I think I speak for many people when I state that we are all profoundly sick of the confusion and claims of the "next big thing" The magic bullet is finally here! Oh wait, maybe not. Never mind.
What perplexes me personally, is that this "magic bullet" so to speak, already exists right under our noses. If only we had the resolve to acknowledge that perhaps the solution is not what we had in mind. That perhaps we need to look at nutrition completely differently to the norm. Let me confirm to you that we really do need to bin the current understanding. We won't find this magic bullet within the mainstream operative towards good health and rewarding training pursuits.
An example in point and the focus of this post, my client Abi. One who I have had the pleasure of training since April of this year. Starting at 74kg with a height of 5"4', currently training at four times per week. The chief goal in mind centred around Abi achieving her first international gold medal in Karate. This was to be done by improving her stamina for sparring rounds, and teaching Abi some new footwork drills and combinations derived from my own martial arts background in ITF Taekwon-Do. I knew from experience that gaining fresh insight from different disciplines - Mine stemmed from trying my hand at Muay Thai - Can really open up your eyes to different insights and perspectives.
Starting Karate six years ago at the ripe old age of 10, amassing an international medal tally of one silver and four bronzes, there came a point whereby something more had to be found if Abi was to break into the top spot. Having read on the wall of the gym - Where all the personal trainers contacts can be found - That I had the background in martial arts, it seemed sensible to approach a personal trainer to be able to take that much needed step up. I was delighted to help.
Now this is where - as I do with all my clients - I introduce them to the incredible world of consuming a whole food plant based diet. No supplements, no calorie counting, no restrictive behaviour, no silliness. I also make it abundantly clear to everybody that by no means do you have to change your entire diet overnight, nor do I push for people to change what they do not wish to change.
I simply advise where the nutritional pinnacle sits. I explain in order to enhance the individuals informed decision making. I look to help people make their own choices and develop their personal relationship with food, with the correct knowledge of what promotes health and what does not.
Effectively I gently encourage people to venture towards a whole food plant based diet, though only as far as they wish to go. If one does not wish to give up meat that is totally fine by me. Goals absolutely can be achieved with fresh meat and fish in your diet, though I assure you it is not working for your goals. These are the components that work against you. Which is why it is absolutely paramount to understand that it is the overall profile of training, rest and food choices which determines your success and the rate of progress.
'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts'
So is consuming a varied whole food plant based diet the most effective way of achieving success with a solid rate of progression? If you train smart then, I absolutely believe so. I believe it is so good in fact, that weight can drop off healthily without even training. The reason is you'll be omitting all the foods which actually promote weight gain and chronic disease. Good that. I need to digress for a moment here.
Does this proposal contradict the widely accepted norm? Of course it does. Is the current paradigm standing up against rigorously tested, peer reviewed scientific journals counting into the hundreds and thousands? Not really, no. Is this being broadcast publicly throughout the medical, pharmaceutical and meat and diary industries? Those who hold the greatest marketing influence? Absolutely not. This would severely damage their profits. Why on earth would they want to do that?
"If everyone were to adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet, I really believe we could cut health care costs 70 to 80%" - T. Colin Campbell
If nobody eats animal products, meat, dairy and fisheries would suffer enormously.
As a result, chronic western diseases would plummet, slashing health care costs.
As a result, big pharma cannot profit from the myriad of damaging drugs they develop to 'cure' said ailments.
These guys really don't want this to happen. Anyway, time to return to the main topic.
Abi was not only receptive to the information I was happy to provide, she also jumped onto the opportunity. Which I have to confess is not an easy thing to do. Turning your diet upside down is difficult, though in Abi's case, I feel she is an all or nothing kinda gal. It is hugely inspiring I must admit.
Without getting into the nitty gritty too much, we shall fast forward to mid May. Just shy of 6 weeks since our first training session which focused on sparring and pad work drills, foot work and explosive high intensity interval training. She had just arrived back from Sardinia, Italy. For her first international competition since undertaking personal training and adopting a WFPB diet. This was the JKF Goju-Kai International Championships. Which was held on the European stage. Time to hear the updates.
Abi had dropped from 74kg to 63kg in 5 weeks - making her lighter and faster.
Abi had just bagged not one but two gold medals in sparring and patterns respectively - smashing the original goal.
Abi's energy levels had gone skyward - Pushing her beyond her opponents calibre of fitness.
Abi's recovery rate had significantly improved.
Abi's smile became significantly bigger. Very big in fact.
I was absolutely delighted with the results Abi had achieved for herself, though I thought. Lets hear it from Abi.
"Up until a few months ago, I was one of those people who swore that cakes were my livelihood and I would die without meat, but I soon made the decision to change to a plant based diet; thinking of it as a sustainable change of lifestyle rather than a short term diet, so that I wouldn't feel deprived and I could eat what I wanted.
I began experiencing so many positive benefits within the first few days, but I can promise anyone they extend way beyond the course of a week. The first change which I didn't expect was a happier outlook, as I found eating in a way which promoted health and well being naturally made me happier. With significantly boosted energy levels - Which benefited my regular karate training - This allowed me to train at a higher intensity for longer whilst my recovery time improved massively.
Before I noticed for myself, I was told that my hair, my eyes and my skin were glowing, which is due to the detoxifying and nourishing effects of plants. After the first month of changing my diet, whilst I was continuing with the frequency of exercise I was doing beforehand, my muscular definition increased, I began working towards an optimum weight whilst gaining speed, strength and power. All this enabled me to reach my number one goal of winning an international gold medal.
No calorie counting, no guilt after eating certain foods, no restrictions."
The previous diet was fairly typical of your average teenager. Kellogg's cereals with milk, school lunches and pasta dinners like spaghetti bolognese. Chuck in a bag of crisps and viola. A teenager.
So, this is fantastic stuff.
One thing I haven't mentioned which I feel hugely emphasises the power and role of correct nutrition in the body. Not only did Abi's training volume on a week by week basis remain the same, but she only trained in her one to one sessions with me just once per fortnight. This demonstrates how critical a role food plays with our training. For Abi, I knew that training volume wasn't the clincher. It was food choice. This has played a vital role in ensuring Abi the top step of the podium in not one, but two disciplines.
What an amazing change for just over 5 weeks. Whilst I can see that the younger one may be, the more malleable and adaptable they're likely to be. This doesn't mean that the older generation cannot achieve the same 'magic bullet' results. Despite deeper ingrained habits and beliefs. After all, it is fundamentally about change, positive change.