19 Aug 2019
At Coaching Zone, our approach to nutrition is all about enjoying a wide variety of natural foods, or as close to, to ensure you’re not starving your body of any key nutrients. These natural foods should include a mix of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The benefits of each and how to add them to your diet are explained here.
Carbohydrates are vital for exercise performance. You may have had workouts in the past where you’ve felt sluggish or flat, and others where you’ve felt amazing. This can often relate back to the amount of energy our body has available to use. To ensure you turn up to every Coaching Zone session with the energy you need to give your workout it’s all, try oats for breakfast, or adding quinoa, brown rice or sweet potato to your lunch or dinner. And for further ideas, see the nutrition portal in the Coaching Zone app.
Fats are not only good for you, but vital for you. They’re involved in a number of chemical processes in our bodies and help our brains function properly. They also store energy, act as protection for internal organs and help insulate us.
Fats come in all shapes and sizes but we know they fall into two main categories: saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated fats include meats, certain plant-based oils, dairy, processed meats and packaged snacks. These fats are generally considered less heart healthy and it’s recommended that only a small part of your total calorie intake come from these.
Unsaturated fats include most other oils, like olive and canola; fish, such as salmon and tuna; nuts and avocados. These are generally considered healthier for us and should make up the majority of our fat intake each day.
One important thing to remember is fats are calorie dense. Every gram of fat you eat equates to nine calories, as opposed to four calories per gram of protein or carbs. Ultimately if you have too many fats, you’re at risk of putting on excess weight as you’re in a calorie surplus.
Protein is often referred to as the “building blocks of life”. Our bodies use proteins to regenerate and produce cells. This is a result of the amino acids which we absorb from protein. There are two types: complete and incomplete protein.
Complete proteins contain all essential amino acids and are generally found in animal-based protein sources like chicken, salmon, beef, cheese, milk and eggs; and plant-based sources like soy beans and quinoa.
Incomplete proteins are plant-based proteins (think vegetables, nuts and seeds). They do not contain all essential amino acids. But, by combining several incomplete sources you can create complete protein. For example, peanut butter and whole wheat toast or hummus and pitta.
When trying to work out how many carbs, fats and protein you should have each day, we recommend asking your coach. Your level of activity, body weight and goal for the 6-week Challenge will generally dictate how much you need. Each person is different and you may want to see a specialist if you have pre-existing health conditions before making any decisions.