Nutrition – Sticking to Your New Year Fitness and Nutrition Goals
It’s that time of year when people are looking for the next best diet and fitness regime to lose their Christmas weight. These typically include a quick fix diet that are designed to ‘cleanse’ and ‘detox’ the body from all its toxins. Sounds perfect after a festive indulgence, right? As great as they sound, they are not a magic solution to losing weight and are certainly not sustainable. So, what do you do after this detox finishes and you go back to eating food instead of your daily vegetable juice, meal replacement shakes and dose of weight loss pills? And how do you fuel your training to support with the Aldi Chester 10K and Essar Chester Half Marathon later in the year?
What you need to do…
Identifying your goals allows you to set a realistic strategy to achieve them. It could be finishing your first 10K, doing more comprehensive training or even aiming for a PB in the Aldi Chester 10K or Essar Chester Half Marathon. If you think losing half a stone will help you do this, going on a 4 week crash diet is not the answer. Plan your nutrition for a sustainable weight loss that also factors in your fuelling requirements to train well. You should not be dieting so hard that you have no energy to train. This will result in poor performance, increased risk of illness and injury, and may even prevent you losing weight as you’ll be even hungrier and more likely to overeat.
Understand the role of goal setting – process, performance, outcome
So, you know what your goals are, but how do you go about achieving them?
Outcome goals – this is the overall goal and can only be achieved with successful application of the following 2 goals. For example, completing your first 10K or achieving a PB.
Performance goals – specific performance-related objectives tracked by various statistics in order to achieve the outcome goal. One thing that you know impacts your running performance could be that you don’t drink enough water. Focusing on your hydration levels and making sure you drink enough throughout the day and during training could make the difference.
Process goals – the execution applied to improve performance. With the performance goal of drinking more water throughout training, setting a target of drinking 2L every day plus an extra litre per hour of training, and monitoring your hydration levels (urine colour/frequency) and training performances.
Focusing on process and performance goals rather than outcome goals can help an athlete to control their actions, and ultimately, perform better.
Be ‘SMART’ about identifying and planning your goals
Specific – the What, Where, When, How, Who and Why. Pinpointing a specific goal by answering these questions is important to know what you want to do, and how you’re going to do it.
Measurable – breakdown your goal into different elements so you can quantify your goal once you achieve it. Losing body fat is not measurable but adapting your diet so you eat less by cutting out a daily chocolate bar, focusing meals around lean protein foods and vegetables, and training for an extra 10 mins each session, is.
Attainable – is your goal realistic? Are you asking too much of yourself? Setting sights too high and failing to achieve your goal can have a negative impact. How fast do you expect to beat your time by?
Relevant – is the goal relevant to you and will this help you improve your performance?
Timely – when is the race so you’re at your peak and how long do you have? How do you plan your training and nutrition to maximise your training and then taper in time to be fuelled ready for your race?
What you shouldn’t do…
Buy into the latest fad diet – both by believing that a detox diet will help you lose more weight and make you healthier (it seriously won’t) than eating a balanced diet, and actually buying weight loss products promoted by that diet claim (e.g. fat burners, skinny tea, meal replacements). The only thing you’ll burn is a hole in your pocket!
Being too restrictive can stop you from achieving your goals for many reasons. You get fed up, serious lack of energy, get so hungry you end up binging and overeating, or get injured because you’re seriously under fuelling or training too hard. Set sensible and realistic goals that you’re more likely to adhere to and actually enjoy.
Doing it all on your own can also cause you to fail as you can place too much pressure on yourself, when actually asking for help promotes adherence and the support you need. This can be as small as asking your partner to not eat biscuits in front of you, or worse, offer them to you, or asking for healthier snack and meal recipes and ways to batch cook them. Or maybe you need more in-depth support from a qualified sports nutritionist who can help you plan your meals, set realistic targets and give you the guidance and accountability you need to get the right balance between dieting and maximising your training.
Take home messages
If you’ve eaten too much at Christmas and want to lose weight, just go back to eating normally and the weight will come off.
Your body will detox itself. Why do you think you have liver and kidneys? Terms like cleanse, detox and flush out are used to market such products, not to make you healthier, so save your money.
Focus on your nutrition strategies according to your performance and body composition goals. Don’t neglect your training performances because you’re trying to lose weight.
Identify your goals and set a realistic plan to achieve them, with proper fuelling strategies to maximise your training as a key requirement.
Adherence is the key to any successful diet.
Thanks to Danny Webber from Webber Nutrition for preparing this informative blog post. For more help, advice & information about performance, nutrition & more, go to www.webber-nutrition.co.uk & make sure you follow Webber Nutrition on social media @WebberNutrition on all platforms.
Danny also presented 'Beginner's Guide to Diet & Nutrition' for us on Sunday 5th January 2020 & you can watch it here.
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