When you're a CINCH athlete, there are specific needs that must be met to turn the body into a high-performance machine; promote recovery, and compositional change.
The need for fuel comes in the form of what you eat, as your body transforms the calories in food into energy you can use.
The macronutrient appropriation is unique for every person dependent factors such as body weight and training load. However, more important than how many grams of macronutrients you are eating is where you are getting them from.
It’s important to note just because a particular diet can work, for a period doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone, forever. We are athletes and want to avoid trendy and restrictive diets to better focus on long-term health and peak performances.
The three macronutrients we want to focus on are carbohydrates, protein, and fat they provide our body with calories, and our bodies utilize them in different ways depending on their chemical composition and energetic breakdown.
Our categorial system allows you to disperse the correct amount calories so you can fine-tune your nutrient intake allowing you to achieve your performance objectives.
Tom and I first adopted an anti-inflammatory lifestyle when Tom was still racing. He was training 4-6 hours a day but off his bike, he felt sluggish, and he wasn’t recovering as quickly as we hoped. The concept of Alkalinity and acidity was first introduced to us by author and Vega Sports founder Brendan Brazier.
The balance of acid and alkaline within the body is referred to as pH and is measured at a scale from pH1 (the most acidic) to pH14 (the most alkaline). A neutral or good pH balance is 7.35; maintaining the balance is key to long-term health.
When the body is constantly in an acidic environment our cellular healthy is negatively affected. Low-grade acidosis occurs when our cells remain in an overly acidic state because of too many acid-forming foods, physical training and high-stress lifestyle in general. Studies have shown this constant acidic state may lead to kidney stones, loss of bone mass, reduction in human growth hormone, premature aging and an increase in body fat. In addition to these, an acidic body makes a perfect home for bacteria and viruses to thrive.
Since our bodies are equipped with buffering capabilities, our blood pH will vary a slight degree, regardless of our diet. The body’s ability to subsist is proof of how resourceful it is. But the systems that are used to facilitate this buffering use valuable energy and can become strained and if prolonged will result in significant stress to the systems causing the immune function to weaken exposing the body to a host of diseases. But to balance it out we can add alkaline forming foods to the majority of our meals.
When identifying your carb sources figuring how quickly the body assimilates the carbs you are consuming is important. There are a couple types of carbohydrates to keep in mind.
Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that contain three or more sugars. Complex carbohydrates provide the body with vitamins and minerals, in addition to energy. They release energy into the bloodstream slowly, giving us a source of energy over an extended period. Complex carbohydrates are an essential source of energy for athletes, as they allow them to maintain blood sugar, i.e., energy levels throughout training or competition.
Simple carbohydrates contain one or two sugars. For example, fruit contains just one sugar, while ordinary table sugar includes two sugars. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and expended equally fast. This means that they will provide a quick energy boost, but can cause a crash as blood sugar levels drop. Simple carbohydrates are helpful during competition and directly after.
The type of carbohydrates we want to limit throughout the day are refined carbohydrates. These inflammatory carbohydrates include sugar of any kind, processed carbohydrates made from enriched flour (such as pizza crust, pasta, bagels, most bread, crackers, packaged cereals, cookies, cakes, etc.)
In comparison, anti-inflammatory carbohydrates are the unrefined “whole” carbohydrates that come in the form of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and unrefined non-flour whole grains. A bonus is most anti-inflammatory carbohydrates are also crammed with nutrients, including phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Our bodies cannot function properly without protein. Our bodies need proteins, and amino acids derived from protein rich foods, to produce important molecules in our bodies such as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. Protein helps with cellular turnover, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair and is crucial to our overall bodily function.
Since the amount of protein is bodies can absorb at one time is finite. It's essential to consume moderate amounts of protein at regular intervals throughout the day.
Fat is an essential nutrient that provides energy, energy storage, and insulation. It supports multiple body functions and helps regulate inflammation in the body. Dietary fat is energy-rich, providing 9 kcal/g of energy, and adding flavor to meals as well as making them more filling and satisfying. Not all fats are created equal, however, focus polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Get a mix of fat types from whole, unprocessed, high-quality foods. These include nuts, seeds hemp, flax, and chia seeds, fish, seaweed, pasture-raised grass-fed meat, free-range organic eggs, olives, avocado, coconut, and cacao nibs.
Avoid industrially processed, artificially created, and factory farmed foods, which contain unhealthy fats.
Keep in mind fat is slow to digest and be converted into a usable form of energy (it can take up to 6 hours). Converting stored body fat into energy takes time. The body needs to digest fat and transport it to the working muscles before it can convert into energy.
When deciphering between proteins look for a wide variety of protein sources. Also, identify the inflammatory effects if any it may have on your body. Many types of protein such as red meat, dairy and pork can be acid forming in the body. This is why we like “lean proteins" and plant-based proteins.
You can always whip up fish, chicken, collagen powder or turkey for your lean proteins. But we also recommend plant-based proteins like quinoa, hemp, chickpeas and pea protein powder. These are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, plant-based proteins are an incredible anti-inflammatory option for you.
Your body is most likely already body was already inflamed from the training and mental stress of life in general. Don't exacerbate this by constantly forcing your body to digest energy taxing foods.
First, begin to eliminate the foods that were not a good return on energy investment. Then add more alkaline foods to each meal.
In Tom's case, within weeks we noticed a huge improvement in his recovery. He felt more energy and required fewer hours of sleep. He also reached his optimal weight for the first time in his career without dieting or counting macros.
However, an all-or-nothing mentality isn’t feasible for most of us when it comes to diet, even for us athletes who continuously strive for perfection in our training. So along with adding more alkaline foods to our diet. We encourage our athletes to follow the 80:20 rule, which, when applied to food, is more an approach to healthy eating than a diet. This rule suggests you choose to eat healthy foods 80 percent of the time, which then allows you to indulge 20 percent of the time.
We like this approach is it means you're less likely to cut out whole food groups, become hung up on counting calories or deny yourself particular foods. With fewer restrictions, this way of eating makes it much easier to follow the Sigmas, promote performance and implement long-term dietary changes.