And while it’s all very well getting super technical by asking questions like, “what should I eat as I start to train for endurance events”, or “what foods are best to eat after training to help me lose weight/gain muscle”, or even “what should I eat the morning of a big event or major training session”, it’s important to get a few basics right first! Yep, we’re talking about good ol’ fashioned healthy eating.
The simple truth is that in order to get your body running better/stronger/faster, you need to put the right fuel in – and that starts by choosing basic, clean foods.
So here are a few rules for clean eating newbies, to get you on track:
#1 Reach for COLOUR
Picture in your mind, just for a moment, a huge dinner table filled with as much fast food as you can possibly think of. Yep all that deep fried, battered and bleached, stodgy, pastry-crusted, non-food that for some reason is so much more appealing in the early hours of the morning, after you’ve sipped too many happy hour drinks.Have you ever noticed that these kind of foods are all a variation of one colour? BROWN!!
Ok you can ditch the fast food visual now (phew!)… time to imagine a table full of all the foods grown from the earth instead. Notice how varied, fresh and colourful your table looks? Much more appealing!
All those natural colours aren’t just to make our food look good, they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function effectively.
Eat a colourful diet and you’re on track for a better functioning body and a faster track time.#2 Herbs
Start with a few basics like: basil (Vitamin K, A & Calcium), chives (digestive benefits), parsley (reduces inflammation, which is great for training recovery), rosemary (Vitimin A, C , B & Folate), mint (stomach settler, perfect for pre-run nerves) and buy them as fresh as you can.
Experiment and have fun in the kitchen, trying out different recipes with your herbs and see how they add depth to your dishes.
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#3 Let off some steam
The way you cook your food is often just as important as what you are eating. It’s time to let off some steam!
Steaming is such an awesome way of cooking. Your food is slowly cooked, keeping all those nutrients locked in. You can steam just about anything and all you need is a pan with a small amount of boiling water in it and a colander with a lid. Simple and hardly any washing up! WIN!
#4 Know which macronutrients to reach for
As a simple rule: on days when you’re NOT training or getting active, you don’t need many carbs, so stick to proteins (eggs, lean organic meats, fish, tempeh, plain greek yoghurt), good fats (avocado, nuts) and lots of veggies. On days when you ARE training, include some carbs too for extra energy (fruit, brown rice, beans, quinoa).
The bottom line – yep, eating the way you always have is comforting and familiar but if you’re reading this article, it means you’re interested in treating your body better and fuelling it for performance and health. Today is as good a day as any for change, so start thinking about what you’re putting in your body now and reap the rewards.
Start one step at a time, even if it’s setting yourself a goal to eat 3-5 colourful foods each day, or to add one herb to your main meal.
What you eat is critical to your mood, hormones, energy levels, athletic performance and immune system, so the better you eat, the better you’ll feel!Abigail Johns is a Trainer at Bottoms Up! Fitness, a collaboration of some of Bondi Beach's top health and fitness trainers, coaches and consultants. For more great tips or to participate in a few sessions go to Bottoms Up! Fitness.