Monday, 27 September 2010

Nutrition for the Warrior Poet

Overall, we men treat our bodies very badly. One of the main ways we subject these brilliant pieces of biological engineering to endless trauma, is by what we eat. Leaving the drugs, the alcohol and the bad hygiene aside, just take a look at your diet.
There is nothing effete about sticking to a regime of good eating. There is nothing sissy about turning vegetarian, nothing unmanly about eating the smaller portion.
And above all, there is nothing inherently negative about watching what you eat. On this occasion, your mother was right on the money. Eat your greens. If you don’t take back control of what you put into your body, you will be risking your mental and your physical health, in the short and long term. On top of this, being more aware of what you eat will make you look good and perform better for your woman.
That’s why I consulted my good friend, and internet health coach Ulrich Neujahr (I call him Oolie), on this very topic. What follows are the top ten tips for the modern man, as he faces the challenges of the contemporary warrior poet.

1. 20 – 40 -40. This is the ideal ratio of fats, carbs and proteins that you should be aiming for in your diet. You could summarise this tip, and everything that follows, by thinking about your body like a business. The fats are your long term savings, your carbs are your venture capital. More about proteins to come. The main thing to remember, however, is that in the past our dietry habits revolved around stocking up on fat reserves, but we no longer live in a culture conducive to a fat-based diet. Oolie believes that because our lifestyles are so much more comfortable and sedentary, we must adapt the emphasis to carbs and proteins, rather than fats. It is about investing wisely and allocating resources for the job at hand. There is no point eating fatty foods, if all you do all day is sit at a desk and work out for half and hour at night.
2. If in doubt – eat proteins. A good way to find out how much proteins you should be eating daily is to take your weight in Kilos and double it. That’s the ideal amount in grams. According to Oolie, if you are eating the right amount of proteins, you are less likely to get hungry, or feel starved while training. This advice is not meant to make you comfortable with your eating. It is definitely a no-pain-no-gain approach. But you should never go hungry if you are eating the correct proportion of proteins.
3. Use supplements. While this remains a controversial topic, if you are interested in a dynamic lifestyle, and want to maximise results, Oolie recommends a smart combination of easily available proven supplements. Nitric oxide is found in Viagra and relaxes the inner lining of the heart, improving blood flow and heart rate. Thermogenic supplements increase fat burn, by raising the temperature of the body. In short you sweat more, and increase the burn. Creatine will volumise your muscles and help absorb proteins more efficiently. Oolie believes that regular combinations of these supplements will make a huge difference to your workouts. They’ll optimise your heart performance, burn more fats, and increase your body’s protein levels.
4. Cleanse. Whatever it takes, make sure you are keeping regular. The more toxins you have in your body, the more fat you will build up. All the crap flowing around in your system will turn into fats storage by default. Stay hydrated and make sure you are optimising your digestive system. This will increase your metabolism and make the cells in your body more efficient.
5. Be low-density. The idea is to design your diet so that you are eating fewer calories for every ounce of food. Oolie recommends a one-to-one ratio at the very least, so that you are taking no more calories per meal than its weight in ounces. The basic idea is, again, efficiency. You can even increase the amount of portions per meal, just as long as you lower the calories. The result is a kind of cheat-the-gut effect, where you feel full but reduce fat. You might feel hungry sooner than normal, but Oolie reckons this a good thing. It is a sign your metabolism is speeding up.
6. Stock up on multivitamins and amino acids. During training your body is under a great deal of stress, so everything counts. You have to take special care to make sure your body is getting the essential vitamins and nutrients. This is probably more about your mental health than it is about your immediate physical condition. If you are low on this stuff, then you are guaranteed to get depressed. Your mind-body unit is a fine-tuned emotional system and it is your job to look after it when developing your overall physical health.
7. Eat negative calorie foods. These are foods that take more calories to consume than are actually contained in the food itself. An example of this is jalapeƱo chillies. Or celery. These are not the most enjoyable foods to eat, but you can be creative. Again you can eat and be full, while not putting on fat. It will also increase the level at which you burn calories during a workout.
8. Use high performance hydrates. Products such as Gatorade contain electrolytes. That is they contain more sodium and potassium than regular water. Your body loses these essentials when sweating and normal water will not replace them. Electrolytes also improve the electric charge of your cells, meaning that they communicate better and ultimately work more efficiently during a workout.
9. Cut out the dairy. This is particularly important for men. Cheese and milk will clog up your system. But be careful not to use soya supplements. You have 20 times more testosterone that women, and soya is an oestrogen which will disrupt the natural harmony of your hormonal system. This is a serious business, particularly for your sexual health. Alternatives to soya include almond milk, oat milk, or rice milk.
10. It just what you eat – it’s when. Timing is key. This nutritional information is based on optimising your body, and making the system more efficient. That means being conscious of when you eat carbohydrates and proteins, as well as how much you take. Learn about this, find out what nutrient does what, and set a schedule around this knowledge.

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