Here is a summary based on the ZOOM call this week with sports dietician Erica Stephens.
First of all, a massive thanks to Erica for joining us and giving out plenty of great information to help us all out while we are spending our time in isolation, or working from home.
The first point that Erica bought up focussed on what to do with our calories. Given that our energy expenditure has for many of us decreased, whether that is less incidental activity (ie coffee walks, moving around the office, a physical job) or the absence of structured physical exercise.
There are two ways to manage this, one is to reduce your caloric intake to match your new energy needs, or alternatively adding exercise either a workout or incidental exercise (ie walking 8-10,000 steps).
This particularly has a bigger impact on those of you who geared your nutrition towards building muscle and increasing strength (30+ cal/kg BW). Those of you working around maintenance calories (30ish/kg of BW) or already in a calorie deficit (26-30cal/kg BW) may find that you don’t need to make wide sweeping changes. Those of you used to the higher end of maintenance or into surplus may find knocking 100-200 calories per day off and adding some extra steps (10,000 steps equalling approximately 2-400 calorie expenditure depending on size).
Whenever making sweeping changes to nutrition, particularly in reference to your daily total calories the key takeaway, as we have often discussed in gym (remember those days? In gym? Waaahhhh) the key is to work on the minimal effective dose.
That may be 150 cals drop and monitor it for two weeks- if weight is going up, either take out an additional 150 or add some daily movement in the form of steps, a workout, a bike ride, some “play” whatever it may be.
There was one aspect that Erica suggested we play close attention to particularly when moving into a caloric deficit was ensuring that our protein intake remains a priority. See the chart below for reference. Note that when in a caloric deficit staying around 2g/kg BW of protein daily, so for myself at 95kg that would be aiming for 190g of protein per day.
I know what you’re thinking- but how do I know how much protein is in my food sources? Fear not my friend, Erica has got you sorted with these below slides that contain omnivorous, vegetarian and vegan friendly options.
Note nobody is suggesting that you HAVE to weigh your food- I, and Erica backed this up, am a strong believer that for most people one of the most important aspects of healthy nutrition is enjoying the food you’re eating- we want to keep it simple, whether that is an estimate on your end, or simply using hand measurements.
You will notice that as we move from omnivorous protein sources down to vegan protein sources the options to choose from become a smaller pool. Nobody here is going to tell our vegan members to suck it up and eat meat, but as your trainer it is my job to emphasise this point that was backed up by Erica. There is wiggle room when animal products are consumed, moving to vegetarian you need to be a little more disciplined and organised with what you’re consuming and again, more disciplined and prepared again for vegans.
Is this because one is better than the other? Not really no. I would personally always recommend if food choices are made solely for health then omnivore is best. But for those choosing based off ethical beliefs, I completely understand and rather than argue what’s better, aim to give you the information to help you maximise your results.
In addition to these key topics, we spoke about how important it is to get fruit and vegetables into your diet- especially for those of you that haven’t been a fan of them.
Erica suggested fruit or vegetable based smoothies, preferably using a nutri bullet or a stick blender (from memory Tina suggested you could get one from Kmart for $15) and blitz them up to make sure you’re keeping the fibre of the fruits where a juicer kicks that to the side.
Given we are fast approaching winter- another option that she suggested was soups. Her suggestion in particular for those of you who’s “ideal” dinner is a steak and potatoes might have a vegetable soup as a side dish.
We also spoke about managing “snacking” while working from home as all of us on the call seemed to agree that the household track with the most wear and tear was from the office desk to the fridge.
Chocolate was the offender for most of us given it’s the week post Easter. Erica had two strategies, one I find works well and one that may work for you, but I know wouldn’t work for me.
Option one- if you, like me, have chocolate in the house, then you must consume it. Then don’t buy it. Or rather than buying a block of Cadbury chocolate and annihilating it- treat yourself to a high quality, but much smaller serving of chocolate rather than a whole block if like me, your off switch is slow to fire sometimes.
Option two- was buying a large stack of the “treats” say 10 blocks of chocolate and each time you ate one, you replaced it until you almost ate yourself to a point of being disinterested in further consumption. She very strongly emphasised that this is dependent on the individual being very disciplined and admitted it was a somewhat controversial strategy to dealing with cravings.
Again, a massive thanks to Erica and we are looking forward to the next zoom meeting with her, hopefully in a couple of weeks. This is your chance to get your nutrition questions answered by one of Canberra’s top sports dieticians so don’t miss out on the opportunity for really great help.
As per usual- any questions, either add them in the comment section of the original FB post so we can all see them as it’s likely to help a few of us out. Or add them here 😊
Stay safe my dudes.