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What Grade Fuel Do You Use?

“You can’t out-train a bad diet”. Without a doubt, it’s one of my all time favorite quotes. My clients hear it daily. I will not stop using it. It rings true and I need my clients to hear my voice in their head stating that phrase when they consider hitting up the fast food joint for lunch instead of packing a healthier option beforehand. Nutrition is an extremely popular and extremely important topic; and it is one of the main factors in helping clients achieve their goals. Want to lose 20 pounds? You better eat right. Want to be full of energy and not gas out during your next fight? You better eat right. Want to look good at the beach this summer and show off that 6-pack? You better eat right. In my short list of “must-haves” in order to achieve your goals; I rank proper nutrition as the #2 piece of the puzzle. Conditioning (strength/cardio/mobility) ranks #3 and having the proper mind-set (you have to want to change) is #1. Train the mind and the body will follow.

Now that the mind is right, let’s fuel that body properly so we can reach our true potential.

What type of “diet” are you currently on? There are so many fad diets out there these days that I can’t keep track anymore. Do you follow a Paleo diet? Are you an ovo-lacto-vegan? How many points are you allowed to consume today? I get asked about the best diets frequently and I have a hard time keeping them all straight. With all the options out there today, I typically refer out to a more qualified nutritional expert. I’m confident in giving educated, sound advice on the subject; however, when individuals want specific diet plans and exact calorie counts, I’m not even going to try to act like I know all the answers. Remember, one size does not fit all when talking about nutrition. Have a couple nutrition experts at your disposal and recommend them to your clients. Your clients will appreciate you more in the long run for having a solid referral network. Remember – when in doubt, refer out.

I wanted to give you a look at what I typically consume during an average week so you can see what works for me. My personal goals are simply to maintain my current weight, correct a few imbalances (structural not chemical), and stay as healthy as possible. I’m not saying this diet will help you achieve your specific goals, I’m just frequently asked about my nutritional habits and wanted to share my daily food log.

I recommend eating a clean, balanced diet that is full of nutrient-dense protein sources (the less legs the better), loads of various vegetables (eat a rainbow), fibrous whole grains (at certain time of the day), and healthy fats such as raw nuts and fish oils.

Animal Protein Sources
• Wild caught fish (primarily salmon, tuna, halibut, bass)
• Organic chicken breast
• Organic ground turkey meat
• Grass fed red meat
• Organic eggs
• Whey protein powder (not all powders are created equally!)

Complex Carbohydrate Sources
• Steel-cut oats
• Brown rice
• Sweet Potatoes
• Amaranth
• Buckwheat

Fat Sources
• Coconut oil
• Macadamia nut oil
• Avocado
• Cod liver oil
• Almond butter

Misc. Foods
• “Other” Carbs: Local, organic veggies – staples include: peppers, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach, squash, zucchini
• Organic fruits – staples include: banana, blueberries
• Variety of herbs & spices – staples include: basil, cinnamon, tarragon
• Black beans
• Raw nuts – staples include: almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
• Green tea extract
• Almond milk
• Probiotic greens

Let’s look at what is not recommended. If you want to reach your goals, then these foods are out.
• High salt foods – frozen dinners, pre-packed ready-made meals
• Highly processed foods – take out, fast food
• High sugary foods – candy and sodas
• No processed, white flour
• Alcohol – limited to 1-2 glasses of red wine, except for your “cheat day/meal”

Sample diet for 1 typical week day
Upon waking
16 oz of cold water

First feeding (breakfast)
½ tablespoon of Cod Liver Oil
Scrambled eggs (typically 3 whole & 3 just whites: 6 total) with multiple veggies (common: tomato, avocado, spinach, basil), 2 pieces organic, multi-grain toast with cinnamon and agave. Eggs are cooked in coconut oil. I have water w/lemon with most meals.

Mid-morning feeding
One of the following:
Larabar with a bag of raw mixed nuts or
2 tablespoons of almond butter on celery sticks

Pre-workout cocktail (about 20-30 minutes prior to exercise)
BCAA and caffeine (~140mg) – I’ve tried a number of brands…currently trying “Black Powder”

Post-workout cocktail (during my stretch)
Recovery drink…ideally a 3:1 carb to protein ratio…fruit, protein powder, & almond milk

Afternoon feeding (within 1 hour of workout)
1 grilled chicken breast w/herbs, sweet potato, and veggies (broccoli, red peppers, & yellow squash)

2nd afternoon feeding
Whatever I didn’t eat for my mid-morning snack…
Larabar with a bag of raw mixed nuts or
2 tablespoons of almond butter on celery sticks

Evening feeding
Baked Salmon w/lemon, large salad with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, (dressing: balsamic vinegar & EVOO)

Last feeding
½ tablespoon fish oil and, if anything else, a shake with ice, greens, protein powder, almond butter, and a little almond milk

My Diet – random notes

  • Complex carb – I’m on the record as being “pro-carb”. I typically consume mine 2x per day; once in the morning and once right after my workout.
  • I prefer to eat my calories and not drink them. Other than the post-workout cocktail, I try not to drink too many calories
  • When talking protein – the less legs it has the better
  • I try to eat protein at every single meal I have throughout the day
  • I try to eat veggies with as many meals as possible
  • I don’t eat a ton of fruit; bananas and blueberries are the only frequent ones
  • Supplements – My common supplements include: protein powder, green tea extract, greens, and cod liver (fish) oils
  • Water – Try to consume half your bodyweight in fluid ounces every day
  • The less ingredients something has the better. Try to consume food with 3 or less ingredients listed. If you can’t pronounce it…it’s probably not good for you.
  • Allow yourself 1 “cheat day” per week or a couple “cheat meals” throughout the week

Cheat Day or Cheat Meals
Personally, I don’t really have a complete “cheat day”. I do include a couple cheat meals throughout the week though. Wednesday night is usually a big pasta dinner and then one weekend day I’ll have a couple cocktails, eat some frozen yogurt, and go out to dinner one night and order whatever I want. Other than those 2-3 meals, I stick to a consistent and steady diet of organic animal protein, plenty of veggies and healthy fats, some complex carbs and beans, and lots of water.

Final Thoughts
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Einstein

Is it challenging to eat healthy? Not if you make it a priority in your life. In a typical week, I will visit Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco, and the Farmer’s Market on the weekend. It does require a commitment, and YOU need to be extremely important to you if you are going to make healthy eating a part of your lifestyle.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for the Alliance Fight Team in Chula Vista, CA. A Massachusetts native, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University. Since moving to San Diego he has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU, obtained an ACE Personal Trainer certification, the NSCA-CSCS certification, a Spinning certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, FMS training, and received his CPR/AED instructor status. He has also appeared in 8 fitness videos, written numerous fitness articles, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

Prior to working at Fitness Quest 10, Doug worked for the American Council on Exercise as the Continuing Education Coordinator where he was responsible for managing over 400 continuing education providers.

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