It's easy to get confused with what, when and how much to eat. With so much information being thrown at us everyday, it easy to forget the basics. There's a difference between good nutrition and smart nutrition. Cookie dough dessert is dumb nutrition. Smart nutrition is using good nutrition to obtain a certain outcome. So for the actor we need to look at a number of things to determine how we can maximise our daily energy levels, and for those active actors, how we can tie in our nutrition to obtain our fitness goals.
The first place anyone should start is Nutrition Australia and the Australian Dietary Guidelines. If you haven't had a look at the guidelines for a while it's worth checking out, they updated everything last year and it's a great place to start if you don't know where to begin. Check the links at the bottom yo.
You may see food as a luxury or a reward, but your body sees it as fuel. It's important to be aware that you consciously choose everything you put in your mouth; you choose what you fuel your body with. You're body is like a lamborghini. Now you wouldn't fill a lamborghini with regular grade petrol, you'd go premium baby! It's the same with your food, if you fuel your body with calorie dense and nutrient deficient food, you will get a calorie dense and nutrient deficient performance. Fact. So when picking which foods to eat at your local foodery, pick the options that will be most beneficial. Im talking lean meats, Quality carbohydrates and enough fruits and vegetables to make your vegetarian girlfriend jealous. These three elements should be present in every meal you eat.
You need to embrace carbohydrates. They have been given a bad name of late due to their link to weight gain and obesity, but they are essential to general well being, building muscle and fat loss. When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down and stores them as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscles. At one time the body can store somewhere between 1800-2000 calories of energy in the form of glycogen, enough to sustain 90-120 minutes of consistent, vigorous activity. So its needless to say Carbohydrates need to be the cornerstone of most meals we ingest. We're looking towards consuming quality, low GI carbohydrates. This means we will get the benefit from a particular food's energy over a sustained time period, rather then in one quick hit. Foods such as brown rice, sweet potato, wholemeal pasta and wholemeal breads should be reppin' the turf in your pantry. Without adequate blood glucose levels (carbohydrate intake) we become lethargic and unfocused leading to a drop in performance. It's also worth noting the more active you are, the more carbohydrates you will need for optimum performance.
Protein is widely publicised for it's role in weight loss programs and it's ability to assist hypertrophy (Building muscle), and for good reason. Protein is used in the body as a building and repairing material. It takes the body more time and energy to break down proteins, effecting the energy in/out ratio (about 20-30 percent of the protein calories ingested is used by the body just to break it down) and giving you a sense of 'fullness'. The body stores brotein as amino acids, of where there are essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids indicates that our body cannot create them through metabolic processes, meaning we need to consume them through food. Not all protein sources are created the same, so it's important to eat foods that have a selection of different amino acid profiles. Lean meats, milk, tofu, beans and certain legumes are some examples. Unless we are aiming to add muscle-mass we don't need to go over-board with protein intake. I recommend using your palm as portion control, every meal should contain a palm size of a protein source.
Fat plays a very important role within the body. It has the potential to speed metabolism, aid in digestion of vitamins and minerals and act as a secondary source of energy. As with carbohydrates and protein, their are good sources of fat and bad sources of fat, we should be looking at the good kinds to make up about 25-30 percent of our daily calorie intake. This is especially important for men, due to fat's role in testosterone production. Testosterone is a wonder hormone. It promotes fat loss, influences lean mass gain and makes you mad horny. Which is always a good thing. Always. However fat, like carbohydrates now, has had an abusive past. The 90's saw a rise in popularity of the low fat diet, which in theory only makes sense right? To not get fat, don't eat fat. But this way of thinking leads to overcompensation of carbohydrates and protein, resulting in less than stellar results. Good fats won't make you fat, the bad fats will. So I encourage you to eat moderate amount of foods such as nuts, eggs, olive and coconut oil.
Now you just put the elements together. You know you need more carbohydrates then fats and proteins, then you add a palm size portion of protein then add some vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil. Bam! Nutrition. If you prepare your meals and snacks before a big day of rehearsals or auditions, then you can rest assured your body wont fuck up, like your lines, hair shoes, make-up and alarm could.
Mindfulness, when it comes to food is very important to me. Mindfulness in respect to food selection, and mindfulness in regards to the countless cliche's that surround healthy eat. Because the fact is these cliche's are correct. We NEED to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables because they contain essential vitamins and minerals. We NEED breakfast to give us energy for our day. And Most importantly we NEED to drink a lot of water. If anything, be mindful of these cliche's and stick to the basics; a serving of carbohydrates, fruit or vegetables, protein and fat with every meal.
For more information check out the links below. In the whole scheme of things Im just a messenger of good nutrition because I know how good it can be, but that's not without trial and error. It's initiatives like nutrition Australia and the dietary guidelines that have the definitive answers. There's a reason why the government funds these bodies, so they should always be the point of reference when you are unsure.
I will soon get into how I have manipulated nutrition to work for me, in terms of fitness outcomes, so keep an eye out for nutrition for fat loss and nutrition for hypertrophy.
Daily Nutrient Requirements.
Australian Dietary guidelines.
Nutrition AUstralia - Balancing energy in/out.
What Australians eat.