A good friend of mine is training hard for some upcoming grappling tournaments. While in overall very good condition, he asked my advice for tweaking his diet. Below is my list of recommendations. You could call it the Fit Monkey Diet; this is pretty much what I live (and thrive) by:
- Keep a detailed food log. Write down everything you eat or drink that contains calories. It’s also a good idea to note how you feel after a meal, i.e. “ate a salad; feel energized” or “ate a pizza, feel sluggish.”
- Keep a training journal. This doesn’t have to be super specific. Just write something down to get an idea of what you did and how you felt. Examples: “Hindu stuff and KB Clean & Presses/Swings. Moderate intensity. Worked up a good sweat.” “Practiced BJJ. Worked lots of armbars and did some light rolling. Felt tired after but not too tired.”
- Cut back or eliminate simple carbs (pasta, white rice).
- Eat lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Be sure to get plenty of dark, leafy greens.
- Try to go as plant-based as possible. Avoid dairy. If eating meat, the best choice is seafood, followed by poultry. Stay away from pork and red meat.
- Give up sports and energy drinks; too much sugar and caffeine. Switch to water, coconut water, or green tea.
- Eliminate or reduce coffee consumption. Too much caffeine overtaxes the adrenal glands and boosts cortisol levels. Switch to tea, which has been shown to provide more sustained energy for athletes than coffee. Green tea has a proven fat-burning effect, and both black and green teas can boost the body’s immune system.
- Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 servings a day. A serving is: 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of liquor.
- Supplement with smoothies when needed. I suggest the Fit Monkey Smoothie before and after hard training sessions.