Nutrition - 2
In 'Nutrition - 1' I covered a basic eating plan and discussed carbohydrates and water in addition to an overview on supplements. For 'Nutrition - 2' I want to take an in depth look at fats & proteins.
As a fighter or active student your nutrition plan is singularly the most important factor to your success. Without proper nutrition your training will be of little use to you, you will lack energy to perform, become weak and lethargic. Correct nutrition will enable you to get the best out of your workouts and in addition will prepare you for your fight.
If you train just for fitness and do not compete, nutrition is still equally important if you wish to see results and perform at your optimum level. As an instructor it is necessary that you are in shape too. An instructor is always setting an example for their students and too often instructors let themselves lapse using age as an excuse to grow fat! This will not do! The only reason that you got fat in the first place is because you let your diet and training lapse. Even if you were injured and are limited to how you train you can still keep a check on your diet. There is no point in showing your students old photos of yourself looking lean ‘back in the day’ you need to set the example now. Besides you will feel great for it!
As a fighter your nutrition plan will make the difference to your success. Athletes are honed through their training but it is their nutrition which gives them the energy to train and assists towards their recovery afterwards.
It is about building strong foundations – A house is built on strong foundations to remain structurally sound for many years. By comparison an Athlete or fighter must also build a strong nutritional foundation and muscular fitness, strength and performance will follow.
How often do you here people saying I need to lose fat? Common belief is that fat is bad for you. Yet in contradiction to this we are now told that fat is good for you!
So let me clarify this and this is where I need to get a little technical. There are three major types of fat:
These are true fats and are stored in fat tissue and muscle. Triglycerides are the most involved in energy production and in addition serve as a significant energy source during intense strength training. Therefore strength training not only builds muscle but it also will help you burn body fat!
This is the fat that is more commonly known and is a waxy light coloured solid that comes in two different forms – 'Blood cholesterol' and 'food cholesterol'.
Blood cholesterol is required for good health and is a constituent of cell membranes which are involved in the formation of hormones, vitamin D and bile (a substance necessary for the digestion of fat). Your body can make cholesterol from fat, carbohydrate or protein so you do not require eating any cholesterol from food.
When you do eat cholesterol from food it is broken into smaller components that are used to make various fats, proteins and other substances that your body requires. The cholesterol you eat does not become the cholesterol in your blood, however it is important to reduce your intake of saturated fats (found mostly in animal foods) because the liver manufactures blood cholesterol from saturated fat. The more saturated fat you eat the more cholesterol your liver produces.
If your liver produces in excess the required cholesterol your body needs then this can collect on the inner walls of your arteries when carried through the blood stream. Called 'plaque' this will narrow your arterial walls and choke the blood flow and can cause a heart attack when the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen rich blood and part of it begins to die.
Not nice eh! High blood cholesterol is therefore a major risk factor for heart disease. It can, however be controlled with exercise and a healthy diet.
Not all cholesterol is bad and it can be present in your bloodstream as two types:
- LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)
- HDL (High-density lipoprotein)
HDL contains less cholesterol than LDL and its job is to remove cholesterol from the cells in an artery wall and transport it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion from the body as waste. HDL is known as good cholesterol – the higher the amount in your bloodstream the better.
If you have a total reading that is greater than 200 milligrams per decilitre of cholesterol this may be a danger sign. As a rule of thumb your HDL should be greater than 35 and your LDL should be less than 130.
These are involved primarily in the regulation of blood clotting. Along with cholesterol, phospholipids form part of the structure of all cell membranes and are critical in the cell membranes of brain cells and nervous system cells.
So as someone concerned with your fitness, health, performance or appearance, you might be forgiven for being confused by all the mixed messages regarding dietary fat.
The latest word is that fat is actually good for you and also good for weight control as long as you eat the right kinds.
Too many fat calories, just like too many protein calories or too many carbohydrate calories, can turn into body fat. However the right kind of fat calories will help you lose fat and keep you healthy both physically and mentally.
Confused? Maybe this will help:
Fatty acids from food are the tiny building blocks of fat and these are classified into three groups according to their hydrogen content:
These are usually solid at room temperature and, apart from tropical oils, come from animal sources such as beef fat, butter fat, milk, cheese, ice-cream and other product made from milk or cream. Low fat milk or semi-skimmed milk is much lower in saturated fat. Tropical oils that are high in saturated fat include coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil and also include the cocoa fat found in chocolate.
These are usually liquid at room temperature and come from vegetable, nut or seed sources. Polyunsaturated fats that are found in margarines and vegetable shortening are solid because they have been hydrogenated which is a process that changes the chemical make up the fat to harden it. The resulting fat is composed of a substance called trans-fatty acids which raise blood cholesterol. These trans-fatty acids are more harmful to your heart than saturated fats. No amounts of trans-fatty acids are safe and they should be avoided altogether.
These fats are also usually liquid at room temperature and can be found in large amounts in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and other nut oils. Monounsaturated fats appear to have a protective effect on blood cholesterol levels. They help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and maintain higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
Quite a bit to take in I know but let’s clarify something. If you slash fat to miniscule levels or cut it out altogether, you risk developing an essential fat deficiency. When this happens, the body has trouble absorbing fat soluble vitamins A,D,E & K. In addition the health of cell membranes is jeopardized because low-fat diets are low in Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant (see Nutrition -1) that prevents disease causing free-radicals from puncturing cell membranes. Men who go on low fat diets put their bodies in hormonal jeopardy since fat is required in the production of the male hormone, testosterone. Women who slash their fat intake will feel terrible in general and will even start to crave processed carbohydrates.
Of all dietary fat, certain types of polyunsaturated fat are considered to be essential. Two of these are Linoleic acid and Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA). The chemical structure of Linoleic acid is referred to as ‘Omega- 6’ fat and Alpha-Linolenic acid is referred to as ‘Omega-3’ fat. Although these fats are essential they are not needed in large amounts. Your body cannot make them so you therefore have to get them from food sources.
They are required for normal growth, maintenance cell membranes and healthy arteries and nerves. In addition, essential fats keep your skin smooth and lubricated and protect your joints. They also assist in the breakdown and metabolism of cholesterol. Vegetable fats such as corn, soybean, safflower and walnut oils are high in essential fats as are nuts and seeds. The total amount for good health is 6-10% of total fat intake or a total of 5-10 grams per day.
In addition to Linolenic acid there are two other omega-3 fats that are essential and these are found virtually only in fish:
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
Nutrition experts now recommend that we eat omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats in a healthier ratio, increasing our intake of omega-3 oils and decreasing our intake of omega-6 oils. It is recommended that you should substitute olive oil and canola oil, which are lower in omega-6 fats and higher in monounsaturated fats, for the other oils in your diet. Then increase your omega-3 intake. Some experts have suggested a 1:1 ratio or 2:1 ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats others advocate a 4:1 ratio. These ratios have been associated with lower incidence of heart disease and cancer in populations where consumption of Omega-3 fats is traditionally higher.
|FAT RECOMMNDATIONS FOR ACTIVE PEOPLE|
The maximum amount of fat considered healthy in your daily diet is 30% or less, based upon the number of calories you eat over a week. Saturated fats should be 7-10% or less of total daily calories; polyunsaturated fat should also be at 10% or less and monounsaturated fat should make up to 15% of total calories.
Daily recommended intake for essential fats:
Linoleic acid = 12 grams for women; 17 grams for men
Linolenic acid = 1.1 grams for women; 1.6 grams for men
EPH & DHA combined = 2 grams daily based upon 2,000 calorie diet.
As a Muay Thai Nak Muay (Fighter) or Nak Rian (student) trying to remain lean, you should control your total fat intake in order to control your total calorie intake.
Keep your fat intake to 25-30% of calories each day. Your diet should contain more unsaturated fats than saturated: 5% saturated 10-15% monounsaturated and 7-10% polyunsaturated.
You can calculate your own daily fat intake by using the following formulas:
Total calories x 30% = Daily calories from fat =g total fat divided by 9
Example: 2,000 calories x .3 = 600 divided by 9 = 67g total fat
Saturated fatty acids (SFA)
Total calories x 5% = daily calories from SFA divided by 9 = g SFA
Example: 2,000 calories x .05 = 100 divided by 9 = 11g SFA
- Choose lean cuts of meat such as sirloin and flank and eat portions that are no larger than the palm of your hand. Chicken, turkey and fish are always the leaner meat choices.
- When preparing and eating your meat make sure you trim all visible fat and skin. Use cooking racks to bake, broil, grill, and steam or microwave the meat in order to avoid melting the fat back into the meat.
- When eating lunch meat, select low fat chicken or turkey breast rather than high fat bologna or salami.
- Dairy foods are very important in your diet, including weight control. To cut down the fat in dairy foods, choose low fat products rather than whole-milk products and include them in your diet 2 0r 3 times per day.
- Cholesterol is found only in animal products, and egg yolk is a concentrated source. Substitute 2 egg whites for 1 yolk or use an egg substitute. Limit your intake to 1 egg yolk per day.
- Processed and prepared foods, especially snack foods, can be concentrated sources of fat. Hydrogenated vegetable fat contains trans-fatty acids that promote heart disease, so pay the most attention to the types and total amounts of fat in the food. Read labels carefully, even if the packaging says the product is ‘light’, so as to determine whether products really are lower in fat.
So as you can see it’s not as simple as you thought and I apologise if it all got a bit technical back there but if you managed to absorb what I wrote then you will be much wiser when preparing your diet plan.
I am afraid it isn’t any less complicated when I move onto the next nutritional topic of Protein so bear with me on the technical aspects.
Your body has the amazing ability of self-repair and this takes place day in and day out. The one nutrient that is responsible for building and maintaining body tissue is – protein.
Protein is present in every part of your body; muscles, bones, blood vessels, connective tissue hair, skin and fingernails.
Protein is the key player in the repair and construction of muscle tissue after exercise. When you lift a weight or do push ups etc, you force your muscles to lengthen when they want to contract. This action causes microscopic tears within your muscle fibres. This is why you get muscle soreness one or two days after your workout. In response to this your body makes the muscle fibres bigger and stronger to protect against future tears.
The material used in this construction process comes primarily from dietary protein. This is broken down during digestion into amino acids. These amino acids enter the blood stream and are transported to muscle cells to be synthesized into protein. The two major types of muscle protein are:
Compared to diets that are high in carbohydrate and low in fat, diets high in protein and low in fat promote greater weight loss. One reason is that lean protein helps to stoke up your fat burning fires. Its thermogenic (heat producing) effect may be as high as 22% compared to that of carbohydrates which is 0.8%. In a nutshell, you burn more calories by doing nothing more than eating slightly more protein and less carbohydrate.
However as always there is a flip side. Eating twice as much protein will not make your muscles bigger in fact if you consume too much protein then the excess will be stored as body fat.
|INDIVIDUAL PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS|
If you are active in Muay Thai either as a fighter, student or instructor then you will need more protein than a less active person. The DRI (Daily recommended intake) for an average person is 0.8gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day and this is based upon the needs of someone who is not exercising. Individual protein requirements will vary dependant upon your activities such as muscle building, aerobic or weight loss.
Due to the training intensity you will need additional protein to support muscle growth and increases in certain blood compounds. It is recommended that you eat 2.0grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. So if you weigh 68 kg (1kg = 2.2lbs) the formula to calculate your daily protein requirement is: 2g of protein x 68kg (body weight) = 136g of protein per day
On average most strength trainers and bodybuilders will train intensely between 1-2 hours per day plus 5 or more hours of aerobic exercise a week. If you are in this category then your protein needs will be further elevated.
During aerobic exercise that lasts 60-90 minutes or more certain amino acids called branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are used for energy in small amounts and this is particular when the body is low in carbohydrate fuel which is its preferred fuel source. One of the BCAAs, called leucine, is broken down to make alanine which is another amino acid. Alanine is converted by your liver into blood sugar (glucose) and used for energy. The glucose is then transported into the working muscles where it is used for energy. The harder you work aerobically, the more leucine your body breaks down for extra fuel. In addition to this, by your system obtaining amino acids such as leucine, muscular repair and muscular development are stimulated during the period following exercise.
Given this special use of amino acids as an energy and recovery source, you should increase your protein intake if your training program includes more than 5 hours per week of an endurance program (such as Muay Thai training). You may require as much as 2.2grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
You can calculate your requirements using the following formula:
2.2kg of protein x 68kg (body weight) = 150g of protein per day.
When you reduce your calories for competition you risk losing body-firming muscle. Muscle is the body’s most metabolically active tissue and therefore losing it compromises the ability for your body to burn fat. One way to prevent diet–related muscle loss is to consume adequate protein while in preparation for competition. You will need between 2.2g & 2.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
2.3g of protein x 68kg (body weight) = 156kg of protein per day
The distribution of calories for competition dieting will be 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 30% fat (30-40-30)
|GOOD SOURCES OF PROTEIN|
The following table indicates some of the best sources for protein.
|Beef, lean, sirloin broiled||85g||26||172|
|Roasted chicken breast (boneless & skinless)||85g||26||140|
|Sole or Flounder, baked or broiled||85g||21||100|
|Egg, boiled||1 large||6||78|
|Egg white, cooked||1 large||4||78|
|Milk, dried non-fat, instant||34g||12||122|
|Milk, low fat, semi-skimmed||237ml||8||102|
|Milk non-fat, skimmed||237ml||8||86|
|Yoghurt low fat, plain||227g||13||155|
|Yoghurt, low fat fruit||227g||11||250|
|NUTS, SEEDS & NUT PRODUCTS|
|Peanuts, dry roasted||28g||7||166|
|Pumpkin seeds, dry roasted||114g||6||143|
|Sunflower seeds, dry roasted, hulled||32g||3||93|
|Soy beans, cooked||90g||15||149|
|Black beans, boiled||86g||8||114|
|Chick peas, boiled/td>||82g||7||135|
Protein is one of the best absorbed foods, particularly animal protein. Scientific research has found that 95-99% of animal protein is absorbed and used by the body. Even protein from plant sources is well absorbed: more than 80% of the protein from high protein plants is put to use by the body.
One of the best sources of protein to build muscle and strength is Whey protein. This is natural and is derived from cow’s milk and is available in protein supplements. Whey is considered a fast protein because it is easily digestible and absorbs quickly making the amino acids readily available for muscle repair.
Whey therefore is ideal to consume immediately after your workout because of its rapid uptake. It also seems to work better for muscle building when taken with a carbohydrate. Another intriguing fact about whey is that animal studies suggest that it stimulates fat-burning mechanisms in the liver and muscle, as well as making more fat available for fuel during exercise. Whey is also rich in leucine, a BCAA that helps burn body fat while preserving lean muscle tissue.
A few pointers
If you don't get enough protein in your diet, then your body starts using its own sources of protein for energy.
And guess where your body gets the protein from? It starts eating away at your muscles - slowing your metabolic rate, reducing your strength AND bringing muscle growth to a grinding halt. Protein also plays an important part of a fat loss programme. To lose weight you must restrict the number of calories you consume. However, when you cut down on what you eat, the body starts using muscle protein as energy - in other words, you are literally 'eating' yourself. You must get enough protein from your diet to cover these losses. If you fail to get enough protein on a daily basis, you'll quickly lose strength, get weaker and your metabolic rate will slow down.
If you've been training with weights without seeing much in the way of results
Make sure you're eating enough protein - either in the form of whole food (such as chicken, fish or lean red meat) or a protein supplement. Protein supplements are an easy, convenient and simple way to make sure you're providing your body with the protein it needs. But don't make the mistake of thinking all proteins are the same – they're not.
Many supplement companies include cheap ingredients in their formulas.
One of the most popular cheap proteins is known as casein (pronounced kay-seen). Casein is derived from dairy products. It's the same protein you find in milk, cheese and yoghurt. Although it was popular some years ago, casein has now been replaced with whey - a far more advanced protein.
Several clinical trials have compared whey and casein. The results were the same – whey protein came out top every time. Canadian scientists found that after three months of supplementation, whey protein was six times more effective at improving exercise performance than casein. The whey protein group also lost an impressive 4.8% of body fat, and reported feeling far more energetic. Simply put, adding a high quality whey protein powder to your diet will significantly improve your performance - both in the gym and in competition.
What's more, the right type of protein will also help you build muscle faster.
French research shows that whey protein leads to a massive 119% greater increase in protein synthesis (the fancy term for muscle growth) than the cheap milk protein found in most protein powders. Furthermore, top European researchers report that whey protein halts the muscle-wasting hormone cortisol dead in its tracks. In short, whey protein quickly leaves your stomach and heads straight into the bloodstream - ready for delivery to your protein-starved muscles.
Scientists from Australia have also confirmed that whey protein is far superior to casein for muscle growth. Thirteen subjects were given either whey isolate or casein while they took part in a weight-training program for ten weeks. Results showed that the 100% whey isolate was more effective at increasing muscle mass. Test subjects using whey gained over 10 pounds of muscle, while those using casein gained only 2 pounds. Those using whey also gained more strength, although both proteins seemed to prevent the typical drop in plasma glutamine levels that occurs with exercise.
|DO IT YOURSELF: MAKE YOUR OWN PROTEIN SHAKE|
Boosting Protein Content
Did you know that skimmed milk powder is a great source of the high biological value milk proteins casein and whey? It costs around £1.00 for a 200gm tub and can be mixed with cereals, porridge, shakes, yoghurt, sauces and fresh milk to increase the protein content of your foods. If your protein intake is lower than recommended, why not make your own home-made protein energy shake.
Homemade protein energy shake
50g dried skimmed milk powder
500mls fresh milk
Mix the dried skimmed milk powder into a smooth paste with 100mls of the milk.
Put all the ingredients into a hand blender and blend until frothy.
An amazing 35gms protein and 99gms carbohydrate energy for just 81 pence!
It also contains less than 1% fat when made with fully skimmed milk.
Add a banana and some honey.
Add fresh fruit such as strawberries, or frozen berry fruits.
Add natural yoghurt for a thicker shake.
|Ingredients||Cost||Calories (Kcal)||Protein (g)||Carbohydrate (g)||Fat (g)|
|Dried Skimmed Milk powder 50g||29p||175||17.5||25.2||0.3|
|Fresh Milk 500mls||26p||170||17.0||25.0||0.1|
|Total per pint||81.5p||539||35.2||99.2||1.2|
As with all nutrition and diets you have to ‘listen’ to your body, if you lose muscle mass or are lethargic then you are most probably getting it wrong. As I have said before supplementation is just that, a ‘supplement’ to a good diet. You have to eat healthy, nutritious food. Burgers, cakes, chocolate and ‘fizzy’ sugar loaded drinks are not the diet of a fighter or an instructor for that matter. If anything, restrict these to the odd weekend treat. Alcohol & cigarettes have no place for anyone who wishes to reach their full potential, leave all the ‘stimulants’ for the ‘wannabes’ and concentrate on increasing your performance and full potential by following a healthy and nutritious diet.
'You are what you eat, getting fat is for those who over treat!'