Diet

Ten Nutrition Tips That We (Almost) All Agree With: Part 2

Nutrition Diet Protein Carbohydrates

Between the Pinterest boards full of protein diets, the endless weight loss tips we see online and the countless low-carb diet foods we see in the grocery store, it’s getting more difficult to determine what we should and shouldn’t be eating.  VarCity HQ did a little leg work for you and scoured the internet for the common themes we saw from nutritionists throughout the internet. 

Below is VarCity’s Part 2 of our top 10 list of nutrition rules that almost all experts agree with: 

3. There Is No Perfect Diet for Everyone

People are all unique. Subtle differences in genetics, body type, physical activity and environment can affect which type of diet you should follow.

Some people do best on a low-carb diet, while others are better off on a vegetarian high-carb diet.  The fact is, what works for one person may not work for the next.  To figure out what you should do, a little experimentation may be needed.

Try a few different things until you find something that you enjoy and think you can stick to. Different strokes for different folks!

SUMMARY
The best diet for you is the one that works for you and you can stick to in the long term.

4. Artificial Trans Fats Are Very Unhealthy

Trans fats are formed as a side product when vegetable oils are hydrogenated.  Food producers often use hydrogenation to harden vegetable oils for use in products such as margarine.

A high intake of trans fats is associated with various chronic diseases, such as abdominal obesity, inflammation and heart disease, to a name a few.

We HIGHLY recommend you avoid trans fats!

SUMMARY
Trans fats form in chemically processed oils and are linked to all sorts of chronic diseases. You should avoid them like the plague.

Train for Your Body Type: Mesomorphs -- Part 4 of 4

Mesomorph Body Type

Mesomorph:  Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells

You have the body type that finds it easiest to add new muscle and you don’t tend to store much body fat. Mesomorphs tend to take their naturally athletic builds for granted, which can result in diluted workouts and poor diets. Keeping in peak physical condition is often tempered by a scattered approach to eating and training.

The key here is to make the most of your body shape. That means following a progressive plan that will make you stronger and more athletic by increasing your power without getting too bulky. To fuel your workouts, you’ll need plenty of whole grains.

Are You a Mesomorph?

If you are, you’ll know it from the jealous looks. Mesomorphs look well built without setting foot in a gym, and pack on muscle the instant they pick up a dumbbell. If this sounds like you, you’ve hit the genetic jackpot – but you can make the most of your DNA with some tactical workout tricks.

What Mesomorphs Might Be Doing Wrong

Mesomorphs often won’t train as hard as they can.  Mesomorphs should try timed workouts, to give them goals to aim for and raise their workout intensity.

What Mesomorphs Should Be Doing

Mesomorphs should train athletically.  Try sprints, box and vertical jumps or other plyometrics.  Mesomorphs respond well to low reps and power moves.  Alternatively, interval sprints will pump up their metabolism and strip away fat.

What to Eat

Although the usual caveats apply, the good news is that your body will respond well to whatever healthy food you put into it.  A basic guideline for mesomorphs to follow would be to consume meals that are 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% lean protein and 30% healthy fats. So, for example, a plate that contained vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, grilled chicken and olive oil on wholegrain bread would represent a staple dish for this body type.

What Else?

You should also factor in recovery days.  Some light movements on your rest days will help get the blood flowing and keep you fresh.

Money Moves

You’ll respond well to power moves.  Try pairing a strength move with a power move that works the same muscles. For example, superset five reps on the deadlift with five on the power clean.

The Mesomorph Cheat Sheet

Do

  • Train like an athlete

  • Time your workouts

  • Set personal bests

Don’t

  • Take your body for granted

  • Eat whatever you like

Train for Your Body Type: Endomorphs -- Part 3 of 4

Endomorph Body Type

Endomorph:  Often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat

Endomorphs are adept at storing fuel, with muscle and mass concentrated in the lower body. The endomorph is the hardest body type to have in terms of managing your weight and overall fitness, but to get a more balanced physique, you should focus on developing your shoulders and stripping away excess mass from your lower body.  A low- to medium-intensity cardio plan will help you shift weight, as will a diet that’s high in fiber.

Are You an Endomorph?

If you have trouble shifting weight, the chances are you’re an endomorph, characterized by a relatively high amount of stored mass, a wide waist and a large bone structure.

What’s Going On?

The good news is that, evolutionarily speaking, you’re awesome when food was scarce, natural selection favored humans with fat-storing metabolisms. The bad news is that, now sofas and milkshakes are readily available, those genes are holding you back. Some experts suggest heredity factors might account for as much as 70% of your body mass index (BMI).

What Endomorphs Might Be Doing Wrong

First, the good bit: there’s no point in spending hours plodding away on a treadmill.  Ditch the long, slow, steady-state cardiovascular work, start doing more interval-based conditioning to strip away fat. Sprints and box jumps are great, but if you’re heavy to the point of being worried about your joints, then moves like the sled push are slower but just as intense.

And if you’re doing hundreds of crunches to try and shift your gut, ditch them now.  Spot-reducing just doesn’t work, you need to lose it from everywhere to see results.

What Endomorphs Should Be Doing

While much of the endomorph’s focus should be on shedding mass through aerobic exercise, we’re of the opinion that weight-training is best because it carries on burning calories long after your final set. What’s more, the calories you ingest during the recovery period will help your muscles grow rather than fuelling your gut. Therefore, we recommend doing four days a week of hypertrophy training (more weight, low reps) alongside your cardio.

Combine hypertrophy work – basically, muscle-building – with conditioning to strip away unwanted body mass.   A four-day split might go something like: Monday, upper-body hypertrophy; Tuesday, lower-body conditioning such as sprints or sleds; Thursday lower-body hypertrophy; and a Friday ‘repetition’ day on the upper body, when you’ll do lots of reps at relatively low weights.

What to Eat

From a nutrition perspective, a low-carb diet that still includes oats and brown rice should be complimented by a high protein and fiber intake.  Nutrients such as green tea and spinach will help with the fat burning process.  You’ll have to watch what you eat more strictly than people with other body shapes.  Get your carbs from vegetables and steer clear of processed bread and rice.

What Else?

There’s evidence that extra weight around the midsection indicates high stress levels or a low ability to handle stress.  Try to minimize the effects of the stress hormone cortisol by getting plenty of sleep and avoiding overtraining.  Also, avoid sports drinks.  They’re full of carbs and they’ll spike your blood sugar through the roof.

Money Moves

Work on bodyweight moves such as the press-up or chin-up, and moves that force you to use good technique such as the Turkish get-up.

The Endomorph Cheat Sheet

Do

  • Train with intensity

  • Watch your carb intake

  • Build your shoulders

Don’t

  • Do endless crunches

  • Jog for hours

  • Drink sports drinks