Biggest Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid
Nutrition is one of the key components in any training plan. Get the food right, and you’ll maximise your results from all your hard work in the box. Get it wrong, and your performance will suffer.
There are plenty of articles out there telling you what you should be eating - but many miss the mark. In reality, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach - and the key to good nutrition is discovering what works well for you.
Here are some of the biggest nutrition mistakes you should aim to avoid:
Blindly Following the Crowd
As we’ve already mentioned, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. Some people thrive on a Paleo diet, some people don’t. Some kick ass without carbs, others go all crazy and start destroying stuff.
If someone gives you nutrition advice, give it a try - but don’t just assume it will work for you like it’s worked for them.
Learn how to listen to your body, and use that to guide your nutrition choices. If you don’t know where to start, work with a nutritionist or dietician who will help you figure it out. This is way more effective than blindly following a nutrition theory you found online.
Not Eating Enough
Not eating enough can happen either intentionally or unintentionally. For a long time, calorie restriction has been thought of as the most effective way to lose weight. However, this might not be the case - especially if you’re training hard.
Your body needs appropriate nutrition to fuel itself through training and recovery. If you’re constantly depriving it, your performance will suffer.
We’ve already spoken about this in depth - so check out the related post for more.
Related Post: Signs You Need to Eat More
When do you go off track with your nutrition? For most people, lack of preparation plays a key role. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire weekend in the kitchen preparing food for the week ahead. Who wants to live like that!?
That said, there are a few things you can do to make life easier for yourself.
Plan your food before you go shopping, and take a list with you. This way you’ll have everything you need in the house, waiting for you when you get back from the box. No more 9pm runs to the supermarket!
Make sure you have some homemade “ready meals” in the freezer too. There are always going to be those nights where you forgot to prepare, or life just got in the way. Having some healthy, fast meals on hand will always save you in these situations.
You should also make sure you have pre-workout snacks on hand during the day. There’s nothing worse than having a rubbish night in the box because you haven’t eaten for 5 hours!
Lack of Flexibility
Whilst preparation is important, you also need to have some flexibility in your diet. Have you ever turned down an invitation to eat with friends because it doesn’t fit with your nutrition plan? You don’t have to be that guy!
Remember, life is for living. Your training is important - but spending time with your friends matters too. Your steak and broccoli will be waiting for you tomorrow!
Too Much Restriction
Do you find yourself staying on track during the week - only to “ruin it all” with an “epic binge” at the weekend?
You may think this is a problem with your willpower, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re actively restricting certain food groups, you’re more likely to binge as a result. The key to overcoming this is to allow the things you enjoy in moderation.
Try not to think of your nutrition as all-or-nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have a slice of cake on Wednesday night, in front of Bake Off.
What matters is consistency. It’s the consistent, healthy choices that get results - not the complete absence of foods we’ve demonised as “unhealthy”. Find a balance that works for you, and work with that.
Are you scared to loosen your grip on the restrictive behaviour? If you feel like you’ll lose control by going “off plan”, try practicing mindful eating. This is a simple, but powerful, technique to help you make the best choices for your body.
Before eating something, make sure it’s a conscious choice. Are you giving in to a craving, or do you genuinely want to eat it? Will it nourish you? Will you enjoy it? This isn’t about controlling what you eat, but making sure you’re choosing to eat it - rather than eating on autopilot.
Eat slowly, and chew your food. If you tend to wolf your food down without chewing it properly, you’re skipping the first part of the digestion process - which is key to getting the most nutrients from your food.
Eating slowly also gives your brain time to process the food as you’re eating it. You’ll be more likely to stop eating when you’re full, or when you’ve had enough. If you’re eating something you consider a treat (e.g. pizza or cake), stop eating when you’re full or the enjoyment drops off.