11th Law of Exercise: Food and Supplements
You are what you eat! Food and supplements are your fuel. The right fuel gives you proper energy, aids recovery, and helps balance brain chemistry.
Even though my job title is Trainer and Coach, I put a lot of time and energy into diet and supplementation. We need energy and enthusiasm to exercise. That energy and enthusiasm is determined by the quality of fuel we choose. The Double Es (as I call them) can make or break your day. When they're strong, we're strong. When they waver, we falter. Your fuel intake is a key component to your success with Power 90® and P90X® (and everything else in life). Healthy, nutritious food provides the energy you need to get through a hectic day. Poor food choices (aka "FOOD PORN") causes napping. Your choice. When you do the right thing, you're sharp, ready, enthusiastic, and willing to take on the day. When you fill your gullet with processed foods and grease, trying to organize a sock drawer feels like climbing Mt. Everest.
Everything you put in your mouth—all the food, snacks, liquids, supplements, and even drugs (prescription or otherwise)—affects your quality of life. Excess quantities of low-quality food and drink can and will lead to weight gain, excess fat stores, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even things like arthritis, osteoporosis, and Parkinson's disease. Recent research shows that this is only a partial list. A poor diet will affect mood, energy, and strength, and destroy healthy sleep patterns (see Law #8: Sleep [and Stress]). Recent studies have also shown that a poor diet leading to extra pounds increases your risk of cancer of the breast, prostate, colon, esophagus, ovaries, uterus, kidneys, and possibly more.
Eating high-quality foods, combined with proper supplementation, greatly reduces the risk and the possibility of developing and/or dying from such health problems. High-quality foods and supplements assist in lowering fat stores, losing weight, increasing energy, recovering from workouts, and maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Supplementation and eating well also reduce bouts of depression, sadness, and anxiety while promoting psychological well-being. The Power 90 and P90X diet plans show you what kinds of foods to eat and when to eat them. In the test groups I witnessed firsthand the difference between folks who ate well and took their supplements and those who didn't.
I take my supplements every day. My belief is that going without them is like going without water. They supply us with the nutrients required for living a healthy lifestyle. The vitamins and minerals in supplements work together with food to supply us with the energy we need to do a six-day-a-week program like Power 90 and P90X. Supplements are NOT drugs. A prescribed drug is taken when your body and/or mind is no longer capable of functioning normally. Supplements are taken to subtly assist the mind and body to reach beyond everyday activities.
When it comes to food, I have never been a calorie counter. I have enough things to think about, and keeping track of calories is not one of them. I'm equally uninterested in percentages, formulas, and "weird" combinations of different foods to trick the body into losing weight for a short period of time. This battle of overeating, eating garbage pretending to be food, and choosing dangerous ways to lose weight is a nightmare. If you really care about your health, you must clean up your diet. If you consume high-quality fuel, your mind and body run smoothly. Low-fat chocolate cake is NOT a healthy choice. Fat-free potato chips aren't healthy either. Bacon, for example, is not the best way to start your day. This stuff is FOOD PORN.
Don't get caught up in all the fad diets and weight loss pills. Long-term success doesn't happen with Atkins, Slim-Fast, or the Coconut Diet. It happens when you consistently eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Showing up for six workouts a week requires great discipline. It's also important to show restraint and discipline in your choices regarding food and supplementation. Our bodies don't run on exercise, they run on the fuel we put in our mouth. You cannot substitute good exercise for a bad diet. Good diet and exercise have to happen at the same time. If you bring the same level of consistency and discipline to your daily fuel intake as you do to your workouts, you'll greatly reduce a lifetime of health risks, improve your overall quality of life, and see much greater physical change in a shorter period of time.