In early 2000s when I did tons of cardio, I felt I could afford to eat crap because of all the exercise I was killing myself with. For lunch on Friday I’d sometimes visit a Asian buffet and do a “Fried Food Friday” and eat yup you guessed…all foods fried. Fried this and fried that. I had no concern about my health because I thought no matter what I ate my workouts were going to cancel it all out, which is bullshit. The types of food I ate at that restaurant started out with fried rice, fried chicken wings, fried noodles, fried shrimps. After that was done, I would go for seconds. It was oh so fun but oh so bad. I definitely would NOT stand to do it these days.
Back then I did a ton of cardio, by way of martial arts. Two days out of the week I trained Filipino Kali, Pencak Silat, and JKD Concepts which occasionally had intense cardio work. However, two to three other days out of the a week was spent on 1-2 hours of cardio specific effort through Muay Thai training and conditioning. Muay Thai is brutal and great at the same time. The level of intensity output was so crazy, that I was literally nauseous before every class knowing full well it was time to die. By the time I had my hands wrapped and I bowed and entered the mat I had gone through my own process of meditation and I was calm and ready for it. The point being, I wasn’t a slouch with exercise. As a matter of fact, I would work myself up so hard that I would feel drained afterwards and that I absolutely and immediately needed to eat to feel better.
Back then I didn’t care about food quality. I drank a lot of diet sodas and occasionally supplemented with a metabolic enhancer/ fat burner capsules and felt nothing was wrong with my diet. I figured exercise was everything and didn’t think about what I was eating. At times I would walk into a Japanese restaurant for a chicken cutlet (chicken katsu) and on top of that add an order of sushi and when combined with the chicken katsu, equated to two meals. My choice of sushi back then was the spicy tuna roll. If it wasn’t Japanese food, then it would be whatever fast food place was available at time after a workout. That place was sometimes the local Burger King. Either way, whether it was Japanese food, which costs more money and significantly fresher and better quality, or if it was just fast and cheap old Burger King, I would go to town consuming all that food right after a workout and get myself super nauseous. So nauseous that I couldn’t lay down. I couldn’t sleep and was so uncomfortable, which made sense because the type of training that I did involved a lot of the things to toughen the body and not just the midsection. So basically getting punished, kicked and stepped on. On top of that the usual circuit training of focus mits, burpees, heavy bag, crunches, shots to the gut, jumping toe touches, standing grappling and redirects, and sparring just to name a few. So if you can imagine, the gut is all twisted, blood has been shunted away from various organs for digestion to support everything else that there was no possible way the body could properly process BK Double Whopper with Cheese with a side of fries and a massive diet soda. Since I didn’t know what my body really needed and being so beat up, I just continued to gobble down all this food and junk in a failed attempt to make me feel better. A lot of times instead, it didn’t help I and never learned. As a result, regardless of how tough my body had become, I never looked like those ripped MMA UFC fighters.
So that was my former self. Caught up in the rat race or trap of not knowing how food quality benefits or how poor food quality damages the overall health and body composition. Now I know better. Despite the occasional long run I partake in, I no longer kill myself in the martial arts. I am living proof that food quality trumps exercise.
What is quality food? Well I can say quality food is NOT fake processed foods. Quality foods are nutrient dense and whole. If the food has sweeteners added to it, I stay away. If the food has whole grains, I stay away. Come on! I’m human and imperfect and I will have some things once in a while. When I do , I accept the consequences of zits, puffy eyes, aching in my body from old injuries. In particular, a repaired shoulder, a previously thrown out back from improper cable rowing, a past twisted knee, and various stupid shit that whacky Bruce Lee wannabes do like punching poured concrete walls. WA-TAH!!
Looking back, if I knew then what I know now about food quality, I probably would’ve seen better results as far as my body composition and my health.
I would have definitely avoided the bad information still prevalent today, which include eat low-fat or non-fat, eat “healthy” whole grains, protein, protein, and more protein, counting calories, and consuming added sweeteners. I would have ignored a lot of bullshit, yet effective, marketing with things like fat burner supplements and replacement shakes. I would eat more healthy fats. I would eat more whole vegetables and fruits. I would moderate my protein. I eat more at home. I would eat till I was satisfied.
By doing so, I would have experienced positive changes much sooner and have suffered less with things like poor skin, acne, migraines, body odor, scalp issues, sluggish energy levels, food cravings, dental issues, and being just plain old fat and any body image issues around all the above things. It seems a whole lifetime of issues that I lived with and dismissed as a normal part of my life and aging. A lifetime of poor health fixed by something so simple. As simple as the four letters in its acronym: “NSNG” (No Sugars, No Grains).
If you are interested in learning what I have about NSNG Lifestyle, a perfect place to start is the book Fitness Confidential (affiliate link) I can’t say enough positive things about the book. So please check it out!
Thanks for reading.