Nutrition Habits – Dr. Mike’s 6 Pillars of Nutrition

One of the most difficult things that I do as a personal trainer is San Jose is help people change their nutrition habits. I joke with my clients that as much as I think the workouts I design for them kick butt— I absolutely, positively cannot out-train a poor diet. Changing nutrition habits in order to change your physique is huge. Most clients see me 2-3 times per week. How they spend the other 165 hours a week can make or break their results 😉 . Yes–getting lean and feeling great is probably 80% nutrition.

How do personal trainers manage what their clients eat? Well, it’s rather difficult. Old habits die hard. Social pressure to eat and drink to excess is everywhere.

I’ve helped people with their fitness and nutrition programs for over 25 years. I think that different people need different approaches (thus, the “personal” in personal training!). But, two common threads come into play for most people:

1) Changing habits over time

2) Following a written plan

A few months back I read a blog post by Dr. Mike Roussell, a Registered Dietician that I really admire. In his post, Dr. Mike laid out his “6 Pillars of Nutrition”. This list pretty much sums up the habits that I try to drive my clients to over time:

Dr. Mike Roussell’s Four Pillars of Nutrition

1) Multiple meals
• Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack
• Not too big, not too small

2) Reduced processed food
• Minimize added sugar as much as possible. It’s easily the worst thing in your diet
• Minimize refined carbs. They’re empty calories.
• Processed food have more preservatives and sodium

3) Veggies and fruit
• Every meal.
• You can eat a large quantity for fewer calories.
• They’re dense in vitamins and minerals

4) Water
• Increase water and decrease calorie containing beverages

5) Lean proteins
• Eat a little with EVERY meal

6) Be strategic w/starches
• Insert these foods right after exercise or first thing in the morning.
•Your body is able to accept more carbs at these times.

These 6 pillars trump calorie counting. Calories DO count (i.e., quantity counts), but the QUALITY of your calories is paramount.

My belief is that if you live by these 6 pillars AND you eat the proper portions, you will absolutely have a leaner body.

With regard to following a written plan–the best results I’ve seen have come from having a client select a customized meal plan geared toward their food preferences and fitness/weight loss goals. Although I ultimately want my clients to create their own meal plans, giving them a well-balanced, done-for-you portion controlled meal plan at the start teaches them good nutrition and takes all the guess work out of “what should I eat?”. Over time, the meal plan becomes second nature and a part of my client’s lifestyle. At lifeSport Fitness, we use ProDiets web-based meal planning software for our clients. They can choose from dozens of Registered Dietician-designed meal plans all geared toward healthy, balanced eating.

You see, getting healthier is all about changing habits—both your nutrition AND your exercise habits.

In this post, I’ve covered my best advice for how to change nutrition habits over time.

Next week, I’ll be back with my best advice for how to incorporate exercise into your busy life .

Yours in health,