Where Should I Even Start?
“Does my meal timing matter?”
“Can I eat after 7 pm?”
“Should I do a pre and post-workout meal?”
“What should my meal consist of?”
Overhauling your nutrition can be a daunting task. Many of us, especially as the new year approaches, want to overhaul everything all at once. We want to have the perfect plan and attack it from the get-go. Is this realistic though?
There are going to be times when focusing on the nitty gritty, such as meal timing, is going to be beneficial. For advanced athletes and trained individuals who have the foundational habits of nutrition down, meal timing can help push their performance even further.
Better performance = better results.
But if you don’t have those foundational habits down, that needs to be where you start (this is where most people fall, and I term these clients level 1).
Why is that?
If you focus on the foundational habits, such as incorporating protein into each meal, a serving of veggies/fruit with each meal, and including complex carbs and unsaturated fats, they will eventually become second nature.
Having that foundation means that when you push yourself to the next level of really dialing in what nutrient you eat when, relative to your workouts, you will already have the “health” part of the equation down.
As a reminder, at Arrow, we believe health trumps any type of aesthetic goal you may have. We will not recommend making changes to the detriment of your health. Incorporating all the macronutrients and ensuring adequate calorie intake will mean your body is getting everything it needs to function properly and optimally. It also means that the hard work you’ve put in isn’t going to go out the window when you decide to venture off on your own without a coach to guide you.
Once that is figured out, then yes, the next step will be to optimize when and how often you eat. This can help regulate blood sugar levels, so you don’t have that spike and then crash mid-day. This can help fuel your workout if you concentrate carbs pre and post workout. This can help with satiety if you spread your calories out through the day.
These goals, however, are reserved for those clients who have already mastered the basics (I term these clients level 2).
“Will I still make gains if I stick to level 1 habits?”
Yes, you will if you put in the work and aim to be as consistent as you can. At the end of the day, calories will play the biggest role in weight gain/loss. Paired with a proper training regimen, you will see some changes.
Looking at our hierarchy of nutrition needs, the things closer to the bottom of the pyramid are going to make the largest difference, so we tend to focus on them first. No sense in starting at the top of the pyramid with supplements if you don’t have your basic behaviors and calorie intake established first.
The idea with any “overhaul” of nutrition, is that it needs to be realistic for you and your goals, as well as your lifestyle. Not often do we see people able to change everything all at once and sustain those changes. Focusing on one goal at a time, keeps the changes doable in the short term, and hopefully sustainable in the long term.
If you’re ready to get started with a sustainable overhaul of your nutrition with our guidance, one goal at a time, feel free to check out our coaching packages to see if coaching is right for you.
If you’re not ready for coaching just yet but still want some input on what you’re currently doing, we have a new service called Arrow Hour that will allow you to get some direct feedback from us without the commitment of long-term coaching.