A lot of you asked me to talk about diet in my next blog, so voila! However, I must emphasize that I am not an expert on nutrition and what I talk about here is simply what I do and have tried in the past, I’m not suggesting you do any of the same stuff I do. Everyone is different and has different nutritional needs.
That’s a good segue to my first point- calories! The amount of calories each person needs per day can be vastly different and, for me, it’s really important to monitor the amount of calories I’m getting, to make sure it’s not too many or too few. (A GREAT tool I use to help me keep track is the app ‘My Fitness Pal’). My goal from a physical standpoint is to be reasonably lean and as strong as possible. Sometimes when you lift a lot and workout a lot you want to eat more than you actually need, and don’t get me wrong, you do need a lot to take full advantage of the hard work you’re putting in, but it needs to be from the right sources. You can’t go crush a fatty burger and fries, or pig out on Mexican food just because you worked hard all day, first and foremost because doing that consistently is terrible for your general health and secondly, you’re just sabotaging possible gains.
This morning Alix and I went and did RMR testing, which I don’t fully comprehend, but I do know that it told me how many calories I burn a day at rest, not working out, just what I would burn if I sat on the couch and watched TV all day (which I NEVER do, btw). And I’m extremely happy to report that it hasn’t gone down since college! It actually went up a little bit; slowing metabolism, my ass. With this information I can more accurately determine the best amount of calories to consume per day. Obviously, if I have a beach practice and lifting session in a day I need a good amount more calories than on one one of my days off. And if I’m trying to lean out, and I can’t emphasize this enough, IT’S ALL ABOUT DISCIPLINE! No one wants to hear that, but I don’t believe there’s a safe or healthy way to lose fat quickly. I’ve tried it- intermediate fasting, juice cleanses, raw food diet, and it either left me feeling weak and unexplosive on the court, with no brain power, or so cranky and energy depleted I ended up losing it and binging shortly thereafter and defeating the purpose in the first place. It has to be done slowly and consistently over time.
I firmly believe the only diet worth adhering to is one consisting of whole natural foods that don’t come in plastic (where possible) and are mostly grown from the ground or from animals that eat that stuff that grows in the ground. When I’m really on a healthy eating bender, like I am now, a day typically looks something like this:
-1 or 2 slices of sourdough toast
-1/2 an avocado
-3 egg whites
-Trader Joe’s Dragon Sauce
-1/2 c. brown rice
-1/2 c. black beans
-Raw spinach, onion, cilantro, hot salsa
-6 oz. carnitas
– Large salad with mixed greens and spinach
– All the veggies you want
– 4 to 6 oz of protein
– 2 oz. medium calorie dressing, I like balsamic vinaigrette.
-Gatorade protein bar & shake
-Greek yogurt, berries & honey
-4 to 6 oz. of protein (salmon, chicken, beef, ground turkey)
-1/2 c. Carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, pasta)
If I feel like I need dessert, my go-to is a 70%(at least) dark chocolate bar with almonds and sea salt, yum!
Another big thing I focus on is the timing of my meals. I want to make sure I’m eating the right things at the right time so my body has enough time to digest and process the nutrients before I need to use them. It’s important to get your protein within thirty minutes of completing your lift/workout. You also want to have some carbs post workout to help with full adaptation and recovery of your muscles.
Right now I’m not drinking any alcohol either, it’s hands down the worst thing you can put in your body when you are trying to lean out, or honestly, when you are trying to live your healthiest life. Instead I drink sparkling water with lime, I also drink lots of coffee and tea, a ton of regular water, and I’ll mix gatorade with my water at practice.
As a side note: I don’t use any supplements. USADA (United States Anti-Doping Association) scares the living daylights out of us when it comes to taking supplements and accidental cross contamination of banned substances to which you will be held fully accountable even if you were only honestly trying to make sure your iron and vitamin D stores aren’t depleted for your general health. (ok rant over.) But I do believe supplementation is important for a truly healthy diet.
Nutrition is one of my least favorite things to talk about because I find it so boring, I find it boring because it’s so simple. I believe most of you know the answers, it’s just about being disciplined long term to reap the benefits of eating purposefully and healthily. Don’t do anything extreme; don’t cut out carbs, don’t try to exist in a state of ketosis, don’t refuse yourself your favorite foods, it’s ok to splurge every now and again to maintain your sanity. My biggest piece of advice would be to pay attention to your body, it will give you most of the information you need. How are your energy levels? How is your skin? How is your mental clarity? And what is happening to your body composition? You can feel and see and make the proper adjustments. You can also always hire a nutrition coach, which I am not, so again, please don’t take any of this as professional advice, it is my opinion based on MY experience in MY body. Happy fueling!