Cohen: Thoughts on Diet & Nutrition

By Josh Cohen
September 21, 2010

ORLANDO -- They may be inspiring and somewhat educational, but all the infomercials we watch on television about fitness and nutrition can make you dizzier than a whirl on this carnival ride.

If you’re awake late at night (like 2 a.m.–6 a.m.) and watch all those advertisements that come on just about any channel, you definitely know what I am talking about.

In between the campaigns about hair transplantation surgery, acne relief and those ridiculous “earn up to $60,000 in a week using this trouble-free, breakthrough strategy,” there are plenty of promotions that sell all kinds of fitness and dietary products.

Yes, many, if not all, of these products and services are helpful to improving your physical health.

But, how does a person effectively interpret all of these messages and utilize them to accomplish their ultimate goals.

Every person you run into at the gym has a different agenda. Some people want to lose weight; others want to be more conditioned so they can play their favorite sports and some want to have the best beach bodies on the planet.

Unlike professional athletes who have spent years training to become the best at their craft, the average person is generally new to the subject and is always seeking the best advice.

Well, although I am not a certified expert, I have talked to several nutritionists and have read countless material to try to determine the best dietary methods.

Here are some important tips I have received from the specialists:

  • Use infomercials as a source of motivation, not proof

  • Just about all of these advertisements show the “before-and-after” photos of people who “allegedly” utilized that specific fitness or nutrition strategy. You may hear, for example, “in 90 days, you can go from being flabby and out-of-shape to looking chiseled and having six-pack abs."

    Well, although it is possible to attain astounding results in 90 days, it’s not likely and if you are a beginner, you almost certainly should expect to spend a much longer period of time if you are looking for such immaculate results.

    Therefore, use the before-and-after photos you see as a way to keep you determined, but don’t necessarily rely on their proposed schemes.

  • Overload on water

  • Don’t even bother with soda, coffee, juice, or any other popular flavored beverage. Drink water with every meal and snack. Drink water when you are bored. Carry water with you everywhere. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated. They say the average person should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. The more the merrier.

    If your goal is to build muscle, milk with whey protein and sometimes creatine is essential as well.

  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day

  • There is a relatively complicated scientific reason to the madness, but nutritional experts suggest that eating five or six smaller, healthier meals a day should be the goal for those trying to lose weight or build muscle.

    It evidently boosts your metabolism and allows you to more efficiently burn calories. Since you will be eating often, you will have greater energy in the gym to perform at a higher level.

  • Develop a love for dry food

  • Most people love, for instance, grilled chicken and the nutritionists I have talked to suggest that grilled chicken is one of the best, most healthy food options to eat. But unfortunately, junk sauces and other compliments can quickly ruin its nutrional value.

    It seems common with most foods we eat. We might cook up a delicious piece of fish or meat, but then we top it with all kinds of cheeses, sauces and other fattening toppings.

    If you can develop an enjoyment for dry food, you will be much better off.

  • Start Slow, Learn Your Body

  • Before immediately starting a rigorous fitness routine or instantly cutting out all of your favorite foods, study physical health and proper nutrition.

    Everyone is genetically unique. As a result, what may work for one person may not work for another. When you first sign up for a gym, talk to the trainers, perfect various exercises and avoid comparing yourself to others that you run into.

After reading through countless nutrition guides, here are some meal options that seem to be very beneficial to your overall health.

Choose one (sometimes two) from each set each day and if the experts are right, you will be in the best shape of your life.

Meal 1:
Egg Whites
Yogurt (low sugar, low fat kind)

Meal 2:
Peanut Butter (I love it on rice cakes)
Seafood Spreads (ex. Smoked Salmon Spread, Lobster Spread)
Tuna (with light mayo)

Meal 3:
Turkey (on whole grain bread)
Grilled Chicken filet with dry veggies
Whole Wheat Pasta (with a light sauce topping)

Meal 4:
Your favorite grilled fish (salmon, tilapia, catfish, sea bass, flounder, etc.)
Your favorite lean beef (round, sirloin, chuck, loin)
Veggie Platter Delight (aka: Salad with light dressing)

Meal 5:
Fruit Salad
Granola Bar (ex. Protein Bar)
Bowl of Peanuts (low sodium kind)

There are plenty of other options, but this was just a sample list to give you some ideas. I hope this helps in your goals to develop greater health.

How you would describe your current nutritional outlook?
How you would describe your current nutritional outlook?
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How often do you currently work out?
How often do you currently work out?
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Which do you think is the most important nutrition tip?
Which do you think is the most important nutrition tip?
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