"Its okay, I can burn it off." This is one of the worse excuses I hear for why people eat bad. It is commonly said by three types of people: young people, naturally skinny people and athletes. Often these people will over-simply nutrition to the point where they rationalize that if they are not fat, their nutrition is okay. As a result, teens, skinny folks and athletes pound back the junk food while thinking they will be just fine. However, even if you can “burn it off”, there are still 3 huge problems with this approach to eating:
1. You won’t get “Athletic Lean”
While you may not get fat during your your athletic career or while you are young, it is hard to get and stay “athletic lean” eating this way. In most sports fat is dead weight that slows you down and increases joint stress. Proper performance nutrition helps you get and stay at an optimal, athletic body composition. For the naturally skinny person, a little more effort put into your nutrition could easily mean some nice muscle definition and for guys a set of six-pack abs.
2. You are depriving your body
This pathetic excuse for bad eating stems from the silly misunderstanding that “a calorie is a calorie”. Yes, it is true that calories do matter. It is also true that athletes and those who do a lot of hard training need more calories than their sedentary peers. Yes, in a food incinerator (i.e. a lab machine that burns food to calculate its caloric content), a calorie is a calorie. However, in the human body there is much more going on. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts do not just need calories, they need nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, essential amino acids and essential fatty acids are important for everyone – especially those stressing their bodies with high-level sports and/or training. This is also extremely important for naturally skinny folks trying to pack on muscle mass.
3. You will likely be fat or skinny-fat down the road
During the teenage and young adult years you develop habits that will affect you for the rest of your life. Many seemingly fit folks make junk foods part of their daily menu and these habits lead to obesity and health problems in the future. Many athlete get fat when they retire. Many naturally skinny teens and young adults end up as skinny-fat adults. This blog is not just about developing training, eating and lifestyle habits you develop to not just positively impact your results right now, but to positively impact your health and wellness for a lifetime.
Too often people make excuses that healthy food is expensive (there are ways around this) and no one has time to cook real food anymore (there is always time for what is really important). However, these come from a misunderstanding of how important food is. Many people feel that they are too busy to eat well. However the truth is that the busier you are, the more you do not have time not to eat well and give your body the tools needed to handle a busy, stressful life.
Consider a race car driver. Would he/she put the cheapest possible gas in the car to cut costs? Would he/she fill up where it was most convenient? No, every good race car driver knows that if you want to win, you need to put the best possible fuel in the car. My cousin is a race car mechanic and I asked him what would happen if you put cheap gas into a race car. Here is what he said:
At first it would be down on power. Eventually the motor would be destroyed. Cheap gas reduces engine power, reduces gas mileage and damages engine internals.
|Fuel your body like a high-performance race car!|
How much more true should this be for the human body? If you are adding the stress of high level training to your body, you owe it to yourself to give your body the food it needs to perform at its best and recover as quickly as possible. Give your body the best possible fuel and it will reward you with better health, faster recovery, improved energy and increased performance. Give it junk and you will pay the price.
If you want to start eating better, I have tones of information on this blog to help you with that. Eating well is hard to do and it requires extra time, money and effort. However, the results of improved health, performance and body composition are well worth it!