My boyfriend and I get to leave this coming week for Miami to compete in Wodapalooza. Im so stoked to get to experience such an awesome competition and get to test all the hard work i’ve been putting in the gym lately. Leaving this week means im always extra busy trying to get all the things done, as well as prepping to stay on top of all my work while im there! Keep your eyes peeled, i’ll be posting updates of all the fun things happening in Miami, as well as how I fuel my body while traveling and competing!
The Hydrostatic body fat testing re-visited our gym at the New Year, it was last here in October so some of us got to retest and others got to test for the first time. I don’t think there is one method of testing that is 100% accurate, but I do think this method is pretty close and as long as you stay consistent with what you are using to test, you will be able to see the general direction you are headed. I have done this testing probably six times over the years and I have to say ive become more and more emotionally detached from the process which im happy about. This day can be an emotional one for everyone getting tested and I do my best to tell everyone to look at it as data and numbers that have nothing to do with your identity or how you feel about yourself. When I say this im speaking to myself as well and I have to say, going into this last test I really felt i’ve grown a lot mentally because I felt happy with my results, knowing ive worked hard and im in a constant state of trying to better myself. Im not the leanest or lightest ive been, but I am the strongest and most confident i’ve ever been. This truly has come from just growing mentally and emotionally, through my physical journey. Not to say some days I don’t struggle still, but I can say I have progressed in a big way! So don’t let numbers define you, let your hard work and efforts do that.
Im telling you all about my personal journey right now because this is how I came to writing this blog topic. So bare with me a little longer and we will get down to the subject at hand.
Going on almost two years, I have been eating a super high carb, low-moderate fat diet., this has always worked for me and I feel great doing it. Im super active and my body runs off of carbs well. Recently, I had to switch things up for a few different reasons, to a high fat, low carb diet. This was a temporary thing I did for about a month and it forced me to change up my food variety, get creative and really look at what I was putting in my body. It is easy to get in a rut and even if it “fits your macros,” it may not be the best food option for your body. One thing I learned very quickly is on a high fat, low carb diet, there aren’t many “dirty” foods you can eat. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ALWAYS pack in veggies into my day and get in all my fiber and H2O, but I still love to make room for some goodies. Not even necessarily goodies like twinkies but even things like graham crackers or a beer. Most bad foods are high in fat AND carbs, so I couldn’t make any of that fit and im thankful for that, even though I was pouting about it for a solid month. Now that the month is done, I really have little desire to eat anthing processed, sugary or even foods that aren’t “bad” but just aren’t optimal for MY body. I feel so much better and noticed a huge difference. Like I said, it’s not like I ate a ton of crap, but over time I allowed more of it than I should have into my diet.
All of this leads me to my topic, The myth about “IIFYM,” (If It Fits Your Macros) and why whole foods matter.
If you have been tracking macros for any period of time, you have experienced the freedom it can give you in your diet. This aspect of tracking is awesome and is one of the reasons it works so well long term and in real life. However, with that freedom comes a responsibility on your end to make the right choices. Anyone telling your that it absolutely doesn’t matter whether you get your carbs from cookies or vegetables is lying straight to your face! It DOES matter. This is a pretty controversial topic in the IIFYM world, so feel free to do your own research and form your own opinions about what works best for you, but this is my opinion through research as well as personal experience.
So why should we choose clean foods over the dirties? Here are just a few of the reasons, although there are many more!
We emphasize hitting your macronutrients, but what about all your Vitamins and minerals? Making sure you are getting all your vitamins and minerals is just as important and ensure that your body is functioning properly. Deficincies in any vitamin or mineral can lead to problems! Some common micros to make sure you are getting plenty of are vitamin C,A,D, K and B-complex vitamins. Along with Potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Check with your doctor to see if you are deficient in any of these. If you are filling your diet with processed, nutrient-lacking foods, it is likely you won’t hit your micronutrient targets. Packing in all the veggies and lean meats will ensure you get the recommended dose and then if you happen to be deficient in one area still, THEN you can supplement as needed.
Gut and Digestive Health.
The digestive pathway is the way food enters and exits our bodies. Along the way food is broken down, nutrients are extracted and then waste is eliminated. Poor food choices can hinder the proper function of the digestive process and lead to poor gut health, causing our bodies to be unable to break down food how it should and wreaking havoc on our gut. Eating healthy, clean, whole foods will allow our digestive system to work properly and let our body run like a well-oiled machine.
Burn more calories-while you eat!
Our bodies have to work much harder to break down whole foods vs breaking down processed foods. The amount of energy a food contains in the form of calories, isn’t necessarily the amount our bodies absorb and use. Every food is different and the more processed the food, the less our bodies have to work to absorb it. They are much more easily digested and therefore our bodies are quick to store them. On the other end, whole, minimally processed foods are much more work for our bodies to digest. It takes more energy to break them down and utilize them and in turn our body is burning more calories just to digest them!! I don’t know about you, but im all about that!
Eating whole foods without all the added crap, will help keep your energy levels up through the day. Often times it is the added sugars, preservatives and crappy food that isn’t allowing our bodies to stay alert throughout the day. Lean meats, complex carbs, nuts and leafy greens are just a few of the foods that will help keep your body fueled and energy up throughout the day. Avoid the mid-day crash by simply replacing that sugary cup of coffee with some energy boosting food! Not to mention, fueling your body properly and timing it around your workouts, will give you the boost you need to kick some butt in the gym!
In the heat of the moment of hunger, it is easy to go for the quickest, most convenient thing, but in the long run this is the worst choice if you are grabbing something processed. Grabbing a snickers may satisfy you immediately, but an hour later you will find yourself wanting more. If you take the 10-15 extra minutes to put together a snack full of veggies, lean meat and/or good fats, you will stay satisfied for several hours in comparison. Filling your allotted food for the day with all of the veggies and whole foods will leave you much, much more satisfied than filling it with twinkies and cereal!
Again, one of the great things about “If it fits your macros,” is that you can enjoy the foods you love and we completely support doing so! This process is all about balance and fueling your body in the best way possible, all while making it work for real life. Whether you have been tracking for years or are brand new to the process, I encourage you to look at what foods you are putting in your body and ask yourself what you can improve. Each day is an opportunity to improve in one way or another, even if it’s the smallest change each day, it can make a big difference over the long term!
Have a killer week and eat your veggies!!