carbs” rate high. Here is a brief explanation: depending on the type and amount of carbohydrates consumed, along with other factors, insulin is released into the bloodstream. Secreted by the pancreas, insulin is a hormone that dictates energy storage. Foods that elicit a low insulin response rate low on the glycemic scale and thus have more desirable consequences. These calories tend to be stored in skeletal muscle and the liver. On the opposite side, high glycemic foods rate high on the glycemic scale and can result in energy storage as body fat. Understanding the three basic classes of carbohydrates will help identify the beneficial carbohydrates from the others.

Simple Carbohydrates/Refined Sugars (Bad Carbs):
This form of carbohydrate is basically sugar and is released into the bloodstream quickly (high glycemic index) because the digestive system doesn’t have to work very hard to break it down.  The result is a rapid insulin response which leads to “lipogeneisis,” the conversion of sugars into triglycerides to be stored as fat. Processed/white foods or basically anything man made generally falls into this group, breakfast cereals, pastas, white bread, white rice and the like. These types of foods are generally on the isles of the grocery store while the “good” varieties tend to be found on the surrounding isles. This form of carbohydrate is generally unhealthy and should be avoided.

Complex Carbohydrates/Starchy Carbohydrates:
Complex carbohydrates are dense and typically rate low on the glycemic index. Complex carbohydrates, also known as starchy carbohydrates, largely yield more calories; however, because of their structure they are digested slowly and have a low impact on insulin levels and are nutrient dense. Some good sources are sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal.

Lean fibrous carbohydrates:
Because we don’t have the enzymes to break these foods down completely (fiber portion) the yield of calories is less. However, these carb sources are nutrient dense and their fiber content is essential for a healthy digestive tract.  They also rate low on the glycemic index scale because the fiber content slows the rate of release of sugar into the blood stream.  The result is a healthy digestive tract and a sustained release of sugar into the blood stream over an extended period of time.  Some good sources would be broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower.

Protein:
Proteins, which name means “to come first,”  are the building blocks of the body.  They contribute to key body functions, including blood clotting, fluid balance, production of hormones and enzymes, vision, and cell repair. Protein deficiencies can lead to major metabolic changes. One is a decrease in immune function. Poor protein intake can increase the risk of infections and disease.  Amino acids are the building block for proteins. The classification of amino acids falls into two basic groups, essential and nonessential. In effect the essentials must be included in the diet because are bodies cannot produce them. Thus there are two basic classes of protein sources complete and incomplete proteins.  Complete protein sources are derived from animal sources such as meats and dairy products while the plant variety proteins do not have all the essentials that are needed in our diet. Some examples of plant sources would be beans, legumes and nuts.

Lipids/Fats
Fats are by far the most efficient energy storage form. They have various functions in the body including providing energy for cells, controlling what goes in and out of cells, determining the integrity of nervous tissue and helping to form hormones.

There are many different types of fats and they can be conveniently divided into four main categories: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and trans fatty acids. The term saturation simply refers to the number of hydrogens a fatty acid chain is holding. Thus, in the case of saturated fatty acids, every available carbon bond is holding onto a hydrogen. Interestingly enough, saturated fatty acids yield more energy (higher in calories) than unsaturated fatty acids.

Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFA (for those who love acronyms). MUFA’s have one point where the hydrogens are missing and so they have one point of unsaturation. Many studies have shown that switching from a diet high in saturated fatty acids to monounsaturated fatty acids can help reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and maintain HDL (good cholesterol). Furthermore, studies show that patients with Type II Diabetes who switch from polyunsaturated fatty acids to monounsaturated fatty acids can help reduce their insulin resistance and restore their endothelium-dependent vasodilation (which decreases their risk for atherosclerosis).

Good vegetable sources of MUFA’s include the famous olive oil.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA. PUFA’s have two or more points of unsaturation. They include the omega-6 family (linoleic acid) and the omega-3 family (alpha-linoleic acid) of fatty acids.

The main sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oils, vegetable leaves, and a modest amount in soybean oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be required for the brain’s cerebral cortex development and retinal development for vision. Some of their beneficial effects include the prevention of ventricular fibrillation (heart rhythm irregularity) and a DECREASED platelet response to aggregation (so less risk for clots).

Permissible Nutritional Food List

Protein

Beef
Beef tenderloin, Filet Mignon, Sirloin Steak, Flank Steak, Round Steak, Top Round, Roast Beef, Ground Round, Ground Sirloin. Ground Beef, (90% Fat Free or leaner.)

Poultry
Chicken breast (no skin) canned Chicken Breast (Swanson’s), Turkey Breast, Turkey
Breast Cutlets. Ground Turkey Breast (95% Fat Free or Leaner), Canned Turkey Breast, Deli
Turkey Breast.

Fish
Just about all kinds except catfish and shell fish, the best are: Tuna (canned in water or fresh), Cod, Halibut, Orange Roughy, Salmon (canned in water or fresh, but limit to twice weekly), Shrimp and Whitefish.

Other Meats
Bison, Ostrich, and Deer.

Complex Starchy Carbohydrates
The very best choices are: Oatmeal, Cream of Rice, Puffed Rice, Rice Cakes, Cooked Rice (brown or white), Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Beans (white, pinto, kidney or black), Lima Beans, Corn and Peas.
(Once in awhile as a treat you may have pasta, corn tortillas or a bagel as a sub – mostly stick to the above)

Fibrous Vegetables
Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Spinach, Tomato, Water Chestnuts, Zucchini.

Fruit
Any type of berries (they are fibrous), Apple, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Nectarine, Orange, Peach.

“Healthy” Fats and Oil
Flax seed oil, safflower oil, walnut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, almonds and walnuts

Free Foods
Vinegar                                Cinnamon
Lemon juice                         Decaffeinated coffee
Lime juice                                Sparkling water
Mustard                               Water
Mushrooms                              Herbal tea
Garlic                                        Iced tea
Onions                                      Dry seasonings (Herbal, etc.)
Scallions                                   Stevia
Cucumber                                 Pepper
Lettuce                                  Sugar-free Jell-O
Citrus peels
Chili peppers

Dairy

Skim milk, low fat yogurt, fat free/ low fat cottage cheese.
Low fat or fat free cheeses such as; mozzarella, feta, parmesan ect.

Chad Marr
NSCA-CPT, Owner- ICON Gym