By: Joe Mullings
Today, everybody’s on the run. Whether you’re training BJJ just for fun, or if you’ve got your sights set on becoming a world champion, you need to fuel the machine with high octane nutrients – and you often need to do it on the fly.
We’ve all been subjected to the “magic bullet” or “instant result” advertising campaigns promising incredible results. Sorry to say, but it usually doesn’t work that way. To have the best outcomes, like most things, takes a bit of commitment and planning.
Now before you shake your head and think this is a lot of work in regards to your diet….it really isn’t. We can almost guarantee that you can less time putting together a great program by spending much less time than you did in front of the TV last week. Seriously, it’s quite attainable to eat on a world class level with just a little planning and a little education. Planning is the key to eating well. Most of the time we eat poorly, or less than optimally, because it is not convenient. Proper planning can negate that.
Knowing what to eat is of utmost importance. Try and get your calories from whole foods and non-processed foods. Supplements are good and can really add convenience in a predigested form, but remember that are called “supplements” – as they are intended to be supplemental to a proper nutritional program of performance supporting foods. Here are a few guidelines:
- Eat every 2 to 3 hours. This stimulates metabolism, maintains a balanced blood sugar and muscle building amino acids and satisfies hunger pangs.
- Always have protein with every meal – 20 grams will do the trick. Stick with Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, egg whites. Also make it a goal to have a vegetable with every meal. Fruits make for excellent, quick, easy and convenient snack foods.
- Understand the difference between the various types and sources of carbohydrates and how they function in your body. Vegetables and fruits are the best and healthiest ways to get your carbohydrates during the day as they gradually raise blood sugar without getting that insulin spike. Good carbs you can and should eat at any point during the day are derived from cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, and apples.
- If you are going to eat the “not as good” carbohydrates (rice, pasta, whole breads, etc), save those for pre-workout or immediate post workout as they get processed more immediately by the body and are less likely to get converted to fat. Starchy carbs to be eaten pre or post workout are sweet potatoes, whole grains, rice, oatmeal and granolas.
Below is a list of foods that are quick and convenient to bring with you on the run. Such foods kept available throughout the day with minimal planning, can facilitate you have an outstanding diet as a high end athlete. If you are committed to being “the best’, it will take planning. Consider taking just a half hour every Sunday evening (or whatever day works in your schedule) to map out and “prep” your menu for the coming week.
Below are some suggestions for foods that you can grab on the run:
- Hard Boiled Eggs – these are great. They come already in their own wrapper and easy to transport and eat. Try boiling up 2 dozen on your “prep day” and they are ready to go when you are.
- Avocado – another awesome food. Also comes in its own wrapper. Toss these in your lunch bag, make sure they are ripe, then when you are ready to snack, take a knife, score them around the center and pop them apart, grab a spoon and eat them right out of their skins.
- Mixed Nuts – this is a no brainer. Cashews, brazilian nuts, almonds, walnuts or whatever your liking. Toss a fistful of them mixed into a plastic baggie and you are set.
- Quinoa – this stuff rocks. Another “prep day” food where you can cook an entire pot full and setup multiple servings in a baggie. The cool thing about Quinoa is that it takes on the taste of whatever it is sprinkled with. So experiment with accents and flavors.
- Tomatoes – plum tomatoes are easy. Grab a fistful and toss into a baggie and you have a great snack.
- Salmon – although a bit pricey, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Proteins, good fats, fish oils, almost the perfect food in our book. Buy it sliced and you can peel off a few slices and you are good to go.
- Yogurt – yogurts have come a long way. In packaging as well as taste and types. We suggest fat free, sugar free in the small servings. These sizes are usually just enough to satisfy and offer great dairy and protein to the mix.
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots – these are the best veggies to eat on the run. Not messy, easy to pack, don’t get crushed easily and offer outstanding calories, carbs and other nutrients that are critical.
- Chicken, Turkey, Tuna Steaks – another “prep day” project. Get to one of the warehouse stores and buy the slab of chicken or turkey cuts that they sell. Toss these with some light seasoning in a pan or grill them and set them up as feeding / servings for during the week. Toss in a baggie, can definitely be eaten cold. You can rev them up with a lowfat dip or something else.
- Protein Shake – these are good for one of your meals per day. Don’t get carried away with making them a major staple in your diet. Get a good shaker bottle and add water to your mix that is already in there when you left the house this morning. Be sure to rinse it out well and don’t let it sit in your gym bag….man that will stink bad.
The prep isn’t all that much. Set aside a few hours, maybe while the game or the fights are on, break open the chicken or turkey, lightly bread half of them and the other half of the batch just do plain. Cook them up. At the same time, you can have your eggs boiling away 6 at a time and cool them in a bucket of cold water ice as you toss in the next 6.
Get the “Mack Daddy’ size of plastic baggies from your big box store and start tossing in your veggies in one set of bags, mixed nuts in another and your tomatoes in another. When the chicken / turkey are cooled, put your serving size in the baggies and keep them in the fridge, ready to go.
Boil your Quinoa and add in whatever your favorite seasoning is. I suggest keeping this in a Tupperware and spoon it out as you want to use it. Also cool to toss into a baggie on the day you need it.
You get the idea here. Where there is a will, there is a way. No excuses. Have fun, eat well and great training.