Being both a personal trainer and someone who is studying holistic nutrition, I have my foot in the door of both industries. In my experience, there can be two dividing worlds among the two industries: those who want to look shredded and lean, lift heavy and count macros and meal p
rep, and those who are focused on the total health of the individual rather than just aesthetics of bodybuilding.
The Fitness Industry Perspective
Being lean requires tracking your macronutrient and caloric intake to a certain degree for most people (if we’re talking lean beyond a body fat percentage your body is comfortable sitting at naturally. IIFYM, or “If it fits your macros” refers to having a certain macro intake (protein, carbs, fats) and simply filling it in with whatever foods you like. My issue with this is that it completely disregards that processed foods can contain things such as: hormone disrupting chemicals, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides…all these things have been linked to chronic diseases and health conditions. Even “eating clean” can mean eating conventionally raised animals just for the sake of some protein. Eating a can of tuna a day may help you hit your protein numbers, but what about the huge amounts of mercury you’ve accumulated in your body? Conventional eggs are cheap, but did you know that they are lower in nutrients than their farm-fresh counter parts? But who cares…we have our protein, right?
Just because you have a lean physique doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering from health conditions…poor digestion, skin issues, mood disorders… It’s important to remember the healing powers of nutrition extend far beyond just helping you look ripped, and bodybuilding really disregards that sometimes.
The Wellness Industry Perspective
I can’t stress this enough: just because you eat whole foods all the time, doesn’t mean you can necessarily get a six pack that easily without some structure in your meals. Of course it is possible. In my opinion as a trainer, nutritionist, someone who used to be vegan to someone who has delved into the bodybuilding world…most people benefit from structure when they are already relatively lean and want to get leaner. 99% of people coming to me for training have physical goals, there’s nothing wrong with that – Not everyone wants to look super ripped, and our bodies don’t naturally want to stay very low body fat all the time.
I am referring to those who are training hard at the gym and not really seeing results they want. These people could be totally healthy, but when it comes to the type of body composition changes they want to see, they’re wondering how to do it in a holistic way without eating boring and plain food.
Meeting in the Middle – How Do I Achieve Sustainable Fat Loss?
The question is: can we have the lean physique we desire without having to take the joy out of cooking, eating and social events? I say YES! This means:
– A meal plan beyond the protein and vegetables weighed out in Tupperware
– Having a structured menu taking your nutrition needs into account, but with a mix of flavours and good quality ingredients
– Focus on quality over quantity, especially with animal protein
– Focus on the emotional and social aspect of eating lost in strict bodybuilding programs
– Shifting views: Rather than viewing processed foods as something we can’t have to “why would I want to have that?” and “what benefit is it going to give my health and my body?”
I truly believe the fitness and holistic wellness can live in harmony. This is the approach I am taking with my clients – because I want to see someone getting results from their program without dreading having yet another plainly seasoned chicken breast and sad looking steamed broccoli. If you want a plan that will keep you excited about what you’re eating, shoot me an email: [email protected]