Why eating healthy isn't enough.

For many years I have been struggling to reach a target weight/fat percentage. I have been on every “diet", you name it!

I do eat significantly healthy, take supplements and make sure that I pack my meals with as much greens, yellows, reds and purple as possible to benefit from its nutritional values. In 2015, I decided to go paleo after I came back from Battle of the East, and I followed the paleo meal plan for about a month. I dropped significantly in fat kilos but my training wasn’t as efficient as it used to be. The amount of carbs was lower than usual, I was on almost 1,200-1,500 calories sometimes less. I wasn’t performing at my best, not lifting as much as I used to.

Eggs, spinach, avocado.. Basically what I was eating for breakfast everyday.  

Eggs, spinach, avocado.. Basically what I was eating for breakfast everyday.  

 

Fast forward one year later, I joined Innerfight’s classes and RedZone. Training increased by double and felt like my body was beat. I would either sleep too much or not sleep at all. I supplemented with Vitamin C post workout, ZMA and Vitamin D as well as post workout protein shake.

 

As my weight yo-yo’d and so did my training volumes, I was still oblivious as to what I should follow. I downloaded RP Strength and followed for a month and there was still a plateau in my weight and training progress. I traveled to London to meet with Liam Holmes, performance nutritionist to do a clinical test and detailed diagnosis of what was deficient in my system and why it has been tough for me to reach a target weight.

 

I arrived back in Dubai patiently waiting for my results and spoke to a local nutritionist that can also partner with Liam in London to sort out a meal and supplement plan for me. Lulu Al Armali, local nutritionist in Transform gym, Dubai, put me on Keto for about two weeks. As much as it was effective, my training was horrific and I had no energy by the end of the day. After the results came and I was put on a carb cycling diet, things started to kick off. My results were the following:

Results overview.  

Results overview.  

 

  1. Severe deficiency in B-Vitamins (even though I was taking them every night)
  2. Moderate need for antioxidants, magnesium and zinc. (I was also taking)
  3. Imbalanced gut health.
  4. Block in carbohydrate metabolism.

 

Due to my poor gut health, my body was not processing any vitamins and nutrients that I was putting in my body, hence, weight gain and ill recovery post workout. Now for all of you that are struggling with your weight whether it’s to lose it or gain, here’s some advice:

 

  1. Get tested: blood tests and urine tests will help massively to find what is holding you back from reaching your target, even in your training performance. (check out: http://www.phnutrition.co.uk/
  2. Take your results to a clinical nutritionist or performance nutritionist that can help you assess your results and come up with a meal and supplement plan. (see Lulu Alarmali: http://www.transform.ae/team/lulu-alarmali/)
  3. Think long term: short term diets they will work for you for a few weeks or maybe a month or two, but we all have stubborn fat that we want to get rid of.
  4. Carbs are good for you! Carb cycling was scary for me to start with, having 1 1/2 cup of rice in a meal was pretty heavy but losing 3% body fat in two weeks (with weight still sitting at 66kg) was encouraging.
  5.   Keep it SIMPLE! Avoid complicating your diet by weighing everything, counting calories, and having various types of foods in your meal. Follow a simple diet plan that you can follow even when you’re out. And don’t eat the same meals every day for a week, boredom will effect your motive to keep going!
  6. Scales don’t count! As much as it hurts me to still see the scale at 66kg for the passed month, I have lost 3.5% body fat and still going. When your body is still adjusting to changes don’t obsess over the number on the scale, rather take notice of how your body is changing and what the number is on fat percentage.

Eating healthy is very essential when it comes to changing your lifestyle for the better, but it isn’t enough when you are not sure of what your body really needs. 

My rest and recovery..

So many of you have asked me about how I train and recover.. I decided to post about this today considering that I am extremely sore and resting! What works for me might not work for you… Every body is different, every one recovers differently.. You should just test what works with you..

  1. PurePharma supplements

My number 1 source of recovery has to be Omega 3. I do take a good amount of omega’s in my foods but I do need extra because I train so many hours in the day and put a great deal of stress on my muscles. PurePharma Omega 3 is easy to get in any Crossfit box in the UAE. I take 3 a day but if I need a little extra dosage I take 3 more.

2. CryoHealth

I have been using CryoHealth for over a year now, whenever I am feeling beat up, sore and tired, I pass by CryoHealth (Emirates Towers or Dubai Ladies Club) to freeze myself for 3 minutes. It helps boost your immune response, eases chronic pain, heals nerve damage, recovers muscle soreness and even improve sporting performance.

3. DISC: Diversified Integrated Sports Clinic

I visit Dr. Tamara and Nermeen every month to get my body adjusted, massaged and needled. With heavy lifting, sudden movement in Crossfit, and moving around in my sleep, every one is in need of an adjustment with a chiropractor. It is important even for people that do not train in Crossfit to see a chiropractor because we all have bad habits of slouching or sitting in an awkward position which consequently displaces our bones and causes cramps and muscle sprains.

And finally….. my favorite!

4. ROMWOD

RomWod is just a new fancy word for Yoga within the Crossfit community, everybody is doing it! We all forget to stretch, breathe while stretch and how long to stretch for. RomWod is a website you can subscribe to and get access to demonstrating videos of stretches for any parts of the body. You can choose to warm up, recover or increase mobility for certain areas and videos can start from 10 minutes up to an hour.

Because I train up to 5-6 times a week, if on my rest day I feel great I would do a recovery workout, maybe light gymnastics moving around the gym, stretching, a row or a swim. If however, I am extremely sore and beat up I would just do RomWod and get enough lazy couch time as possible!

Also please check out:

How anti-inflammatory foods help you recover faster

Top 10 foods that reduce muscle soreness

Another reason why I had to sign up for Nourishing Dubai was to help me recover better, faster and better my performance.

Stay fit, healthy and blessed x