What’s the ideal diet? Keto, fasting, high carb? The most common question asked by clients is “What diet protocol is best for me?”
The answer, as frustrating as it may be, depends.
Most importantly, what is sustainable for the individual? What can they do consistently over time? What type of foods do they enjoy eating? What works for their digestive system? What is their workout routine?
When we work with clients, we help find answers to the questions above and facilitate nutrition plans and guidance so all clients achieve their desired results and goals.
The ideal diet in our mind includes wholesome foods that are fresh, natural, organic, local, and focused on nutrient-density.
Individualized nutrition means focusing on the following concepts:
Avoid and Limit
Refined flours, added sugars, processed foods, pesticides, chemicals, metals, and antibiotics.
Variety and rotation
Eating a variety of foods provides a variety of nutrients. This also prevents any potential deficiencies (if the foods we choose are mainly nutritious). Rotating foods means not eating the same foods each day. This reduces the potential to become allergic or sensitive to particular foods, which can be a result of repeatedly stimulating the body’s immune and cellular systems with the same nutrition biochemistry.
Focusing on foods that are available and grown locally keeps us eating fresh foods, is more economical, and potentially gives us the cleanest foods (fewer chemicals, no shipping).
Eating in moderation is the first basic habit of good nutrition. Overconsumption of food causes great stress on the body. After a meal, much more blood is sent to the digestive organs, and we are often sedated and unable to move well until digestion is completed many hours later. Regular overeating also tends to reduce exercise potential and leads to weight gain and hormonal imbalances.
Some of us will fare better on a high fat or high carb diet, or with periods of fasting, or perhaps none of these approaches. Again, it depends on the individual.
Metabolic flexibility is a core principle we use at Fettle + Food when we are coaching our clients. We prefer this way of eating for long-term health. It is more sustainable than a quick fix or extreme diet change like keto, and it allows our clients to be flexible and enjoy a variety of foods in their diet.
The concept is quite simple. We believe bodies are flexible, meaning they can burn fat and carbs as fuel during different times of the day depending on the activity one is doing. Metabolic flexibility means that the body uses whatever fuel is available – dietary fat, stored fat, or glucose (sugar), or glycogen (sugar stores).
When we are exercising, our bodies are looking to use carbs as fuel. When we are sitting at our desk working, walking around doing errands, driving in our cars, etc., our bodies use fat as fuel.
The goal of metabolic flexibility is to give your body the fuel source it is looking for. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat any carbs away from a workout, but we want to put our higher carb meals before and/or after our workout, and eat our higher fat foods/meals away from our workouts.
How do you implement metabolic flexibility?
For clients who track their nutrition and use macros, we start by developing their macro goals and begin by trying to hit the numbers. After our clients are confident with their macros, we make adjustments on their workout days. We take the majority of their carbs and time them around their workout, and do the same with their fat, but away from their workout. On their rest days, they eat their macros consistently throughout the day. Based on the results we see, we adjust the macros for clients. Ideally, we will increase carbs on workout days as their metabolism starts to speed up, and decrease carbs/increasing fats on rest days.
For clients who do not track macros, we follow the same concept but use different tools, like example meals and recipes, hand portion guides, and more.
- Eat to Perform Certification Course