It might sound redundant at this point but this year has been one of the hardest years we’ve ever had in the fitness industry, both as coaches and as athletes. This is why we’ve put together some tips to survive this round of state shutdowns. My name is Marco, and I founded PDXFIT to empower as many people as possible. Whether you’re a member of our community or you stumbled upon us by accident, I hope you find the information below helpful.
In today’s post we focus on nutrition and simple steps you can take in order to survive and possibly even thrive during this state shutdown.
As athletes, our nutrition is a key component to how we perform in and out of the gym. We all know that no matter how hard we train we can’t outwork a poor diet. In our last nutrition seminar led by Coach Heidi, she covered simple actionable steps you can take in order to feel and look your best coming out of 2020.
Here are the steps Coach Heidi recommends you can take to keep you on track with your health and fitness goals no matter where you are or what is going on around you. The focus for now is to keep the progress you’ve made so when the timing is right (when we’re out of lockdown), you can get back to pursuing more ambitious goals.
- Stay on your normal. Coach Heidi explained that one of the most powerful things you can do during a gym shutdown is to eat and train as close to like you normally do when the gym is open. After talking to a few of our athletes, we found that many of them increased their grazing behavior during quarantine. This is when someone is having several small portions of a snack or food rather than sitting down for a proper meal. Staying on your normal makes it so that you’re less likely to add additional calories to your daily intake. It’s been proven that even trained professionals grossly underestimate how many additional calories they consume when grazing. The goal is to have a clear understanding of what foods and how much of those foods are going into your body. As for working out, you might not have access to a full gym but if you have a backpack and a few heavy books you can get a great workout. During a shutdown it’s important to keep a routine that’s as close to normal as possible. Not only for the obvious physical benefits but it will also help your mental health. We all know how important exercise is for stress management.
- Don’t skip breakfast. With the growing popularity of intermittent fasting, it’s become common practice to skip breakfast. Now if you’re implementing all of the other components that go along with intermittent fasting, like proper portions, whole foods instead junk foods, and training regularly, then breaking your fast later in the day might make sense. However, during her talk Coach Heidi touched on the importance of eating even a small breakfast within the first two hours of being awake, this is even more impactful for female athletes. Although there’s a huge push within the fitness world promoting intermittent fasting as a way to lean out quickly, research has shown that intermittent fasting has less benefits for females than males (Roche, 2020).
- Eat within a 12-hour window. The timing of when we eat is also important to consider when making changes to your diet. Instead of eating sporadically throughout the day, what Coach Heidi encourages our athletes to do is to shorten the window of time they have to eat, starting after breakfast, to just twelve hours. For most of us this will help by making sure we’re not eating too close to bedtime, your last meal should be no later than two hours before you go to bed.
- Make a plan for food and exercise. Having a plan makes it so you can easily tell whether or not you’re on track with your goals. A plan can also be very helpful for those times when life becomes chaotic. In those moments your plan is like a lighthouse guiding you out of the storm and back to whatever supports your health and fitness goals. You’re probably wondering what to include in your plan. Things like scheduling your workouts, how often and when to go grocery shopping, and what days you meal prep are very helpful. Having consistent workout times for example; Mon, Wed, Fri at 5pm and not scheduling other things during that time is really important. Prepping food all week long might feel overwhelming so Coach Heidi encourages you to at least prep whatever meal is the hardest for you to cook during the busiest part of your week. For example, your lunches for the week. If you’re constantly on the go but you have your lunch already made, you’re less likely to go out to eat and order something out of sheer hanger. When prepping food, keep it simple. Here’s a portioning guide to help you feel full and to help you perform at your best in the gym.
- ½ plate should include non-starchy veggies (will help with weight loss)
- ¼ plate protein (e.g., beans, meat)
- ¼ plate complex carb (e.g., quinoa, brown rice)
- Use up to 2 tablespoons of fat (e.g., avocado oil)
- Before you snack, think and drink…..WATER! We all know that water is important for hydration, but did you know that it can also help curve your appetite and help regulate your blood sugar? If you start to feel like snacking in between your scheduled meals, take a moment to think about whether you’re actually hungry and drink some water. Wait a few minutes and if you’re still hungry after that, eat something that helps you stay on track with your goals. Half a banana with a little bit of peanut butter is a great in between meal snack that won’t derail your day and will tie you over until your next meal.
- Track your food. Keeping a food journal has many benefits, especially when you know that someone is going to be looking at it. If you plan on working with a nutrition coach like Coach Heidi, this will help both of you understand what changes to make in order to keep you on track with your goals. Keep logging simple, the best thing to do is just start. You can refine the process after you build the habit.
- Give yourself some slack. Although you should always be kind to yourself when it comes to food, you should especially practice this during a pandemic. We’re all dealing with a lot of additional stress and beating yourself up for having a “bad food day” won’t get you closer to your goal. Instead, whenever you feel bad about your food choices remember to revisit your plan, remember that’s your lighthouse.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Although this has been a challenging year, there’s plenty we still have control over when it comes to fitness and nutrition. My final piece of advice is to not get hung up on what you’re missing. Take this time to explore new ways to move your body, keep things simple, and remember to have fun!
For questions or feedback please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you would like to ask Coach Heidi a question you can reach her at Heidi@mypdxfit.com
Roche, D. (2020). Fasted training may have long-term risks, especially for female athletes. https://trailrunnermag.com/training/fasted-training-may-have-long-term-risks-especially-for-female-athletes.html