Nachos, chicken wings, cheeseburgers, poutine...are you salivating yet?
Those dishes just sound a lot better than grilled chicken, broccoli, salad and yogurt, right?
Eating healthy doesn't necessarily evoke images of a fun-filled après ski scene. After a day of skiing and snowboarding, we crave comfort food and craft beer.
Well, at least I do.
Nonetheless, après ski is not only the culmination of a day on the mountain but a celebration and reward for the hard work that I put in all year long. Skiing has a habit of keeping people young and I want to make sure that I am one of those people. For this reason, I work extremely hard throughout the year to maintain my fitness and dial in my nutrition. By setting up these two key components I avoid the pitfalls of short-term dieting while developing positive habits that lead to long-term success.
First Tracks...Understanding Your Macros
When it comes to proper nutrition, it's important to have a balanced diet. This requires you to know of and the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients. Doing so will help provide the foundation of a well-balanced nutritious diet.
It is important to note that all foods include both macronutrients and micronutrients. Both are important, but to simplify the process, it is best to focus on tracking your macros. Besides, if you eat a variety of nutritious foods, the micronutrients will take care of themselves.
Macros consist of three elements: protein, carbohydrates and fat. Proteins are vital to the building and repairing of muscles and can be attained by eating lean meats such as chicken, fish and beef.
Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. They are the fuel your body needs to get you through your day. Vegetables, fruits, brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole grains are all excellent sources when it comes to eating carbs and should form the basis of this important macronutrient.
Finally, fats allow you to store energy and yes, yes, yes, you need them in your diet. Well, at least the good fats. Bacon grease, although tasty does not count here. You will want to consume your fats from sources like nuts, olive oil and grass-fed butter to name a few.
5 Tips to Make Your Nutrition a Habit
1. Track Your Macros
Tracking your macros is an effective way to ensure that you are eating what you need on a daily basis. Once you get the hang of it, it will go a long way toward building the healthy habits you need for long-term nutrition success. First, use a good macro calculator to calculate your ideal caloric intake and the amount of each macronutrient you will need on a daily basis.
At this point take your numbers and plug them into a food tracker like My Fitness Pal. I use their free version and it works well for me. I recommend using the 40/30/30 rule to start. This way 40% of your calories will come from Carbohydrates, 30% will come from Protein and the other 30% will come from fat. This is a good starting point and you can always adjust as needed down the line.
At this point, all you have left to do is plug in the proper food for each meal to help you reach your numbers. Aim to be as close as possible to your caloric intake while hitting your aforementioned percentages for your macronutrients.
2. Eat Whole Foods
When it comes to tracking your macros, you could essentially fill your day with whatever food you want.
As long as it fits into your macros, right?
Well, technically, yes this is correct. However, it is best that you focus on whole foods and not junk. Doing so will help you reach your goals significantly quicker while helping you feel energized and ready to go.
My best suggestion for choosing whole foods is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That is where you will find the fresh produce, meat, fish and more that you need in your diet. The interior aisles are filled with boxed, bagged and canned food. These foods are processed and not the best choice you can make.
3. Plan and Prepare Meals Ahead of Time
Failure to plan is planning to fail. This adage may be old. And, you may be tired of hearing it. However, it is true and should be applied to your daily nutrition. With your food and meals calculated and tracked in your MyFitnessPal App it is now time to make your meals.
I'm sure you have heard the phrase meal prep used before. Take some time on a Sunday and cook your food for the week. Then measure out the appropriate amounts based on what you have in your app and put them in Tupperware containers. This way when the time comes to eat them, your meals are prepared and ready to eat.
If spending a couple of hours on a Sunday prepping food sounds like a daunting task, you are right. It can be. Combat this fear by starting small. Maybe only prep one of your meals for each day, rather than all of them. Build stamina in the beginning and, over time, you will get to the point where you can prepare for the entire week with ease.
4. Eat Regularly
One of the biggest mistakes most people make is not eating often enough. Undereating is detrimental to your overall nutrition. The body will go into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down in an effort to hang onto calories. These calories get stored as fat as a way to protect itself from not knowing when its next meal will come. This is counterintuitive to what you are ultimately trying to accomplish.
Instead of starving yourself for prolonged periods of time, fuel your body with frequent meals. As a rule of thumb, eat every three hours. This will keep your metabolism running regularly and burning up fuel like a high-performance vehicle.
5. Enjoy Your Après Everything
This may all sound very regimented, and it is. But, it's important to remember to live a little. You've earned your après, now celebrate with your friends. When the weekend comes along and/or you're on your ski trip, order that burger and fries Savor every bite. Throw back a few of those IPAs and don't regret any of that hoppy goodness.
When you create positive habits, like the ones I've mentioned, it's easy to get back on track.
If you strive for perfection, you can attain greatness. Look to be really close to perfect for most of the week. Then when the time comes to celebrate, enjoy it.
Earn it With The Best Après Ski Clothing
Nothing says you've earned it, like our Earn Your Apres ski t-shirt. Available in men's and women's sizes, it's the ultimate t-shirt to remind you to put in work and then bask in the rewards of your labor.