Over the last few years I have had the good fortune of working with 100’s of different athletes of different ages, skill levels and stages in their athletic career. I have notice a number of things that are important but probably the one thing I have noticed that ALL successful high level athletes share is an understanding that food is fuel or building blocks and eating does not need to be an experience.
Personally, the switch flipped for my progress when I stopped regarding food as good or bad and instead choose to look at it as bricks, mortar or fuel. Once I stopped looking for experiences out of eating my progress accelerated dramatically – I remain lean all year round, continue to build muscle and have more energy now than I had when I was in my early and mid 20’s.
I have tried to impart this understanding onto ANYONE who is interested in getting more out of their bodies in terms of appearance or performance, but I’d venture a guess that longevity and quality could also be added to the list of things that will improve once someones relationship with food becomes realigned with reality. This understanding in not one that is easy to pass along and, frankly, getting someone to see food as something other than something that should be enjoyed is probably the most difficult task that a strength coach will have to perform as there is a lot of social inertia to overcome. Lets face it, our society treats food as a reward so the association of food and a positive experience is deeply ingrained in our brains.
ANYONE who has been able to overcome the food must be good belief has benefited from it tremendously. The body composition improvements lead to performance improvements which lead to confidence improvements. Without fail, correcting your understanding of what food actually means to you WILL make your life better. The simple act of making decisions that are based on reality will represent a significant movement towards self-awareness and self control. The inverse is also completely true, continuing to eat food for emotional / reward reasons will hold you back from complete self-awareness and optimal health.
Eat because you need to rebuild yourself out of the best quality materials and power your movement with the right fuel. Don’t eat because you like the taste of chocolate, cookies are an easy breakfast or because pizza tastes better than spinach. The easy way is rarely the successful way. If you want more out of your life, do what elite athletes do and eat mindfully.
If you have not yet read my first post about food = fuel and building material you should check it out.