For those that didn’t know, ever since I attended the Strongfit Seminar, I’ve been playing around with sandbags, breathing techniques and a different way of eating
I’ve been following the Strongfit Nutrition Protocol for about 10 weeks now and I’m finding that things are going really well for me:
- my sleep quality has increased,
- my mental game has gone through the roof; and
- I’m crushing my gym sessions and recovering like a boss
This style of eating is based around your nervous system and its different parts – let me explain…
So hands up if you know how your nervous system works?
Until I did some research, I didn’t really know myself (if you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, head over to Crash Course and watch their video on the nervous system https://youtu.be/71pCilo8k4M – I LOVE Crash Course!
There are two different parts to your nervous system:
- your sympathetic (fight or flight); and
- parasympathetic (rest/digest and freeze)
Both your sympathetic and parasympathetic are critical to your day to day function, and come into play when you’re running for the bus, going to sleep at night or dancing the horizontal tango 😉
What you eat is important because it has a direct effect on your nervous system and how it functions
Food is made up of macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are carbohydrates (energy source), protein (repair) and fats (energy source). Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals
The consumption of these has a direct impact on both parts of your nervous system so you can function optimally throughout your day.
The Strongfit Nutrition Protocol goes something along these lines:
- Fats throughout the day
- Protein at night
- Carbs before/during a workout
The reasons behind this are as follows
Carbohydrates are a source of quick energy, they are absorbed a lot faster than any of the other macronutrients, some are even broken down and absorbed while they are still in your mouth.
From what I’ve read and experienced carbohydrates are a way to activate the sympathetic side of your nervous system – pushing you towards more of a fight state
That means if you’re going to hit an intense workout you would eat carbs beforehand to get the ball rolling – for me, I’ve been keeping it simple by having a little bit of honey in my coffee before I start my workout and if I’ve got them on hand a killer python or two during as well
I’ve found that when I consume carbs before or during a workout I can maintain a higher level of intensity for a longer time period, which is always a good thing when you are trying to be fitter faster and stronger
Protein is our second macronutrient, it is the building block your body uses to repair itself, it is mainly found in animal products, but it can also be found in plant sources too (vegetarians and vegans rejoice!)
I’ve found that protein will push your nervous system towards its parasympathetic side (I get sleepy), which is a great thing if you want to get in a good night’s sleep – see below
While you sleep your body repairs itself from your daily trials (both physical and mental), it gives your brain the time it needs to process all the information you’ve absorbed and your body time to heal itself using a cocktail of different hormones and your sleep quality will directly affect how well these processes happen
This is why I’ve been eating most of my protein at night (usually some form of meat – beef and kangaroo are some of my favorites – and maybe a protein shake for good measure) with leafy green vegetables
From what I’ve experienced, it has helped me get into a more restful state before bed which has helped me fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and dream more vividly than I have in years (before starting I couldn’t have told you the last time I dreamt, let alone remember what happened) and if it wasn’t for the rather cold weather recently, I’d be jumping out of bed in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to get my day started!
Last but not least we have fats
Fats are another energy source, they take the longest to break down because instead of being digested in the stomach like carbs or protein they are digested in the small intestine (bile is used to emulsify and then digest your fats)
Fats are the primary energy source I’ve been using (most of you will have seen me running around with a jar of peanut butter or some cheese and nuts), from what I’ve seen they keep your nervous system level and can help put you into a flow state, getting you focussed and ready to kick your workday in the butt – I’ve found that ghee and cacao mixed into a long black will get me super focussed
For me I’ve found that eating fats throughout the day gives me clear focus and loads of energy for when I’m coaching classes, running PT sessions, or even just getting things done around the house
Mixed Up Macros
I know you’re all thinking it, so I’m just going to say it, food is made up of different macros.
Even my tasty peanut butter is made up of carbs, fat, and protein, it has 10g of fat, 5g of protein and less than 2g of carbs per serve, which would put in the fat category because it is mainly made up of fats
And that is ok unless you have a concentrated form of a macro (protein powder for example) you won’t have just a single macronutrient in your food
When you look at what you eat with the Strongfit Nutrition Protocol you want to have things with a MAJORITY of a certain macronutrient to elicit the desired nervous state, so:
- Carbs = Fight or Flight
- Protein = Rest and Digest
- Fat = Flow
If you are going to try this out, you will have to play around with your food, try different things and see how your body (and nervous system) reacts to it
My Findings (the results)
The results are clear to me:
- my sleep has gotten a lot better
- my focus has increased dramatically
- I’ve lost about 5kg in the space of 10 weeks
- my performance at the gym has increased dramatically
- My recovery after workouts is a lot faster; and
- I’m so much happier with life – which is a huge win!
I’ve also asked a couple of my clients to give this nutrition protocol a go and so far so good:
- Client 1 has noticed a big difference, he’s been kicking goals both inside and outside of the gym since changing things up and is absolutely crushing his training
- Client 2 has found that changing his nutrition has helped him sleep better, shed some kilos and stay focussed for longer while he’s at work
PS: If you’d like some more information on this style of nutrition, send me a message or hit me up for a PT session so I can pass on what I’ve learned from my experiment
Hope you have an awesome week 😉