How To Improve Your Health and Performance
The beauty of MTMM is the exposure we have to so many different individuals, each working to pursue their goals of improved health and increased physical performance and ability.
But although we work with each client individually to completely customize their nutrition plan based on their specific goals, there are a number of areas that we tend to find are common amongst most.
Whether your goals are to improve your biomarkers, your strength numbers or your body composition - here is a compilation of the five most common focal points we work to address from day one with the majority of our clients.
1 ) Drink more water.
It’s without doubt that this is the easiest area to address. When we ask our clients ‘How much water are you drinking each day?’ The most common response is usually ‘ Not enough’.
Being adequately hydrated is paramount to performance as well as health, and with so many people falling short on their water intake, it’s also a great way to get yourself an edge on the competition.
Water is responsible for cell health, nutrient distribution, temperature regulation as well as waste elimination. It always makes me laugh how many people are willing to buy detox products that cost a bundle, but neglect the best detox agent of all - so it’s pretty damn crucial!
How much should you be drinking? Just like your caloric requirements, this will vary based on your gender, weight, age and activity level but 2L for women and 3L for men is a great place to start. Keep in mind, this is just to stay hydrated, and as you increase your activity level, anything you consume will not count towards this number, as that is merely replenishing!
The easiest way to implement: Simply buy a water bottle and keep it somewhere you will see it often and be reminded to drink (like on your desk). Start each day with a shaker cup full as part of your morning routine and you already have 700mls on the board!
2 ) Eat more protein.
If you’re reading this post, more than likely you’re regularly physically active, which again, will only go to increase your protein requirements. Typically, only around 10% of new clients are eating enough protein when they begin with MTMM.
We live in a society that is predominantly carb heavy. Wherever you look, you are presented with plenty of ‘to go’ food items. Bakery items, sandwiches and the great majority of processed food items are going to be primarily consisting of carbs, fats and then proteins. This is not to say that we don’t need both carbs and fats, but to reiterate that, just like water - if you’re not paying attention to how much protein you’re consuming, you’re unlikely to be getting an adequate amount.
‘But isn’t protein just for those looking to add slabs of lean mass? I don’t want to get bulky…!’
If it was that easy, protein would be centre stage at every supermarket, corner store and petrol station, and there would be no industry for SARMs or steroids.
But protein does much more than provide the required nutrients to build new muscle. It also forms the basis of our immune system and plays an integral part in cellular communication and transport - that our ability for our cells to carry nutrients to where they’re needed and how well they interact with each other.
Protein is also crucial for muscle preservation, which for those looking to lose weight with caloric reduction becomes vital to ensure that weight being lost is not lean mass, but fat mass.
For obvious reasons, this lean mass preservation is of upmost important as we age, where the preservation of strength can mean a substantial difference in both quantity and quality of life.
For anyone engaging in resistance training sports, you want to ensure you have a source of protein at each meal or snack. This may mean eggs and whites with breakfast, chicken/fish/other with lunch and dinner, and a high protein snack like jerky or a shake.
Adequate protein intake is also a concern for our plant based eaters. Not that you can’t get protein from plant matter, but that the volume of food you need to intake in order to meet protein requirements add a degree of difficulty to the task.
3 ) Eat more veggies
The most simple way to ensure you’re getting a solid variety and amount of micronutrients, being vitamins and minerals, is to make sure you’re getting a solid amount of veggies into your diet.
Different colours will mean different micronutrient content, and their bioavailability can be impacted both positively and negatively depending on the way you prepare them, so get creative!
Veggies (not including root veg, which are high in starch) are also quite low in terms of macros and calories, which means we can really amp up the volume without impacting much on your caloric intake. This can be a particularly strategic point when clients are looking to decrease calories but stay highly satiated, as the volume permissible works to engage the stretch receptors of the stomach, signalling to the brain ‘we’re full!’
Find it hard to eat veggies? Again, get creative. Handfuls of spinach into your shakes, soft boiling and blending your veggies to make soups or pasta sauces - these are all sneaky ways of increasing your micronutrient density or that of your family.
When coming off a high processed diet, its common for veggies to taste a little ‘bland’, but after a short while, your taste buds will adapt, you’ll lose the reliance on the layer of sweetener that covers most processed foods and you’ll begin to properly taste the different flavours from your different veggies.
4 ) Cut the crap
Processed foods aren’t good for you - but you don’t need to be a qualified nutritionist to understand that. Not only do they contain minimal traces of nutrients, but they’re also generally pretty calorically dense, meaning unlike the wholesome food mentioned above, it becomes very easy to blow out your profile and overeat on a pretty unstinting and minimal amount of food.
Anything thats built to sit in your cupboard for months on end without deteriorating should send warning alarms off in your head. If you’re honestly looking to improve your health and body compassion, why make digestion harder than it needs to be? If you’re looking for an increase in your performance, start with increasing the quality of fuel you choose to give yourself. If you’re opting for the highest quality petrol for your car but the lowest available fuel for your body and expecting the same output - it’s time for a reality check.
Grocery shopping and meal prep are skills like any other. Just like when you learn to skip or snatch, you’re going to be pretty terrible at the start. But like any skill, the more you do it, the better you will get at it.
At the start, it may feel like a time expense, but eventually you’ll realize that preparing your own food, of a high quality, nutrient dense nature will not only save you time through out the week, but also provide you with more energy, more ability to focus, increased performance in the gym and have you recovering from physical activity much faster.
5 ) Get more sleep
Ok so, you training hard, you come home from the gym, heat up your high protein nutrient dense meal, containing some complex carbs and a number of different veggies. You shower, jump into bed, open the laptop and binge Netflix until 1 am…
You’re so close! But all those training and nutrition improvements can only do so much if your sleep and recovery is jeopardized!
While we break down muscle when we train and tap into fat stores for fuel, the real magic happens when we sleep. Muscle repair, fluid shifts and body composition all take place while we are dead to the world, so it is imperative to ensure we’re getting enough sleep each day.
Unfortunately, we seem to live in a time where we people tend to pride themselves or measure how ‘hard’ they work based on how little they sleep. This ‘I’ll rest / sleep when I’m dead’ mentality is ridiculous, and by applying it all you’re really doing is ensuring it won’t be too long until you are.
Sleep hygiene is a big point of focus for a lot of our clients. Just because you have trouble sleeping, or haven’t been a good sleeper for a long time, doesn’t make it ok. It’s a sign from your system that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.
Sub the Netflix for a book, dim the lights, ditch the phone. Aim for 7 hours MINIMUM and watch how quickly the work you’re doing in the gym and the kitchen are exponentially increased!
Change is difficult. It takes time. But it is worth it. Rather than trying to overhaul everything at once, start with one or two of the above points and when you have them down pat, begin to take on new challenges for yourself.
Remember, permanent changes won’t come from sporadic behaviours, so always avoid the temptation to take drastic measure for short term results.
Yes, it takes longer to do it properly, but, when done right, it only needs to be done once!
Looking for more information on becoming the best version of yourself? Visit our How To Start page and message us for a complimentary one-on–one assessment with an MTMM nutritionist!