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nutrition with Cheshire Personal TrainingAt Paul Masons Fitness we believe that the foods we choose to eat shape our lives. This is why optimal nutrition underpins everythin we do.

You will  not find your self on a calorie restricted diet leaving your body feeling stressed (and you tired and hungry) fighting to get back to where it was before; but we will introduce you to a method of eating that is based on knowing how and why to make the right choices.

What we do
We assess your current nutrition intake and eating habits via a questionnaire and by asking you to complete a comprehensive Food Diary. We then utilise structured goal setting to understand what you want to achieve, and develop a personalised food programme that works for you. We continually refine your programme to ensure you remain motivated, happy and energised.

You will also learn moderation and gain an understanding how you can enjoy the occasional indulgence without it affecting your overall goals or feeling guilty.

Nutritional Guidance and support comes as part of a Personal Training programme purely focused on helping you to develop life-long healthy eating habits, that you can in turn use to positively influence family and friends.

  • You’ll receive the following
  • A Food Diary to help review your daily eating habits
  • A 6-week eating plan
  • A shopping list of foods to buy
  • Email / phone support outside of session times to help with motivatation and answer day-to-day queries.

 Facts about Nutrition
The answers to most health concerns are often found in the diet and subsequently how the body reacts to these foods. However, in todays world of  fast food and fad diets and conflicting messages it is not always ease to make the right food choices. This is where we can help.

 Look and feel better than ever.
A sensible and sustainable healthy eating & supplementation plan can assist with a wide range of health issues. To help with this, we will evaluate your nutrition profile and provide you with a tailor made programme to help you look and feel better than ever. Find out more… For further information on our dietary and nutrition service,.

You are what you eat
This article covers an optimal approach to nutrition for anybody who trains, works out, engages in sports or has athletic hobbies, wants to live healthier and just plain wants to have a better looking (and working) body. This information and example plans is not aimed at any specific bodybuilding or strength discipline (although it certainly applies to you as well) but offers a foundation for overall physique improvement.

Very few of us think about it as we grow up, seeing food as either simple sustenance or something enjoyable; but everything we eat and drink has a fundamental effect on how we look and feel. Without food and drink we die but too much of the wrong foods and drinks and we can kill ourselves with disease and dysfunction. And what of those of us who not only wish to survive but want an optimal body and mind? You need an optimal nutrition plan.

Our blood and many of the tissues in our body are gradually replaced every six months of our life due to cellular turnover. Our entire skeleton is impressively rebuilt over about two years using the materials we provide our complex systems with. What is this raw material we are built from? Food and drink. Our bodies are complex survival machines and they can certainly scavenge and try their best with sub-optimal materials but for a body that operates at peak efficiency, for hormone levels that regulate us to maximum performance, for focus, drive and energy to complete and compete at the highest level, for the ability to fight chronic damage and disease before it affects our integral health – we need to give our body optimal materials to work with.

Does this apply to me?
You don’t have to be a competitive athlete to benefit from improved nutrition. Whatever your goals we can all benefit from lower body fat, more lean muscle, more energy, more focus and less disease and injury. Whether you are a professional athlete looking to raise your game or just looking to tone up at the gym you will make virtually no progress without optimal nutrition on your side. No matter how hard you work out, how many hours you spend pushing yourself, you are missing a huge part of the puzzle without understanding proper nutrition.

Eating like an Athlete
There are a number of principles that an athletic diet considers. It’s difficult to judge exactly what percentage of your performance and physique owe to nutrition but somewhere in the region of 50% – 80% of all your health, fitness and athletic goals will require a fundamentally athletic approach to eating and drinking.

Optimal Nutrition covers all the bases. It improves health and longevity, avoiding poor nutritional related disease and deficiency, it aids sporting activity with increased focus and energy and it can completely alter your physique by forcing your body to eat body fat for fuel and add healthy metabolically active lean muscle.
Lean gain nutrition

The general principles of this plan do not apply to massive weight gain or loss. In fact on most optimal programmes your weight on the scales may not alter significantly at all unless you are carrying extreme amounts of fat. Generally you will be reducing unnecessary body fat and adding lean muscle tissue in its place. By gaining 10 pounds of lean tissue and dropping 10 pounds of excess stored fat you will notice no scale change at all but your body will be leaner, harder, more fit and athletic looking and vastly healthier overall. Remember the scales can be a useful tool in certain circumstances but judgement in the mirror or on before and after photographs is much more direct.

This is the difference between losing ‘weight’ and losing ‘fat’. Starve yourself and you’ll rapidly lose weight, but a lot of this weight is really stored glycogen and lean muscle tissue and you can expect crashing energy levels, sickness and a less than improved body shape. Build a body that is powerful, fit and energetic and it will rapidly shed excess fat and keep it off and you’ll live each day with ample energy and a body that looks great in the mirror.

These principles apply equally to both men and women. Although men will generally be concerned with more muscle gain than women the essential outlines for optimal nutrition do not vary much except in individual calorie amounts which will be different for everybody and their eventual goals.

Calories and Hormones
The food and drink you consume contain a variety of measurable components. The simplest is calories. This is simply a measure of the raw energy food types and portions provide when digested in our bodies. The four macronutrients (Protein/Carbohydrates/Fats/Water) also have different profiles and effects in our bodies often by their cascade effect on the hormones in our bodies. These are huge in number but some of the common ones are the sex hormones – Testosterone and Estrogen which have a huge variety of effects in both male and female bodies and can be directly affected by our diets. Insulin and Leptin are the ‘blood sugar’ and ‘Hunger’ hormones and often considered the master hormones of the body. Different foods and food timings affect the release of Insulin and Leptin and their cascade affects on many of our biological pathways can make the difference between peak health and chronic disease, between a lean athletic body and an over fat one, between abundant energy and mental focus and continual exhaustion and poor mental ability.

The Optimal Nutrition plans help you manage and focus these hormones to take advantage of their useful central roles whilst avoiding the pit falls. By controlling the hormonal effect of nutrition you can improve recovery from exercise, ensure your body uses all the nutrients you provide it fully, reduce hunger and ‘cravings’ and improve your overall body composition.

Grazing not Gorging
Eating like an athlete requires a blend of the very old and the very new. The Optimal Nutrition Plan for Athletes will help you combine some of the latest advances in the science of sports nutrition whilst acknowledging the proper ancient dietary requirements humans have evolved with. In Western society today with our unusual abundance of processed and distorted foods all readily available, altered for look and taste and stuffed with simple refined sugars and synthetic chemical preservatives we have strayed a long way from the diet that our genes have literally designed us for.

The human body is more or less capable of adapting to most stresses by altering its body to achieve survival for the continuation of those genes. If we need to hunt fast moving prey we build stronger, faster muscles and we reward that metabolically expensive hunting with rich protein meat. We scavenged for fresh fruits, berries and wild vegetables and our bodies rapidly learnt to make use of all the nutrients contained in these. Our bodies also come equipped with virtually unlimited fat storage capability. In times of plenty we could store excess energy as fat and then use this when food became scarcer. Unfortunately today the vast availability of cheap, calorie dense and nutrient low junk foods means we can remain constantly full but with expanding fat storage and still be deprived of essential quality nutrients. We may rarely starve but we are often starving for essential vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients which result in chronic disease and malfunctioning bodies.

One of the chief ways to ensure we mimic the way our bodies were designed to best eat and process our food is to ‘graze not gorge’. Gorging is only really of benefit when starvation is in prospect but to maintain a balance between avoiding hunger and getting enough essential food without overloading our hormones and causing excess fat storage we need to follow the example of our natural baby born instincts. This means eating approximately 6 meals a day. There is no magic reason for the number 6 for some people 5 or even 7 or 8 meals may be more beneficial but 6 is a good standard for those of us awake and working a normal day.

Eating 6 meals a day essentially means ‘snacking’ every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. This has numerous benefits for our physique and athletic goals as well as our overall health. First and most simply we are never allowed to get overly hungry and begin to crave unhealthy sugars and fats simply to stop us feeling faint or ill. This helps maintain food discipline and make better food choices. When you eat regularly and at set times your body never enters the panic mode which causes it to crave emergency sugar for energy. Regular grazing also ensures we maintain a smooth insulin response to our meals. Insulin is released in response to food broken down in our digestive tract. Insulin is a double edged sword. It is the ‘taxi’ hormone shuttling toxic sugar out of our blood, pushing nutrients into damaged muscles, improving recovery and anabolic size gains by increasing growth factors and testosterone. Unfortunately too much insulin released at the wrong time, or when insulin becomes insensitive to healthy muscle tissues and we experience pre-diabetic conditions and sugars are rapidly stored as body fat. Eating small meals regularly ensures a healthy release of insulin which benefits our body but avoids the overloaded hormone response of eating a huge meal after hours of starvation.

Also as athletes or those aiming to have an improved physique or performance we are going to need lots of quality protein to repair and rebuild muscles, clean energy to power performance and access to the healthy fats that make up most of our joints, ligaments, brain matter, hormones and regulate virtually every cellular process in our bodies. Imagine eating all these in only two or three big meals. When our bodies are overloaded this way not only do we automatically put the body into fat storage mode and become sluggish and tired but we are also overloading our digestion and ensuring that much of the useful nutrients will simply be dumped from the body as waste products. Now, spread the exact same foods out over six smaller meals throughout your day and instantly your digestion never becomes overwhelmed and can sort these nutrients at a clear pace, using what is needed, wasting nothing and never leaving us bloated or with the post-meal ‘crash’ of tiredness and inability to concentrate.

Example Schedule:

7AM – Wake up, consume any pre cardio or morning workout supplements on an empty stomach.

7:30 AM – Breakfast. Whole food Protein and carbohydrate meal.

10:00 AM – Mid morning snack. Meal replacement shake.

12:30 PM – Lunch. Whole food Protein and carbohydrate meal.

3:30 PM – Mid afternoon snack. Meal replacement shake.

6:30 PM – Evening meal or post workout meal.

9:00 PM – Evening snack meal or slow digesting protein shake.

9:30 PM – Pre-bed hormone boosting supplements such as ZMA blends etc

10:00 PM – Sleep.

Macro (major) Nutrients is essentially talking about the big food type groupings, as opposed to micronutrients which refers to the tiny vitamins, minerals and other co-factors we need to ensure proper metabolic functioning and repair.

Macronutrients are divided into Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats and Water.
Water: Approximately 70% of the human body is compromised of water. It is a part of every single cell and process that occurs inside us. Even with a loss of 2% of our water content can lead to drastic dehydration which causes mental disruption, fat gain, muscle loss, cramping, nerve damage and unless corrected rapidly, death. You simply cannot live without water first and foremost. Having established that our bodies are very good at making the best of a bad situation and will survive in a state of mild dehydration without much obvious complaint other than sub-optimal performance but rather than worrying about absolute minimal function let us concern ourselves with Optimised function.

It is extremely difficult to burn body fat in a dehydrated state. A body deprived of regular water will also learn to hold onto water as bloated water retention beneath the skin, giving a puffy look that obscures a hard physique. It may sound illogical at first but a body given regular water finds no need to hold onto water bloat and will be leaner and healthier than a body deprived of water.

Athletes and those engaged in sports and other physical activities will also use up a lot more water than sedentary individuals who do little physical work. The more exercise you do (and the warmer the surroundings or conditions) the more water you will need.

It is very difficult to overdose on water. It is technically possible to dilute the blood so much that major problems can occur but generally this requires such an acute over imbibing of water that it is virtually unheard of.

Do not rely on thirst to indicate proper water intake. Thirst only really activates when we are already dehydrated. If you sweat during exercise you need more water. There is no exact amount for everyone but for most people an extra two litres a day is a good starting point. You can count fruit juices and the water used to mix protein shakes however alcohol, teas and coffees can cause dehydration so do not count these liquids as part of your intake. On hot days or in warmer environments or when performing more demanding exercise you may need up to 2 extra litres above even this level.

If you have been chronically used to drinking less water you may find for the first few weeks on this Optimal Nutrition Plan you may need to urinate a lot more frequently however your body will eventually adjust to the intake and need less trips to the toilet. However a good indicator of water intake is fairly regular urination. If you don’t urinate at least three times a day it’s usually a good sign that you need more water urgently!

Water is the primary nutrient in your system. It may not be exciting or come in a flashy packet with promises of shredded abs and huge muscle gains but without a good supply of it you are sabotaging all of your efforts in both training and nutrition elsewhere. You cannot grow muscle tissue without water. You cannot burn body fat without water. You cannot perform physically or mentally at anywhere near peak levels without water.

It is a relatively easy change to your nutrition plans to have access to mineral water throughout your day. Plan ahead and never miss out. It’s also perfectly acceptable to drink much of your extra water in between meals if you find that consuming a lot of water with food fills you up too quickly or causes digestive discomfort. You can add lemon or lime slices or other low sugar items to glasses of water for extra taste and pH balance if preferred.

A note about vitamin and herbal supplements and water intake- Many health professionals often remind us that urine should be clear to ensure we are properly hydrated and this is usually a sound point however if you are using certain high dose vitamin or mineral blends or supplements with certain food colourings you may find urine is discoloured even when proper water intake is used. For this reason if you are regularly using supplements it may be best to stick to frequency of urination and ensuring low water retention (puffiness) on the face and other problem areas to check your intake is on target.

Containing 4 calories per gram consumed protein is the complex formation of amino acids that are the fundamental building blocks of all organisms. Essentially protein is what your muscle tissue is made from. Virtually all people require a higher protein intake than is usual in a typical Western diet and with athletes, particularly those wanting muscular development, an even greater emphasis on protein is essential. There is some debate as to the optimal level of protein and it likely depends on both your individual metabolism and your particular activities and goals. Some people seem to function better on a very high protein intake, while others require a still higher than average but much less extreme intake. Generally 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good initial starting point for virtually all athletic individuals – although expect to fine tune this as you go along.

Protein is present in meat, eggs, milk and yoghurts, cheeses and to a lesser extent beans, legumes and vegetables (although these tend to be incomplete proteins). There are also a large number of supplemental protein drinks, mixes and snacks that tend to be based around whey and casein (milk derived) proteins. Soy is also a controversial source of protein. Protein shakes are often the purest and most biologically active forms of protein however this does not mean you should neglect a foundation of good clean whole foods. Just remember that most whole food proteins tend to contain fats as well when working out your calorie and macronutrient ratios.

Although it is by no means impossible for protein to be turned into body fat it requires a lot of processes in the body and for this reason it is generally agreed that a higher protein diet usually results in less body fat storage.

You should eat protein with every meal, in whatever form you choose but there should never really be a call for any meal that is protein free in an Athletic Optimal Nutrition Plan.

Carbohydrates: Containing 4 calories per gram consumed Carbohydrates (Carbs) are the raw energy sources for the body. Carbohydrates are the double edged sword of food groups. They offer pure simple energy which burns cleanly in the body allowing general activity and sporting power and endurance. They can cause a powerful insulin response when eaten which helps drive nutrients and other essentials into hungry muscle tissue. They make us feel strong and full. Many carbs contain fibre which is an essential part of our digestion and overall health. Unfortunately carbohydrates that are unused, eaten at the wrong times or refined into simple sugars are rapidly turned into body fat as well as causing roller-coaster insulin spikes and elevated blood sugar levels – a dire spiral which brings fat burning to a halt, reduces efficiency and can eventually be implicated in diabetic conditions.

When manipulating carbohydrate levels it is often best to ensure that you have a specific goal in mind. For bulking diets or rapid fat loss diets please see the specific plans on this website. In terms of Optimal Nutrition carbohydrates are never ignored or minimized but we choose the best sources and ensure they are timed to coincide with our bodies responses for maximum energy and recovery without hindering fat loss.

Essential choice: Fruit and Veg: In terms of carbs our absolute best options will always be fruit and vegetables. These contain a large amount of water, are the primary sources of healthy fibre and are generally low in calories while containing a huge range of micronutrient vitamins, minerals and other co-factors which keep our bodies in top shape. With their high fibre and water content much of the calories contained in fruit and vegetables (in their whole state) is virtually negligible and especially in terms of green vegetables and small berries an almost unlimited amount can be eaten without causing much in the way of insulin spikes yet still filling us up and improving our health and digestion and resistance to disease and injury. Many people today recommend the ‘eat a rainbow’ guide to fruits and veg. The various distinct colours usually indicate almost unique anti oxidants and other powerful health protecting properties. By eating at least 5 portions a day of fruit and veg and by mixing up colours and varieties you will ensure you are giving your body the widest range of protection and nutrients.

Useful choice – Starchy foods: This would include starches like sweet potatoes and white potatoes, rice and to a lesser extent breads and pastas. Generally wholemeal and unprocessed versions are the best as they have less added sugars and other unnecessary ingredients. Many of these foods, at least the wholemeal varieties contain a lot of healthy fibre and various nutrients although they are substantially less rich than fruit and vegetables.

Starchy foods offer a rich supply of clean energy to power through workouts and sports as well as being protein sparing to ensure lean tissue growth. Generally the most important factor with starchy carbohydrates is timing. The body is better primed to utilise these foods earlier in the day and for several hours following intense training. For these reasons meals featuring starchy carbs should generally be contained to the first three of the day (assuming a 6 meal a day strategy is being used) On training days the large meal an hour or two following resistance training or heavy endurance work could also feature starchy carbs.

Specialised choice – Refined sugars – For most of the time simple refined sugars have no real place in an optimal diet. They are not essential by any means and are almost always rapidly converted into excess body fat while causing havoc with insulin levels and disrupting other hormones as well as sleep. However, like a smart bomb delivered direct to target there are times when refined sugars can be cleverly used. The two times we may want to utilise simple sugars would be just before or during endurance work and just after training. With exercise our body alters its hormonal profile, the body becomes primed to utilise energy rapidly to repair muscle tissue and a spike of insulin is actually useful to drive glycogen, protein, creatine, glutamine etc into muscle tissue. In this mode the body will continue to burn fat even in the presence of high glycemic carbohydrates. For this reason you will find specialised recovery drinks which contain a blend of fast absorbing proteins along with glucose style refined sugars. These would be an extremely poor food choice for most of our meals but during this hyper-sensitive insulin period we can dramatically improve muscle gain and cut recovery times drastically with just one well timed meal ‘smart bomb’.

FATS – Containing 9 calories per gram consumed fats are the misunderstood sibling of the food groups. Perhaps because we hear the word ‘fat’ to mean unsightly and unhealthy body fat and then imagine the food will have the same effect on us. As it happens this is far from the actual picture. Fats are a highly complex set of substances that come in various forms and from both animal and vegetable sources. Some are liquid oils and some are solid fats, some are simple concentrated energy sources and some are absolutely essential to life itself.

For year’s people decided that low fat diets were the answer to low fat bodies. The reasoning apparently being that all those extra calories concentrated in a small amount of food was going to push us into calorie overload. There were only two problems with this thinking – one – everybody just replaced fats with extra carbohydrates to hide the poor taste of low fat foods and ended up with insulin problems and even fatter bodies and – two – depriving the body of fats deprived us of many of the most healthful foods on the planet and robbed the body of nutrients that are literally essential to proper functioning of the whole body.

Fats regulate our hormone levels, extreme low fat diets cause a drastic and catastrophic crash in sex hormones like testosterone meaning athletic performance, not to mention sex drive and overall health plummets rapidly. Fats make up the prostaglandins that prevent allergies and promote healing. Fats are actually the primary ingredient in our joints, ligaments, eyes, membranes, blood profiles, nervous system and most importantly our brains! Our brains are actually almost entirely made of fats and reducing the high quality oils we need means our body has to make do with what it can. It’s no surprise that depression, mood swings, inability to focus or pay attention, sudden aggression and lower IQ scores are all linked to poor intake of essential fats.

Fats are a vast subject by themselves but what follows is a brief guide to some of the types you need, can use and might want to avoid.

EFA – Essential Fatty Acids – The EFAs are commonly known by their old names of Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils. These fats are called essential because the body simply cannot make them from anything else. If you don’t consume them the body becomes deficient very rapidly and suffers a host of problems. These oils are quite delicate and generally should never be cooked or heated as this will damage the structure beyond repair. These oils will remain liquids and do not solidify. You can find excellent sources in oily fish like Salmon, Mackerel or Sardines, they can also be found in Cod Liver Oil and other fish oil supplements. Vegetarian sources include flax seed oil, borage oil and can be found whole in Chia seeds. There are also cold pressed oil EFA blends that can be poured over food or into shakes.

Coconut, Olive oils and CLA – These specialised fats are not essential in the same way as the two EFA types however they do offer a host of health benefits and good clean sources of energy that oddly tend to increase fat burning rather than inhibit it. Coconut has a host of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti oxidant functions and also offers a type of specialised oils known as MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) essentially these are fats that can be burnt like carbohydrates for energy but also speed up the metabolism meaning more body fat is utilised. Coconut also prevents wrinkles and improves skin. Olive oil is a well known cardiovascular protector with a host of anti-cancer benefits and helps boost the immune system. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a type of fat found in unprocessed milk amongst other places. This particular fatty acid is increasingly known as ‘the fat that burns fat’ as it has been shown to improve the bodies use of its own stored body fat as fuel source. All these are not essential fats but can be used in meals or as supplements for extra benefits.

Saturated fats – Generally saturated fats such as butter or much of the fat found in meats and eggs is neither wonderful nor deadly. Excess consumption of saturated fats could lead susceptible individuals towards clogged arteries according to some studies although generally this has been shown to be more directly linked to hydrogenated fats and sugar consumption. Saturated fat is almost simply pure stored energy. Your body finds it harder to burn than carbohydrates but this means less is likely to be stored as body fat. Saturated fat can be eaten in moderation and along with coconut is one of the only fats safe to cook with.

Fats to avoid – Fats being the delicate and complex substances they are can easily turn nasty when processed or heated or exposed to light for long durations. Extra Virgin Olive Oil for instance is a wonderfully healthy part of a diet but heat it and its structure rapidly changes into that of a dangerous hydrogenated fat, implicated in cancers, heart disease and a host of other chronic conditions. Most processed and fried foods contain these dangerous fats. Where possible always try to avoid fried junk food and any cookie, cake or biscuit products that contain hydrogenated fats. Not only are these damaging to your health but they compete for space in the body and push out healthy oils thus placing your entire body in even more jeopardy. An unhealthy body will rarely look good on the outside for long and performance will drop rapidly. If you need to use oils for cooking choose coconut oils or saturated solid fats like organic butter. These are stable at high temperatures and do not alter when cooked into dangerous trans-fats.
Putting them together
Although there are lots of different opinions on the ideal diet there are a few clear principles we can almost always agree upon.

  1. Meals should be regular, frequent and preferably small – enough to sate your hunger for two to three hours so you are just ready for another meal when your schedule indicates.
  2.  Protein should be eaten with every meal regardless of size.
  3.  Try to avoid combining heavy carb foods with high fat foods where possible. Generally meals should if possible contain either (Protein + Carb) or (Protein + Fat.) There will usually be a small amount of the other but as minimal amount as possible. Due to the responsiveness of insulin declining throughout your day, Protein + Carb meals fare better earlier in the day and after workouts while Protein + Fat meals fare better later in the day when your body is slowing.
  4.  Drink plenty of water. Remember fruit juices are loaded with calories so they must be counted as such. Only pure water has absolutely zero calories and is essential to life, however teas, especially green and white teas are also full of anti oxidants and may increase fat loss.
  5. Your body can handle its largest meals at two times. Breakfast – when your body has been deprived of food all night and is powering up for the day ahead and The Post Workout Window – this is the hour or so following a workout when the body is primed to accept nutrients rapidly. These two meals are also the only times when very heavy carb loads are generally acceptable.
  6. Most people eat larger meals as they go through the day but the human body responds much more favourably to eating larger meals during the energetic earlier parts of the day and smaller meals later in the day when it is slowing towards sleep. This may take some getting used to and some planning but your increased energy and rapid physique improvements will be thanks enough for the effort.
  7. Don’t ignore fruit and veg! Salads are acceptable in almost any amounts. They’re like tasty versions of multi vitamins and anti-oxidant pills!

Optimal Supplementation
Eating like an athlete is quite different to the diet followed by most people in modern Western society. Organising your diet to follow the principles of an Optimised Nutrition strategy may require some extra planning and preparation. Supplementation is not absolutely necessary by any means and many people have built strong, agile and healthy bodies without the aid of modern breakthroughs but they do offer a blend of convenience, cost and effectiveness for rapid results.

The most fundamental supplementation is the protein shake or the MRP (Meal Replacement Powder). These are powders that contain ultra high quality protein often alongside extra nutrients that aid the body of a hard working athlete with none of the excess calories and processed junk found in many other convenience foods.
Liquid meals also tend to be more easily digested than whole food ones and do not require extra water since they contain so much. It can often be difficult to cook and prepare enough quality meals day in and day out nor can some people stomach the required amount of meat, eggs or fish to accomplish their protein intake. Protein powders also tend to be of a much higher biological value than most whole foods meaning more is used gram per gram for building and repairing muscle tissue.

A common strategy employed by many people is to make three of their meals whole food ones and three as liquid shakes. This enables you to plan meals easily and meet your nutrition goals on a regular basis. Some diets may call for an even higher percentage of meals to be made from supplements but these tend to be short term solutions to a specific challenge. Most shakes do not tend to contain lots of fibre (although some do) and there are still quality nutrients in various whole foods not found in protein shakes but they can still be a quality part of your nutrition.

Protein shakes and MRP products are a foundation supplement and can be considered as ‘perfected food’ rather than as extras. Treat them as actual meals when used.

This Optimal Nutrition plan does not automatically call for any further supplements at all but you can begin to add those in that you feel may benefit your particular goals or help you overcome individual weaknesses or break through plateaus. Creatine, Glutamine, BCAAs etc are all simple and powerful additions that improve athletic performance and health but they are an addition rather than essential. Generally these could be considered level 2 or ‘long term supplementation’. Not essential like food but something to be used long term for ongoing benefit.

Of course there are very specific goal orientated level 3 or ‘job-specific’ supplements. This would include advanced things like fat burners, testosterone boosting blends, prohormones etc. These can help you achieve new levels of success and help you reach specific goals much faster but they will be relatively useless without the optimal foundations in place first. Think of these as ‘turbo-chargers’ for your programme. There’s no use for a turbo charger without an actual engine! And eating an Optimal Athletic Diet is the real engine to your progress.
To sleep perchance to progress…

Although not directly part of nutrition sleep is often the overlooked factor in an energised, regulated and healthy system. Most people require 8 to 9 hours of sleep for optimal functioning. This does depend on the individual and there are those who cannot only function but actually improve on less than 4 hours a night. Growing teenagers or anybody entering a new and challenging phase of training may discover they need even more sleep than previously as extra demands are placed on your nervous system.

During sleep our body regulates and often peaks many of our anabolic hormones and consequently most of our muscle repair, growth and fat disposal occurs while we are asleep. Skip on sleep and you deprive your body of the time to rebuild and repair itself, adding stresses that will eventually bring your progress to a grinding halt.

It is best not to assume that just because you don’t fall asleep at lunchtime that you are getting adequate sleep. You should be able to wake easily without the demands of an alarm clock and should not be nodding off until close to your bed time. If either of these things occurs you are almost certainly mildly sleep deprived
Sleep quality is often as important as duration. Improved sleep can be maintained by sleeping in very dark conditions as light interferes with our circadian rhythms. Try to maintain an even temperature and ensure you do not consume any stimulating foods or supplements within several hours of your sleep time. There are many supplements that can enhance sleep or increase hormone production during sleep and you may wish to investigate these to speed your progress.

What can you expect?
Following an optimised nutrition plan you can expect to aid all of your training goals. You will be consistently teaching your body to utilise fat for fuel, avoiding future fat storage, improving athletic ability, getting stronger and faster, having improved mental focus and day long energy levels and improving overall health.

Once you have attuned yourself to living like an athlete you can begin to investigate supplementation and more advanced programmes to achieve certain goals.

Contact  Cheshire personal training by registering your details in the contacts section and we will start to help you, change your life.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • There are so many benefits to adopting a healthy eating approach; it’s difficult to know where to start! However, although the following may seem obvious, it’s still worth pointing them out…
  • You will benefit from inch loss in a matter of weeks
  • Your energy levels will increase
  • Aches and pains will be reduced
  • Skin, hair, teeth and nails will look great
  • You will sleep better
  • And you will feel happier and healthier

Sounds good doesn’t it? These benefits are genuinely available to everyone.