Eating Healthy And Body Comp

I think there is some confusion around this topic.

The goal of “eating healthy” is not to get your body fat as low as it will go.

Now, some of us would love to have the problem of being too skinny.

Some of you may even scoff at the idea, but it is a very real misconception among adolescent athletes and a very real concern (or it should be) among coaches and parents.

You will hear coaches or players talk about that guy or girl on the team who is “like ZERO percent body fat” – – they actually believe it is a thing.

Let me tell you right now, it is NOT, if you actually had zero percent body fat, death would likely be imminent. Not great for your SV’% eh?

There is such a thing as ESSENTIAL fat. Our body actually uses fat you know and not just for insulation or energy. Our body also uses fat to create hormones like your natural steroids – important stuff.

For men you need 2-4% essential body fat. For females it is 10-12% (we are built differently, so we will never have body fat numbers like the boys – nor should we).

This also does not mean that your goal for body fat should be 4% if you are a dude and 12% if you are a dudette. Getting to those levels puts you in the health risk zone, it will have a negative impact on your performance and if you find yourself obsessing about getting to those levels, then it is time to ask yourself “What is my motivation for weight loss?” Because I think at that stage it is not performance anymore.

When you get to that stage you are treading on thin ice and you should talk to someone about it and consider working with a registered dietician.

But I just want to eat healthy…

That is awesome and a worthwhile goal. I know lots of goalies I work with have positively affected their parent’s nutrition by eating more whole foods and minimizing processed foods.

Sometimes you make the mistake of eating foods that have very little caloric density – like salads pop to mind as your go to source of fuel and that can be a problem.

Some of you limit your intake because you are worried about over-eating.

You need to be getting enough calories to fuel your training. What you eat forms the building blocks your body needs to replenish your energy stores, to repair and rebuild your muscle. A big salad isn’t going to do that on it’s own.

So keep the salad, but add in some grilled chicken, beef or pork.  Add in other veggies – tomatos, broccoli, carrots.  Maybe toss in some pumpkin or sunflower seeds or a bit of shredded cheese.  Now, were talking!

Fat is not your enemy

In the morning don’t reach for low fat milk or yogurt. Fat is not bad for you, you just want to get the right kinds in the right amount.  So fat from french fries and donuts, not your best pick.  Fat from an avacodo, olive oil or coconut oil, better option.

I would focus more on limiting sugar from things like granola bars that you eat so often. You think they are healthy because, well…It’s granola for goodness sake. But they can be laden with sugar.

Please don’t email me to say how wrong I am and how you make your own granola bars and they don’t have any sugar at all … blah, blah, blah… if that is you, you clearly get it, awesome job! I am talking about the folks who don’t read labels and eat whatever is on sale.

Here is a three-part interview I did with Registered Dietician Lisa Cianfrini about this very topic. She is the nutrition expert, so I will let her walk you through it…

And here is a great summary article from the folks at Precision Nutrition outlining the 5 Rules For A High Performance Body > CLICK HERE.

That will get you started nicely. Don’t be afraid of food, just make wise choices (most of the time) and eat enough to fuel your activity level.