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8 Food Rules to Help You Maximize Your Physical and Mental Performance

So if you’ve been following any of my past blogs, you’ve now have learned about my morning and evening routines. (If you haven’t check it out yet, you can learn my morning routine here and my evening routine here.) When someone is asking me about those routines, more often than not, the follow up questions are, “What’s your diet” or “What’s your workout routine?” Therefore, I figure I’d share my philosophies here.

**FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m not a dietitian, a doctor, personal trainer, etc. Check with your physician before following anything I’m going to share below! Boom, you’ve been disclosed 😊

Before I go into what my eating rules are, let’s start with how it all started: I used to not care or pay attention to what I ate. Growing up as a competitive swimmer that worked out 6 days per week and averaged 5-6 hours per day of 10,000 meters in the pool with 1 hour of dryland training, you had one rule for food: NEVER STOP EATING. Since our bodies would burn up 4-6000 calories per day at minimum, we HAD to consume 6-10,000 calories per day.

Here’s an example meal: after a 3.5 hour Saturday morning practice, I may go to Subway to eat 2 foot-long sub sandwiches, a bag of chips, and a large soda. TWO HOURS LATER, I’D BE HUNGRY AGAIN.

Eventually I stopped competitive swimming. Eating that much stopped too but I would still eat a lot with no mindfulness on diet or nutrition. Suddenly I was 25 years old and I remember looking in the mirror – I was not happy with what I saw. I was working out 6 days/week for 1.5 hours with a mixture of weights and cardio so naturally I was confused on I didn’t look the way I wanted. At the staggering height of 5’8, I weighed 170-175 pounds with about 12-15% body fat. Not necessarily overweight, but not what I was used to.

I started researching online and it became quite obvious: I had a terrible diet. I was so focused on the workouts that I never realized the impact of food. My new goal now was to lose weight and to lower my body fat to get back to that “high school skinny.” My wife and I started tweaking what we ate and I started tweaking my workouts. As a result, we both lost weight pretty quickly and felt better after! We’ve made some modifications since then but now we have a sustainable set of rules that we follow that helps guide our eating decisions. Today, I usually weigh in around 160-162 pounds and run between 7-8% body fat year round.

PHILOSOPHY OF “DIET” VS. “LIFESTYLE”

To start with the break-down, the first to do is distinguish my philosophy on food. The way I eat now is a LIFESTYLE and NOT a DIET. When people “diet,” it means they are “crash-coursing” some sort of way of eating that may lead to fast results but is not usually sustainable and almost always ends up the weight coming back after they stop. The rules I’ve created are about a lifestyle and making sure it is sustainable for the long-run.

Also, I do stick by these rules pretty consistently and follow them 95% of the time. Although I’m not perfect, the consistency allows the rules to take over and drive results.

GOALS OF EATING

My goals have also changed and it is important to notate that the rules I share may not align with you. When you eat an intentionally clean diet, you end up with very different results. My goals of eating are:

  • Maximize my physical energy
  • Maximize my mental clarity
  • FEEL better
  • Stay lean and in shape
  • Keep a low body fat year-round

As a result of my goals, this ultimately has led to a lifestyle of eating designed for a high-performance person. Food is fuel for your body and mind. If you feed it poor fuel, your results are impacted. You feed your body and mind high performance fuel, it’ll help give you physical energy and mental clarity to maximize your performance. Would you rather fuel your body with low quality dirty gasoline or rocket fuel? So let’s get into rules to maximize your performance…

RULE FOR EATING

  1. 6 Meals Per Day: To keep my metabolism high, I eat 6 smaller meals per day. This helps fuel the body and keeps it burning the fuel throughout the day. (Eating only 1-2 massive meals per day can cause your body to store food as fat as it may go into starvation/survival mode.)
  2. Minimal Sugar and Sodium: This is specific to processed sugar and sodium.
  3. Minimal Processed Foods: Outside of certain types of protein bars, shopping on the perimeter of grocery stores because a quick way to reduce the amount of processed foods you eat with unnecessary chemicals and preservatives.
  4. Minimal Carbs: Minimal carbs and any carbs are complex carbs such as whole grains, quinoa, or sweet potatoes.
  5. Minimal Alcohol: I typically drink zero alcohol throughout the week and very few on weekends even if I do drink.
  6. No foods with >5 Ingredients: This is similar to number 3, but it helps reduce the amount of chemicals and preservatives you ingest that can lead to gut issues and other problems.
  7. High protein and vegetables: The meals are consisted of a ton of proteins and vegetables.
  8. 1 Cheat Meal Per Week: One massive meal with no rules to help stave off cravings. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see some in my stories! (You can follow me here)  Plus it’s fun!

So as you can tell by the above, you end up eating lots of fresh foods and learn to check all labels before you purchase them. Also, I typically don’t measure out anything nor do I track macros, amount of calories, etc. as my goals are maximizing my performance.

Here’s a sample daily plan of eating:

  • Meal #1: Protein shake mixed with almond milk and coffee.
  • Meal #2: Approximately 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with a handful of frozen blueberries.
  • Meal #3: Approximately 1 cup of plain cottage cheese with a handful of frozen blueberries.
  • Meal #4: 2 large handfuls of plain raw carrots.
  • Meal #5: Protein shake.
  • Meal #6: Quinoa stir-fry with mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, and tofu. Approximately 2-3 servings.

Although my lifestyle of eating may not match up with yours, this works for me. By following these simple rules, it has helped fuel me with energy throughout the day, give me massive mental clarity (as my body and brain is not fighting to process junk preservatives and chemicals), and has helped me maximize my potential. Hopefully this article inspires you to make some positive changes to create some lifestyle food rules to help you change your life like it did mine. If you liked this article, feel free to like and share! Also, grab my free Cheat Sheet on 4 Steps to My Proven B2B Sales Process to Earn 6-Figures+ Annually!

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