The Little Supplement Company’s Nutritional Tips
Nutrition is a massive area where we are never short of opinions and products. I have tried to simplify this huge area for you with some of my personal opinions, from knowledge I have accrued over the last 20 plus years. I am going to briefly talk about supplements, diet, and nutrient and supplement timings and mention some of the companies I personally favour and recommend at the moment.
Sometimes just having clarity on the basics can have a major effect on how we function, look, perform and feel.
A hugely important area often overlooked by most people. The digestive system is the gateway to the body where all nutrients are assimilated and absorbed. If your gut is under performing then you won’t be able to make use of these nutrients as you want to. I recommend Terranova Probiotics to my customers in order to help improve the performance of their gut, along with JBC Nutrition’s Greens with 5-10g of L-glutamine added as well. Another digestive supplement to be aware of is a digestive enzyme, which will help us breakdown and efficiently absorb our proteins, fats and carbs. These incredible supplements will help maximize the performance of your gut.
Calories and where to get them from.
I’ve always been a huge advocator of people getting as much nutrition as possible from real, natural foods. Even though I have worked professionally in the supplement industry for most my working life, food is always my main subject. The supplements are then incorporated where and if necessary.
I hear and see hundreds of people who simply calorie count which is worrying. We have to understand calories from different sources are not all equal.
I often explain to them, if I gave you a bowl of organic Scottish Oats which had 300 calories and a bar of toffee chocolate fudge which had 300 calories. You would have totally different effects from eating one over the other. Having your calories from natural food sources will give you a broad variety of micronutrients, minerals, trace elements and healthy bacteria which are all conducive to better health, performance and well-being. Eating processed foods won’t do this for you.
Eating every 2-4 hours has multiple benefits where changing your body composition is concerned. It will help manage blood sugar levels and feed our central nervous system. It will also help maximise muscle growth with heightened muscle protein synthesis taking place and it also makes digestion easier because your daily calories are broken up across the day in smaller amounts.
The endocrine system is a crucial part of the human body for every day function, health and body composition changes. Optimising key hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone IGF and insulin will inevitably help build more muscle.
Eating regularly and getting quality sleep is key to hormonal health. Having a diet rich in healthy fats, having plenty of high quality sleep and an active lifestyle will help improve hormone output. A great supplement for regulating our endocrine systems is a little known herb called Rhodiola Rosea. If we are training particularly hard the a good strength ZMA before bed can be a godsend in terms of repair and improved hormone release in the night as we sleep.
Lets put a small word in front of this title “Healthy”. This is such a huge topic which I feel many overlook. There is never a place for fat free diets, fats are an “essential” nutrient and more than that not all fats are created equal therefore it’s essential that you get a proper blend of the best types within your diet. One of the most comprehensive blends of healthy fats is Solgars Wild Alaskan Salmon. This is enriched with an array of healthy fats of Omega 3s, 5s, 6s, 7s and 9s. It has been suggested that we need a ratio of 2:1:1 for omega 3,6 and 9. What we have is a ratio of 1:20:1
Most western diets are too high in omega 6s which can lead to insulin resistance and excess inflammation. This oil will help you improve your health, performance and cognitive function.
The pre workout window is such an important part of your day from a nutritional perspective for multiple reasons. This is your opportunity to really prepare and fuel the body properly for your workout. Within a 60-90 minute window you want an amino acid rich source of nutrients, ideally rich in Branched Chain Amino Acids to stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis to enhance recovery & growth. You also want some form of energy, generally in a blend from carbs and fats to help create a balanced energy release. You don’t want a fast digesting, sugary carb though as this will create an unwanted surge in blood sugar levels, and thereafter a crash during your workout.
Pre workout drinks are often helpful put look particularly for ones rich in Beta Alanine and Arginine Alpha Keto Klutonate.
The post workout meal is possibly the most important meal of the day as it kick-starts the recovery process and helps re-stabilise your hormone profiles. Having a fast digesting Whey protein followed by a meal including a fast digesting carb source won’t just help shuttle nutrients into the muscle cell, it will also help reduce cortisol levels post-workout which can be catabolic. After your Post Workout Whey Protein Shake (which should be consumed within 30 minutes of your last exercise), having a balanced meal full of quality protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and fibre is absolutely paramount.
Eat before bed
Eating before bed can be a great way to help improve recovery by setting your body up properly for the 6-8 hour fast it’s about to experience. I’d recommend a meal high in protein from slower digesting sources, such as cottage cheese or peanut butter for example. If you find your sleep is particularly poor, try having a small amount of carbs in your pre bed meal to get a rise in serotonin which will improve sleep quality.
I often see pictures of people on social media having cheat days every Sunday, pictured in front of the biggest Carvery known to man. If this is you then stop, you are ruining the hard work your putting into the previous six days.
There is a place for Cheat Meals not days. Having well-timed cheat meal can kick-start fat loss because the influx in calories for an acute period of time can drive your metabolic output up and help prevent leptin levels from dropping too low (more of a consideration as you get very lean). The frequency for cheat meals is an individual thing, but personally I feel weekly is too often. Every 2 weeks for most can be a good yardstick provided you are making progress.
The true “secret” of nutrition is to be consistent with your efforts. Having the correct knowledge and applying that properly is essential of course, but the real “secret” is doing it day in day out rather than falling off the plan every week and starting again. If you can be consistent then you will see results because it’s a long term process, there are no quick fixes!
Fats or carbs?
A massive debate that will be on-going. Personally I work with both depending on the individual and how they respond to both. Some people prefer a diet high in carbs, others prefer a diet high in fat. The truth is that some people just respond better to a specific type of diet as they are either insulin or glucagon dominant.
However one of the worst things anyone can do is to eliminate either totally.
How much protein?
There is no right or wrong answer because it depends on the individual, their goal, weight, calorie intake and carb intake because carbs are protein sparing. However in my experience I’ve found that most people will fall between 2 and 4 grams of protein per kilo of lean body weight. This is roughly where I start people on their diets and then we alter it accordingly.
After Air water is the next most important thing we need and yet many of us do not drink anywhere near enough of the stuff.
One of the most simple ways to increase the rate of thermogenesis within the body, improve performance, nourishment and general health is to drink more water. By aiming for 4-5 clear litres of water per day you’re helping your body distribute nutrients throughout the body, keep your renal function healthy and improve mental alertness. Make sure you sip water throughout the day for even intake, rather than gulp it down at one point during the day.
Keep it varied.
Variety is such an important part of eating a healthy diet. So many times I’ve seen people follow very bland, monotonous diets which have very few ingredients within the diet. The issue with this extends beyond boredom, it also means that the range of nourishment your body will get from your diet is limited. You want a broad range of amino acids from multiple protein sources in your diet. If you eat too much of the same protein sources you can actually develop gut sensitivities to those very foods.
My supplement recomendations.
Whey Protein - Olimp or JBC Nutrition
Multivitamin - Terranova Full Spectrum
Omegas - Solgar Wild Alaskan Salmon
Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes - Terranova
Creatine - Olimp Micronized 200 Mesh
ZMA - LSC double strength
Like everything in life you must enjoy what you do otherwise it will become a limiting factor and you’ll ultimately fail to stick to it, long term. Using variety within your diet as mentioned before and building your diet around foods you actually enjoy is such a crucial factor to long term success. Just start by making a list of healthy, nutritious foods you actually enjoy!
If you don’t like the taste of your protein shake, no matter how good it is, change it.
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