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Gemma Atkinson: Why You Can’t Out-Train a Bad Diet

Can you really out-train a bad diet?  

This topic came up in a live Instagram chat between Gemma Atkinson and Ultimate Performance personal trainer Elliott Upton. 

Here Elliott shares exactly why nourishing your body with the right food is so important to getting results if you want to look your best, feel your best, and perform your best. 

We have also added some simple but effective actions that will help you to take control of your diet which are inspired by our comprehensive book ‘Body Transformation Meal Plan Design’. 

GEMMA:  New mums will message me and say, ‘oh I’m training really, really hard, but I’m not seeing any results.’  

It comes down to diet – you can’t out-train a bad diet. That’s what we touched on in the last chat that the foods that you choose to fuel your body are either going to do that – fuel it, or poison it. 

I was saying to you this morning, I had a large stuffed crust last night. I woke up and I was like, ‘oh gosh, I’m aware I had that pizza last night.’  

I’m not going to remove it from my diet because I enjoy pizza, but I’m aware of how I felt this morning would be how I felt every morning, if I ate that way every night. 

ELLIOTT: If you’re eating inflammatory foods, if you’re eating foods that are essentially poisons, like you mentioned, your body is not going to feel the way it wants – nevermind look the way it wants to, or perform. Your emotional state is going to be affected by the foods you put into your body. 

The sh*t that is going on in the world right now, we need to be doing everything we can to try and manage our emotional state, and that’s not detached from the diet.  

You know, we all know, how we feel after we’ve cheated. We feel sluggish. We feel slow. We, to some degree, feel guilty. That is a more psychological thing of, ‘oh I knew this was bad, now I’m feeling down for it.’  

But there are also neuro-transmitters – the chemical messengers that tell you whether to feel happy, whether to feel sad, whether you’re depressed, whether you’re anxious, whether you’re motivated – these come from the stomach.  

So, if you’re eating right, you can make them work for you rather than against you. But the problem is during a negative situation, the majority of us turn to foods that we think are going to make us feel better.  

But in fact, from a physiological point of view, they make us worse.

The 5 hallmarks of a great diet  

There is no universal ‘best diet’. There is, however, the best diet for you. 

Most diets will work and do work, to a degree.  

But the best diet for you is always going to be the one that best fits your lifestyle, your goals and your tastes. 

While every client at Ultimate Performance will have a diet that is unique to them, there are five common components that they all share.  

1. High in Protein 

Every meal should be built around a quality source of protein. It helps to repair, rebuild and maintain muscle tissue, which not only improves body composition (the way your body looks) but also increases metabolic rate. It is also satiating, so helps keep you fuller for longer, and the better you can control hunger, the more sustainable your diet will be.  

2. Rich in a variety of vegetables  

A variety of vegetables helps meet your vitamin and mineral needs, while also helping the detoxification process, suppressing inflammation and aiding healthy digestion. 

Vegetables are also the ideal food for dieting – they are big in physical volume but low in energy density, meaning you can eat plenty to fill you up without the calorie count climbing to high. 

3. A mix of healthy fats  

Fat is essential for health and should be the cornerstone of any body transformation diet. 

Fat is a great source of energy, and can slow down digestion and suppress hunger between meals. 

However, fat intake should be carefully monitored, as each gram of fat contains more than double the calories (9 calories) than protein or carbs (4 calories) so it can be easy to overeat. 

4. Healthier and well-timed carbohydrates 

Like fats, carbs should not be feared. Healthy, non-refined carb sources can offer a host of benefits as part of a balanced diet. 

They can boost performance and strength, and  aid recovery from your workouts, improve thyroid function, as well as help you sleep better. 

We find from experience with tens of thousands of clients over the past decade that carbs are best eaten post-workout (when your body is most likely to use the glucose properly and refuel the muscle) and in the last meal of the day, which can aid with relaxation and improved sleep. 

5. Calorie-controlled  

Calories count, there’s no getting around it. So whatever diet best suits your lifestyle and goals, to lose weight comes down to how effectively you can control your calorie intake. 

It’s important to reiterate that not all calories are created equally. 1,000 calories from steak and vegetables won’t have the same effect on the body, blood sugar and appetite levels, as 1,000 from pizza, cake and chocolates. 

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