I get asked questions like this all the time:
“How many calories do you eat in a day?”
“Do you eat low carb?”
“How many grams of protein do you eat?”
To which the answer to these, in order, are: “No clue”, ‘nope, love carbs”, “probably right around what I need”
This post came about because I was driving into the office/gym the other day and it dawned on me that I drive almost always focused on what’s a little ways up ahead, not on the car directly in front of me. I probably developed this habit because I’ve only ever owned manual transmission cars and when you’re in city traffic, you learn this much valuable skill so as to not burn the hell out of your clutch as well as your left leg. But enough about cars. Although I’d actually really enjoy going on and on about that topic!
So this got me to thinking that I kind of operate on a nutrition and fitness level in a very similar manner. So the rest of this post will be comparing cars to nutrition and fitness.
Now I get the “how many calories do you eat” more often (far and away) than any other personal question about my eating habits. And I’m being 100% honest in telling people that I have no idea. I don’t track on an app. I don’t weigh or measure. I simply eat mostly minimally processed, whole foods, start to eat when I’m kinda hungry, and stop when I’m satisfied. Well…. most of the time anyways. I’m not perfect by any means, after all. But in doing this I’ve basically been between 165 and 175 lbs since I was 18 years old. And I still eat pizza and ice cream and all sorts of tasty shit like that. I just don’t do it all that often. I don’t think I can give you a “I eat well 90% of the time….” type of answer here, but just know that it’s mostly veggies, lean meats, complex carbs, fruit, and a bit of dairy. I’m not cut up by any means and eating this way won’t get me there. For that you have to dial it in. But I’m at a healthy weight, I’m active, and I enjoy myself. That’s really all I want anyways. Screw a six pack, man. So this is like my car in that I put in the required 93 octane, get regular oil changes, and pretty much leave it at that. Yeah sure, I floor it occasionally to see how quickly I can get to 60, but in general I take good care of it and it runs great. I don’t fuss over the little things about it. Except tires. Good tires are the most important addition you can make to your car IMO.
To address the “low carb” and “grams of protein” questions I get, I think it will be best to put them into one here. As for the carb thing, I probably do a mini version of carb cycling…. but not really intentionally or to any strong degree. I just know that if I’m working out that day I’ll include more carbs than if I’m not training or working out. I couldn’t tell you by how much, I just usually swap in veggies where rice might have been or something like that. But I do love carbs! As for how many grams I get? Again, no clue. Training days it’s maybe 200-250 or so? Off days maybe 125 ish? I just know I have plenty of energy and feel good.
For the protein question, I suppose this one has some merit as it’s critical to maintaining and building muscle mass (among other things). Go to a gym and you’ll likely leave feeling like that’s all you should be eating based on the conversations of the trainers and patrons there. Obviously that isn’t the truth and how much you should be taking in is variable based on several factors. I won’t get too deep into it, but I typically have my clients consuming a minimum of 1.2 grams/kg body weight. For my highly active and resistance training clients I’m probably bumping them straight to 2 grams per kilo. That’s just slightly less than 1 gram per pound of body weight. Now as for me, I just make sure that each meal/snack I have has 20-40 grams of protein in it. I can look at a dish/meal/snack and guesstimate close enough after doing it all these years. So therefore if I’m eating 4x/day, then I’m probably getting anywhere from 120-160 grams per day. Although my guess is I’m closer to the higher end of that range most days. And if you take my weight of 172 lbs, that means that 2 grams per kilo would be 156 grams per day. Therefore my answer of “probably right around what I need” is pretty accurate. I’ll compare this to how I fill my cars fuel tank. You see, I’m one of those guys who knows that I have 27 miles left once the low fuel light comes on. And it’s often I use some of those 27 miles. So when I’m fueling up, I like to play the guessing game to see how close I can get to the final gallons added. I know, I know…. not normal. But anyways, I know I have a 14 gallon tank of which roughly 13.8 gallons are useable. Furthest I’ve ever taken her was 13.5 gallons added which means that if I’m averaging 23 MPG, then I had just under 7 miles remaining.
Wow I really got off on a tangent there didn’t I? I was going to delete it, but what the hell, I’ll just leave it there for you guys to see where my mind wonders while I’m typing these things. So that’s all for today’s post with the exception of this shameless plug:
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