Every health and fitness program needs to be supported by sound advice on nutrition.

Even if you work out regularly, you will never achieve a good level of health and fitness unless you nourish your body with the nutrients it needs to look after it and maintain energy levels. Applying the ins and outs of good nutrition shouldn’t dominate your life. It should enable you to take pleasure in what you eat. 

Components of a healthy diet


The truth of the matter is we as Americans are a very unhealthy people. Our fast paced life has created demand for convenience and sedentary life has created a very unhealthy scenario for us as whole. The typical American consumes a diet that consists of highly processed foods that contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, bleached flour, sugar, and salt. These items have an adverse affect on our body’s chemistry.


The modern western diet is very high in foods that have I high GI (glycemic index) rating. Items such as potatoes, white rice, most refined breads, cereals, cookies and sugary foods etc. all have a high GI rating, this means they provide quick release energy to the body. This sudden rush causes the body to produce large amounts of insulin to utilize and transport the sugar with in the body. The energy peak is short lived and as soon as it subsides the appetite is stimulated and the body craves more energy. Quick release energy is what it will crave, which means reaching for another high glycemic food. This promotes a cycle of energy peaks and troughs fueled by high glycemic snacking. In order to avoid this cycle of troughs and peaks in your blood sugar, eat frequently, eat as many low glycemic alkaline foods as possible, and avoid high glycemic and acid forming foods.

Glycemic Food Categories


The debate over the need for supplements in the diet continues. Some Dieticians say that most people can get what the nutrients from a healthy balanced diet- and this should be your intention, and I certainly don’t believe in a magic pill. Taking supplements should never be your excuse for a poor diet. However life today is faster and more stressful than ever and this can and is taking its toll on our bodies. It can also make it harder to control food intake and eating choices, and the quality of our diet tends to worsen as a result.

People also eat more mass produced food than ever, which is grown on depleted ground that because of demand has no time to replenish its nutrients. So you could argue that our food is less nutritious.

So our body needs extra help and Healthy shakes and bars are great way to fill the voids in your diet. Meal replacement meals are not better than “real food” per say, but they are a convenient way to get a quick nutritious meal with minimal calories, the very opposite of quick convenient fast food filled with empty calories. Stocking your home and work with healthy convenient alternatives like bars and shakes will limit your bad choices and help keep your energy levels up and cravings down.

 Avoid Going to Extremes

Nothing extreme works for long, so when we are looking for a lifetime of health, which you should be, don’t commit yourself to an extremely strict diet or exercise routine i.e. eating chicken and rice every night and working out for two hours everyday, you will be just setting yourself up for failure. You should adopt healthy habits that you can maintain for a lifetime, like walking everyday for 30 min and strength training2-3x/week. Small 100-200 calorie improvements will make a larger impact on your health in the long run then a strict diet for a month that you will eventually quit totally, be demoralized and go back to your old eating habits or worse.

Plan your week, be organized, and have a routine

From the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed, you should have a plan or a routine. When Starting a fitness program you shouldn’t expect to get any different results by going about your life the very same way except for going to the gym, it’s a start, but you are asking too much of the exercise gods, Planning and organizing your week will make or break your program. Nothing will force you into making bad choices faster than getting overwhelmed.  I hear it all the time, You wake up late so you couldn’t eat breakfast and you forgot you tennis shoes so you can’t go to the gym, and you don’t have anything in the fridge for dinner so you have to go out to eat etc… PLAN YOUR WEEK! Take Sunday or whatever day you have a bit of time for yourself and sit down and think about the upcoming week, what steps can you take today to make your week go smoothly. Go to the grocery store, maybe even pre-prepare some meals. There are many reasonable services popping up all over the place to facilitate you in this area. One company my clients use is THE DINNER A’FARE. This service like most requires only 2 hours out of your day once or twice a month to prepare fresh meals for the entire month so all you do is come home and do a very easy cooking job.

Minimize the damage

You’re in it for the long-haul, not a quick fix, so don’t get all upset when you have a
weak moment. If you are at a barbecue and everyone is eating hamburgers and fries for lunch, you don’t have to be that person with a tofu burger and wheat grass shot. Have a burger, but leave out the coke and fries, and don’t beat your self up about it, just pick it back up for dinner with something healthy. The worst thing you can do is say to yourself, I have already blown it, I might as well go home and eat pizza for dinner. Minimizing the damage at every meal makes a big difference at the end of the day, so just do your best in every situation, and that’s all you can ask from yourself.











Mark Haas, NCSA-CPT, Founder