You hear this so often across social media platforms with the latest Instagram celebrity promoting some form of fad diet approach usually in the form of shakes and juices. The ‘clean’ eating brigade. First off let’s start by saying there’s no such thing as clean foods and the notion of clean eating is a total myth. All food choices you consume will contain at least one of, or a combination of the three macronutrients- Carbohydrates, Fats & Protein. The proportion of these make up the total calorie content for that particular meal, with carbohydrates and protein containing 4 calories per gram and fats being the most nutrient dense containing 9 calories per gram.
Wether your goal be Fat Loss, gaining strength & size or improving sports specific performance, it is VITAL you track your daily and weekly total calorie intake to ensure progress. For fat loss you should be consuming less calories than you require through a combination of smart food choices and an increase in activity levels. To increase strength & size you must consume more calories than you require over a consistent period of time and couple that with progressive training by increasing total volume over time. But that in itself is a whole different topic. If you required 2000 calories a day to lose fat and ate chicken and broccoli, smoked salmon with avocado with cashew nuts, fruit and a post workout shake this would be considered clean eating. If you then consumed a chia seed and berry protein shake for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch with an evening meal of a burger and chips and a milkshake suddenly you become unhealthy and the fitness experts would tell you this isn’t optimal. Which is totally incorrect. Yes there is better options to include within your daily meals, but burgers are extremely tasty and satisfying and we at optimal performance are never guna push anything on any clients or athletes that we wouldn’t do ourselves. As long as you fall within your daily calorie target it is absolutely fine to include foods you enjoy within your daily nutrition. Doing so is likely to give you longevity towards your targets and doesn’t give you the feeling of being on a ‘diet’.
You must ask yourself if you are following a specific nutritional approach wether you could see yourself still following it in 6 months time. If the answer is no, then you should stop right away as you’re likely to develop a bad relationship with food both physically and mentally. The take away point is to simply forget the whole clean eating band wagon and begin to track your calorie intake with an app like MyFitnessPal. Doing so allows you flexibility within your nutrition which in turn means you’re more likely to continue to make progress. Making progress means you’re heading towards your goals and achieving your goals is why you get up at 6AM for a run or why you spend Sunday afternoon in the gym lifting weights when you could be sat in a beer garden. Start today by joining our email list and receive your free nutritional programming booklet teaching you how to calculate your calorie intake for your particular goals through a bespoke, personalised and results driven protocol guaranteed to ensure success.