My 23 Year Nutritional Streak, Broken...
I have this thing against Mc Donalds’ Restaurants. It’s partially the taste, partially the poor nutritional quality of the food, and partially because the multinational logo of “billions and billions served” drives me nuts.
And I’ve felt like this a long time. In fact, when I was 12 years old I made up my mind not to eat at Mc Donald’s ever again.
I was a stubborn little tyke, and grew up to be a stubborn man. So I actually went for 23 years without eating any food from the golden arches. Not fries, not an ice cream, not a Big Mac.
I’ve only fallen off the wagon once since I made that decision as a pre-teen. And that happened six years ago when I was part of the emergency response to a flooded town zone. We were evacuating the citizens, setting up pumps, and wading around in cold, hip deep water for hours.
Eventually the fire chief showed up with food and – you guessed it – it was from Mc Donald’s.
I was cold. I was starving. I ate the food.
My system survived the assault of the yellow arches, but now I’ve had to start my crusade from the beginning again. As a result I’ve been Mc Donald’s free for six years now.
Now I’m not a saint when it comes to nutrition. I indulge in junk food occasionally. And anyone who knows me also knows that I couldn’t resist dark chocolate if my life depended on it.
But in the final analysis, I think I’m fairly nutrition conscious. I do a pretty good job of eating healthy food, even a lot of organic food, at least most of the time.
In fact, I think that nutrition is one of the most neglected aspects of grappling training. This is ironic, because it’s actually one of the training areas in which you have the most control. And the results are relatively immediate and altogether remarkable.
When it comes to performance you can’t do much about your genetics. You got what you got from your parents, and now you’re stuck with it (at least until gene-splicing technology takes a big jump forward).
You also may not have control over how often you train. Maybe hitting the mats twice a week is all you can get away with and not end up divorced.
And depending on your circumstances, you may not even have control over where you train and who you train with. if you live in a small town, for example, then your school may be the only show in town.
But nobody is forcing you to eat junk food, or to guzzle a giant soda, or to swing through the Mc Donald’s drive through on a daily basis (except if you’re in a flood zone).
Now there are a million miracle diets and eating plans out there. Each one of them claims to be the sole answer, and most of them contradict each other. But almost all experts agree on a few things, like:
- sugar is bad for you,
- excessive refined starches (flour, rice, etc) are bad for you,
- deep-fried food is bad for you,
- non-deep fried vegetables are good for you (and you should eat twice as many as you do now),
- you should have a balanced diet with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats,
- you should drink lots of water,
- you should have a source of Omega 3 fatty acids (like in fish oils),
- you should eat (or drink) a mixture of carbohydrates and protein soon after you finish a workout,
I wouldn’t be going on and on about this, if I didn’t think that nutrition wasn’t so damn important to athletic performance. In a sense, nutrition is the very cornerstone of athletic performance.
- train harder
- recover faster
- feel better
- get injured less often
- get sick less often
- live longer
It amazes me how many people eat like crap and then spend hundreds of dollars on supplements. There are only a very few supplements that work, and even then good nutrition wins out over good supplements every single time.
If you’re not getting the nutrients you need, and if you’re not staying away from the bad stuff, then you’ll never reach your true potential in this sport!
P.S. One cool (and free) resource on the subject of nutrition is Billy Hofacker’s Ultimate Quick-Start Recipe Guide. Billy operates trainingformmafitness.com, and sends out a very informative training newsletter, so he understands the nutritional needs of grapplers.
Just click on the link below to download his recipe guide:
Then if you like what you get then go and sign up for his newsletter too!