The short version of the ideal diet for home athletes: Eat paleo. Minimize supplements. Track nutrients. Be healthy! Pretty easy, right?
Is it as simple as calories in vs. calories out? Is being thin the same as being healthy? Can skinny, fit people still have chronic disease?
Why Does Diet Matter?
These are all tough questions. Hippocrates, often cited as the father of modern medicine, is quoted as saying “all disease begins in the gut.” If that’s not testimonial for the importance of the human diet, then we don’t know what is!
The globo-gym masters would have you believe that world class fitness comes from a machine in an air conditioned room and their sponsors would equally have you believe that it comes in a pill.
The corporate fitness industry has long-peddled the idea of fitness in a pill. Supplements are one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and… brace yourselves… they are completely unregulated. This is dangerous for a lot of reasons.
- It’s a threat to your bank account, as there is no price regulation, and thus the intrinsic value of supplements is really what they can convince anyone to pay for them, rather than what they’re actually worth.
- It threatens your health because the quality of ingredients, their sources, and the quantity of nutrients is unregulated, unverified and unproven/untested.
- It’s a threat to your fitness because it gives you the mindset that you can workout however you want, and eat whatever you want, and make up the slack on the tail end using “magical supplements.
This is why products like “pre-workout” exist, and have names like “MUTHAFUCKIN WATERMELON,” and directions that say nothing more than “TAKE THIS SHIT!” and still be completely legal, sellable and profitable.
A Better Path to the Ideal Diet for Home Athletes
We believe in a holistic approach to nutrition, just like we do with fitness. The best bang you can get for your buck, without introducing foreign bodies to your chemistry is the ideal solution. Just like you don’t need complicated machines and contraptions to get an effective workout, you don’t need complicated formulas and proprietary blends to get proper nutrition.
Without proper nutrition, there can be no proper fitness. Although the USDA food pyramid is a decent start, as far as getting people more involved in their nutrition, it is far from ideal, and in our strong belief, a major contributor to chronic problems of health in the USA.
Your goal in fueling your body should be to achieve the most natural balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats and water, in the closest proportions to what your body would crave naturally in an unaltered, non-modernized society. In other words the ideal diet for home athletes is one that most closely mimics the tenets of the Paleo Diet. We believe this is the diet that humans evolved to eat and thrive off of, and it is void of added sugar, grains, breads, pastas and in many cases dairy.
How to Get There
The ideal diet for home athletes uses whole foods. This should not be misconstrued to mean you can’t create fun, delicious, complex recipes; you should just strive to compose them of whole foods.
As a general rule when you go grocery shopping you should make an attempt to stick to the outer aisles of the store. Attempt to avoid products that have long nutrition labels or ingredients that you don’t understand. Try to commit to produce, fruits, some nuts and as healthy meat as you can afford or find.
This post will be the framework for a series of posts on nutrition, including:
- How much to eat
- Good carbs vs. bad carbs
- Calories in vs. calories out
- Misunderstood vitamins and minerals
- Vitamins D, C, K, K2 MK-4, K2 MK-7
- Omega-3, Omega-6, Saturated, Unsaturated, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
For now suffice it to say that if you want to be a gym refugee, and achieve peak fitness, the ideal diet for home athletes should be as much a focus as your workout. Without the proper fuel, your workouts will stall, your health will decline, and all of your effort will be for naught.
We do not reject supplementation, but we believe the decision to supplement should be an informed one. And it should use the best ingredients. To this end, we will recommend some products, and explain the costs and benefits of using or not using them. It is not necessary for you to use these products, and you can have tremendous success without them, but when warranted we will explain why.
For further reading, we recommend The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain as a terrific primer on how to fuel your body with the food it was meant to be fueled with. Additional reading that may be beneficial regarding the quality (as opposed to the quantity) of food in the modern era, is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
Effective supplementation can be researched and purchased at the Primal Blueprint. But we encourage you to continue to read our articles and do research on these products before purchasing.
Think this is all a myth? Do you have a better ideal diet for home athletes? Are you a nutrition anomaly? Let us know in the comments!
This article is not to be construed as medical advice. Please discuss any dietary changes with your doctor. We are not doctors. We are globo-gym refugees.