When it comes to nutrition and diet, calories can be a good rule of thumb to make sure your portion sizes stay in check, but they aren’t the full story. They're also hard to measure accurately. A large boiled egg is expected to be 50 calories, but it depends on whether the chicken was free-range, organic, corn-fed, battery, and so on. In theory you could get your 2,000 calories a day in chocolate, but your body wouldn't thank you for it. It's the quality of the food you eat that matters.
Let's talk about fat. Fat has received a lot of bad press over the past 20 years, but the tide is starting to turn. We need fats to a degree, after all. They help our bodies to function, lubricate our joints, regulate our hormones and make up a good percentage of our brain. Picking quality fats is vital, though – rather than hitting the fast food, go for avocados, olive oil, nuts, butter and oily fish. Stick to the ‘rule of thumb’: a portion of fat should be the size of your thumb.
Protein is also essential, but you don't always need protein shakes to get your share. It depends on your goals. When you work out, your muscles develop tiny micro-tears, which help them to grow bigger and stronger. That's where protein comes in, helping your body to repair and develop, so you can get results or put on muscle mass. While beef, chicken and fish are all good sources, there are plenty of veggie options, including dark green vegetables like spinach or broccoli, as well as lentils, quinoa and seeds.
With the best will in the world, it’s virtually impossible to get all of your recommended daily nutrients from food alone. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a study in 2006, which showed that, out of 70 subjects, all actively trying to eat a healthy diet, not one achieved the minimum recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals. Supplements can step in here to bridge the gap and give your body what it needs. If you're stressed, sleeping poorly, injured or just wanting to exercise, we recommend the following products:
USANA Essentials range.
Rated Gold 5* in the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements, USANA supplements are used by elite athletes worldwide. Their flagship products are the Mega Antioxidant and Chelated Mineral complexes, used to combat stress and inflammation at the cellular level. Click here to take the USANA health questionnaire and work out the best combination of supplements to help you - and then to the Victory Usana shop to set up an account and get a massive discount on the usual prices.
Get your 5-a-day in one fell scoop with this powerful mix of powdered green vegetables. Packed with grasses, berries and digestive enzymes, it goes really well with apple juice for a morning pick-me-up. Lean Greens give you more energy, less bloating, improved digestion and reduced sugar cravings. Win!
Created by Matt Lovell, nutritionist to England Rugby and England Football, R5 Aminos can help you recover after exercise and improve your sleep – a vital factor in stress control. We recommend mixing a scoop of R5 Aminos with Lean Greens; weirdly, the unusual flavours cancel each other out.