Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Grapplers Guide to Sports Nutrition

Food is more than fuel, it is community, comfort, and control. People who are ill-equipped to deal with their emotions generally use a substance or behavior as an outlet or escape. By and large, my relatives do not drink or smoke and there are no cutters in my family tree. That leaves food.

I have a history of compulsive overeating, sugar dependence, and habitually bad food choices. My eight-years as a strict vegetarian was a subconscious effor to control myself, those around me, the world at large through food. It, along with a few other long-practiced behaviors, fell by the wayside when, as my father likes to say, "the pain of staying the same exceeded the pain of changing." Moderation is my new bike and it's still got training wheels on it. For this reason I am cautious about entering into any training regimen that involves monastic devotion to dietary principles, IRS audit-worthy calorie counting or any supposedly motivational guilt or shame.

My buddy Mark handed me The Grappler's Guide to Sports Nutrition before we sat down to watch UFC 74. I knew I needed to overhaul my diet and eating patterns but I didn't think I'd be taking advice from wrestlers. Those maniacs engage in exactly the kind of obsessive behavior I can't afford to mess around with. But I got excited quickly after opening it. Rather than outline rigid standards for dietary excellence, the book is based on basic principles which you can apply as best you are able while planning for regular deviations and missteps.

This easy-to-consume dietary digest stresses three goals of sports nutrition: optimal performace, optimal body composition, and optimal health. These goals are accomplished by 1 feeding every two to three hours, 2 ingesting lean protein with every feeding, 3 ingesting vegetables with every feeding, 4 saving non-fruit/vegetable carbohydrates for feedings immediately after training, 5 consumption of healthy fats, 6 elimination of most calorie-containing drinks (soda, fruit juice, etc), 7 consumption of whole foods instead of supplements, 8 allowing yourself to deviate from the plan 10% of the time, 9 preparing food in advance so you don't fall into the rut of convenience foods, and 10 by eating a wide variety of foods.

It's more difficult than it sounds, but much simpler than a lot of other nutritional guides I've come across. Authors John Berardi and Michael Fry dismiss athletic folk wisdom and lay ideas out in a matter of fact way that makes following these principles seem like a fairly easy way to optimize performance.

It's a quick read and the authors definitely have resumes and attitudes to inspire confidence in someone without any expertise on the subject. I am going to begin applying the basic principles of the Guide to my diet in the coming weeks and we'll see if there's anything to it.

3 comments:

Mike said...

Neal,

If your looking to turbo charge your 52 weeks drop me an email to mike@grapplersgym.com and I will help you out.

Mike Fry

Billy said...

Has anyone tried homeopathic growth hormone oral spray? It's legal for over the counter sales and is very gentle on the system.

supplement canada said...

Hello,
Great blog i like it
The suspect supplements for bodybuilding include legal steroids and things like testosterone enhancers. There is controversy over whether these products work as they are intended to, and if they do work, they are potentially dangerous.

sports nutrition