View Food as Fuel – Fernando’s Secrets of Success

by Fernando Paredes

You’ve heard the saying that some people ”eat to live OR live to eat”, right? Well, which one best describes YOU? Your answer will say a lot about your personal relationship with food. Looking to food as a source of comfort and stress-relief is very different from viewing food as fuel.

Now, who doesn’t love to eat? I know I do. While we all enjoy tasty food, successful trainees predominantly view food as fuel. They seek the protein, carbs and fats that will fuel their body and support their health, fitness, performance and progress. They think in those terms FIRST and taste is secondary.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you give a $500,000 dollar high performance sports car dirty, low-grade fuel?
  • Would you give a beautiful newborn baby low-quality junk food during it’s first years of life?

Of course not! Why? In both these cases, you place a high value on giving each the right things to ensure their respective success. A simple concept to understand, however, one that is very difficult to apply for most people when it comes to their eating habits.

Here’s the key point you have to understand: unless you have the right perspective of the food you eat, none of the various diets, nutritional programs, formulas and supplements will ever make any sense. Once you develop the ability to simply view food as fuel, everything else becomes easy. And all successful trainees know this, which is why they get results with their food programs. How can you develop this ability? First, we need to get back to the basics.

The Basics:

Proper Digestion, Absorption and Elimination

I cannot overemphasize enough the importance of having proper digestion, absorption and elimination. All the foods you eat get broken down into proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, water and phytonutrients to be absorbed and used as fuel. And then the body eliminates any by-products and harmful toxins from your system. If your body cannot properly digest and absorb the key nutrients it needs from the foods you eat, it doesn’t matter which fancy diet or supplement you use. Your success will always be limited.

These fundamental elements are critical to your nutritional success. Even in healthy people the anatomical differences of our internal organs can change the ability and efficiency of the digestive system.[1] Many people have such a severely distressed digestive system it can barely process the foods they eat. Ever notice how many people use antacids and laxatives to help relieve their poor digestion? Successful trainees that have problems in this area are usually proactive about it. Instead of taking potentially harmful antacid drugs and laxatives after the fact, they take natural supplements like digestive enzymes, fiber and probiotics to complement, fortify and aid their digestive system. Fernando - Digestive Physiology - man

Eating for Health, Fitness and Performance

What is a healthy eating plan? A simple answer would be any eating plan that supports, builds and maintains good health, fitness, fat loss, muscle building and performance. What type of eating plan do successful trainees follow? Do they use:

  • High fat or low fat?
  • High carb or low carb?
  • High protein or low protein?
  • Vegetarian foods or meat?
  • One hundred percent organic foods or non-organic foods?
  • Three large meals a day or six smaller meals a day plan?
  • Various nutritional supplements or no supplements at all?

The answer is a resounding YES to all of the above. They all can be healthy! Let me explain. There is no one eating plan for everyone. Each person’s eating plan will differ depending on each person’s individual physiology, metabolism, digestion, absorption, elimination, fitness level, needs and goals. Based on their individual physiological needs some people will need high carbs, while others don’t. Some will need high fat, others won’t. Some will need to use multiple types of nutritional supplements, others won’t. And so on. [2]

Which Fuel Mix Is Right For You?Fernando Fuel Mix

So let’s start with the big “three” that are always surrounded by the most confusion: carbohydrate, protein and fat intake. Which ratios are best? Depends on your body’s oxidative rate. Knowing if you are a slow or fast oxidizer will determine how much carbs, protein and fat you will need. And which food combinations your body will thrive best on.

For example:

  • Slow oxidizers need: low-protein, low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets to be healthy and fit.
  • Fast oxidizers need: high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets to be healthy and fit.
  • Mixed oxidizers need: relatively equal parts of protein, fat and carbohydrates to be healthy and fit.

While your genetics mostly determines your oxidative rate, you don’t need to undergo genetic testing to figure this out. There are many nutritional tests/questionnaires that will give you a good idea of where you stand. The “Metabolic Type Self-Test” is one of the best I’ve found.[3]

What Really Is “Healthy” Eating

for Fitness and Performance?

Here’s the secret: as long as you eat according to your physiological needs, it will automatically be healthy for you. Conversely, what is healthy for you could be very UN-healthy for someone else.[4] This is the real reason why you have so many different people seeing results despite the fact they eat in a variety of different ways. Yes. There is no single “right” healthy way of eating for maximum fitness and performance. They all can be right, if it’s right for your particular body.

What YOU Need to Do

So please do NOT be fooled by all the fancy, yet nutritionally deficient fad-diets and “super” supplements promising you the world. Take a lesson from successful trainees that achieve consistent results. Examine your relationship with food. Place a high value on your body, nourish it and view food as fuel. Pay attention to your digestion and elimination. Figure out which food combinations your individual physiology will thrive on and resume your eating plan with a better mindset that will lead you to new levels of health, fitness and performance!

Footnotes / References:

[1] Roger Williams, PhD, “Biochemical Individuality”, Chapter 2, p.19, Anatomical Variations-Significance

[2] Roger Williams, PhD, “Biochemical Individuality”, Chapter 10, p.153, Individuality in Nutrition

[3] William L. Wolcott and Trish Fahey, “The Metabolic Typing Diet”, Chapter 6, p.129, Identifying your Metabolic Type

[4] William L. Wolcott and Trish Fahey, “The Metabolic Typing Diet”, Chapter 1, p.1, One Man’s Food is Another’s Poison

Fernando Paredes, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FMS2 a twenty-year veteran of the fitness industry, is a sought after fitness and performance expert in the Bucks/Philadelphia region. He has been featured in various media: Comcast Network’s “Your Morning” show, “It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle”, WFMZ Channel 69 News, CBS3/CW Philly and The Philadelphia Inquirer because of his innovative Core-to-Strength Training™ approach. Fernando has gained the reputation as the expert other trainers turn to for advice and the “go-to” source for anyone interested in attaining lasting results and achieving their true potential. For more information visit his website at www.fusionfitnessstudio.net.

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