Brent Fikowski – 2nd Fittest in the World

What does it take to fuel Brent Fikowski in training and competition? 

Brent’s nutrition over the last two years, to be honest, has not changed dramatically. Brent has remained very consistent in his daily routine and knows how to fuel his body to support the training he’s done. He does not know his macros or how many calories in a day he consumes unless I tell him.

It is all about eating the right food at the right time of the day.  I have found this has really helped with Brent’s body composition changes and also recovery from training. If you struggle reaching your ideal body composition or find it hard to recover from training I’m sure I can help you find workable solutions too.

I focus on periodisation – which is looking at each meal in its own breakdown of carbs/protein/fat content and manipulating these numbers according to training times/physical activity. Periodisation is not really macro counting, because even if you consume the right macros in the day but the timing is out, your recovery and body fat levels may not change!

So if Brent trains in the morning; he consumes more carbs then. If there is no activity at night choose lower carb options and a little higher in fat. Protein intake never changes.

So at the CrossFit Games what happened??

I thought I would give a little snapshot of what Brent consumed on the first day of the CrossFit Games.

Brent found a company to deliver some pre-prepared meals for him so he didn’t have to prep as much food. I ensured these were low in fat and based on white meat/fish so it wasn’t sitting in his gut digesting for too long.  We added rice to all of these meals to increase the carbohydrate content.

Thursday – The first day of the CrossFit Games. 

On this day Brent consumed approximately 5200 calories, breaking down into 235g protein, 70g of fat and a whopping 850g of carbs. To give you an idea of the difference to a normal home day of training, Brent consumes around 4200 calories – 220g of protein, 160g of fat and 400g of carbs.

  • Breakfast rarely ever changes in competition. It is  3/4 C of cooked oats, cinnamon, 1/2 tb of honey, berries, banana, and  3 eggs + 1 C of vege and sometimes a rasher of lean bacon.
  • Post Workouts involved his protein, and dextrose powder from Mission 6 Nutrition, along with dried dates and the pre-prepared meals with rice. These were pretty consistent throughout the whole day.
  • Before bed it was oats with honey and cinnamon and some kind of casein protein – either quark yoghurt/cheese.
  • Fluid intake was also high, and he also consumed electrolytes to ensure he was well hydrated.
  • A few things have been taken out though because I cant give away all the tricks to the trade 😉

Brent’s energy levels where high all weekend and his recovery was on point in all aspects. I know his nutrition played a huge role and helped ensure his spot on that podium.

In Summary – my biggest tip for sports nutrition is you need to change your food intake according to your activity level. Some workouts go for 10 minutes and others go for minutes . You will need more refuel your body according to each workout! Don’t fall into the trap of eating the same thing day in and day out!

If you need help with your training nutrition, energy levels or body composition changes; email me at amiestargetnutrition@gmail.com

Protein Balls

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protein balls

1 banana

1 cup of dried dates

2 C of mixed nuts (almond, walnuts, cashews, brazil)

1⁄2 C almond meal

1⁄2 C of honey

100g of protein powder

1 tb of Cacao (if you want a chocolate flavour) if not remove

1/3 C of coconut

Add in all the nuts and mix until they are in small pieces. Add in the almond meal, protein powder and cacao. Remove from the processor.

Blitz the dried dates and banana together in a food processor and add in the honey and mix through.

Add in the dry ingredients and mix until together.

If a little sticky add in a little more protein powder

Make the mixture 24 balls and roll in the coconut.

Can be frozen – 2 per serve

Easter Treats – how to manage them

 

 

With Easter on the way, there are going to be treats… it is about managing them so that you can still enjoy a little something without going over board. Planning ahead so that you can stay on track without feeling like you are missing out or being deprived.

Here are a few questions coming in about managing Easter celebrations and treats:

Can I have Easter eggs? 

Yes you can; however

  1. Pick some good quality chocolate that you will actually enjoy.
  2. Only buy what you want to consume over the weekend so you don’t leave yourself tempted with leftovers for weeks to come.
  3. If you feel like you will be receiving an abundance of chocolate; instead of chocolate why don’t you ask for something different that is not food. E.g. a book, flowers, or clothing etc

When is the best time to eat chocolate?

The best time to eat chocolate is after exercise! Carbs/sugar are stored as glycogen in the muscle cell and when you exercise you use up a lot of these carbs stores. If you eat the chocolate/hot cross buns/ all the delicious foods after exercise your muscle cells will gobble up all that extra sugar and store it in the muscle cell rather than fat. If you consume an excessive portion size away from exercise, expect to gain more body fat over the weekend. So get outside; be active with your family and don’t use the long weekend as an excuse to be lazy.

Do I eat it all at once or a little bit at a time?

If after exercise eat more here, if you haven’t exercise just have a little bit at a time. A couple Easter eggs at a time or pick one thing each day. One hot cross bun, one chocolate egg, a mini bunny or just alcohol only.

Help! I need a game plan – I have so many celebrations based around food and drinks between Good Friday & Easter Sunday & the long weekend?

Pick the events at which you will be more relaxed and more strict on yourself. 4 days of celebration is a long time and is really not needed! My general advice is pick one thing each day; make sure the rest is controlled. If you know you have large brunch/Lunch or dinner – cut out the snacks during the day or have one snack closer to your meal so you aren’t as hungry going into the meal.

Help! I gained so much weight in two days and I’m freaking out! How did that happen? 

It is easy for people to become overwhelmed with how much weight they have gained in a weekend. I think the most I have heard of my own clients or friends is about 6kgs in a weekend. Now there is no way you can gain that much fat in the space of one weekend. When you have extra sugary/carby foods you body will retain more fluid. Every gram of glycogen holds onto about 3g of fluid. As soon as you go back to normal eating you will drop the excess weight within a week.

So 1. Don’t go super crazy! Prevent that fluid retention and 2. If you have over eaten, really try to get back into your normal pattern of eating ASAP, you will feel lighter and healthier withing a couple days.

What should I do to help get me back on track? 

Book in with me the week or 10 days after Easter; get that accountability back so you are committed to change!! If not me, ask a friend to help keep you accountable!

Contact me on 0413 684 215 if you need help or email me at amie@amiestargetnutrition.com

Emotional, binge, or stress eater? How to fix it!

The last month I have spent the a significant amount of time learning about eating behaviours, neural patterning, and the real psychology behind why and how people eat. I find it so interesting about how we can be our own harshest critic because we don’t get the outcome we want with our body composition, training, in work or even in relationships. How we treat and talk to ourselves significantly impacts how we behave, think and eat, whether you are aware of it or not.

So how do we identify if what we are doing is a consequence of how we think?

These unhelpful thinking styles are just a few that can affect how we eat

  • All or nothing thinking: This is going with one extreme or the other. You either train and eat at 100% or if you injure yourself or motivation goes out the window, so does your eating habits, because what is the point if you cannot do both?
  • Mental filters: Only filtering in the negatives and not listening to the positive changes you have made in the past.
  • Jumping to conclusions: That you know what someone thinks of you, that they think you are fat, or you make assumptions of what will happen in the future. That you have struggled to lose weight in the past and you always will. Or you are addicted to chocolate or alcohol and you always will be.
  • Catastrophising: Blowing situations out of proportion and view the situation as something that is completely uncontrollable and one of the worst things you have gone through, but in reality is something you will forget about the next day or can be solved easily.
  • Shoulding and musting: Something that puts a significant amount of pressure on yourself to reach a task. I should already be 5kgs lighter after a couple weeks or that I must look a certain way.
  • Labelling: How do you speak about yourself? Do you mentally call yourself fat or feel like other people are? What are the other names and self loathe that creep in?
  • Magnification and Minimisation: this looks at magnifying the great attributes of other and minimising your own. I know I do this all the time especially with my own training.

These are many thinking styles that I have gone through myself and watched many, many people think throughout my short career.

But the question is how do you change?

How do you stop sabotaging yourself and pull yourself out of this rut. Unfortunately the answer isn’t as simple as you want to be and it takes time. But breaking habits are never easy. It takes at least 66 days to concrete a habit into our daily routine, not 21 but 66 – 12 weeks.

  1. My first advice is to start writing in a diary.

Find the link between the triggering events, with how you feel and what you do next.

For example it could be a stressful day at work or someone said something mindless which was confronting. These events made you feel worthless, or frustrated. At this point would you go to the vending machine and pick something out to eat or drink to help make you feel better for that moment? Or would you go home and binge on a number of different food items? Once you consume something sweet, dopamine is released from the brain which signals almost a calming relief and basically makes you feel good. However, once you begin to associate the stressful day at work, or anxiety about being around a certain person, will that then trigger you to eat that extra food? This is how a habit is formed, and until you are aware of the triggers that set off how you act, then it will be very hard to change, which will lead to another failed diet or weight drop or regain.

So my first tip is to identify those triggers that set you off, which could be in your environment, friends around you, work, stress or training, or just the need to reward yourself for being so good.

  1. Next find some strategies that work best for you to distract yourself from eating.

Go for a walk/exercise, call a friend, set an alarm for the next time to eat, watch a movie or TV show, or learn to sit there with the issue and calm yourself; the pain will only be temporary and be as painful as you continue to make it. It will get better, but feeding yourself with something that is only temporarily relief will make you feel worse in the long run. Decide what the pro’s and con’s of eating that food will be.

If you need help, that is what I am here for. I want to challenge your thoughts and replace them with new ones that will realistically help you reach your goals. We can break it down into small steps and work toward those changes.

The psychology behind why we eat is so much stronger than what most may think, but it is something to address and realise that we all need help in setting our mindset in the right direction.

Banana Pancakes

A great breakfast option – If you want to have it after exercise – add more fruit/maple syrup on top or increase the oats to 1/3 C in the pancake.

Banana pancakes:

1 egg
1 banana
1/4 C of oats
1 scoop of protein powder
dash of cinnamon
½ tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla
Mash the banana until smooth and whisk in the egg. Add in the oats, protein, cinnamon and vanilla until mixed through. Then add in the baking powder.

Cook on low heat – makes about 4 pancakes

This is one serve – with a handful of berries or 1-2 tsp of honey or maple syrup
banana pancakes

4 years in the making – the fourth fittest man in CrossFit

Brent Fikowski came to me for nutritional guidance after a 2012 Wodstock competition in Ipswich Australia. He was completely exhausted following the day event and knew he needed some professional help if he wanted to continue to see progress in his training. At the time Brent was strictly following the Paleo diet, with his only real source of carbohydrate (fuel for your body) coming from some sweet potato and small amounts of fruit. Now we still use the the diet as a foundation in terms of lean meats, lots of veggies and fruit, but I have added the necessary carbohydrates into his day from rice, oats and dairy.

A few months later he came first overall in the WODstock Competition Series in Brisbane (photo on the left) and had felt the improvements in his energy levels. We have been working together ever since and what a journey it has been; culminating with a 4th place finish at the 2016 CrossFit Games in California this year (photo on the right)!

Brent’s nutrition has been a long journey with many changes. The more he trains and muscle mass growth, the greater the amount of calories his body needs to function at 100%. As a result, in the last 1-2 years my programming has changed to focus more onto periodisation.

Periodisation is looking at each meal in its own breakdown of carbs/protein/fat content however changes according to his training times. If he trains in the morning; that is where the bulk of carbs are and but it also is lower in fat. At night time if he hasn’t trained it is low carb and high fat. His protein intake never changes.

Periodisation is not really macro counting, because even if you consume the right macros in the day but the timing is out, your recovery and body fat levels may not change! It is all about eating the right food at the right time of the day. This I have found has really helped with Brent’s body composition changes and also recovery from training. (Have you seen the photo!!)

His calorie intake needs to vary according to his training, and I have taught Brent how to decipher between whether he has had either enough or not by the way he feels. If he is hungry, craving food or feeling lethargic, his meal was not properly balanced for the training session he had just completed and so he knows what foods to add in if he feels a certain way.

My biggest tip for nutrition; is you need to change your food intake accordingly to your activity level. Some workouts go for 45 minutes, others go for 10. You will need more fuel for a 45 minute workout than a 10 minute one. Don’t fall into the trap of eating the same thing day in and day out.

So at the CrossFit Games what happened??

To tell you the truth it wasn’t too different from regionals because we know what works so we keep to routine.

  • We found a company to produce Brent’s meals for him for his time at the Games so he didn’t have to prep as much food.
  • All meals on comp days were chicken based, low in fat straight after workouts to ensure it was easily and quickly digested for recovery. Each meal had 1-1.5 C of cooked rice added to keep him well fueled and ensure he recovered well from each workout.
  • Before events, it was either a muesli and yoghurt or a caffeine and carb source to ensure his energy levels and adrenaline high going into each event.
  • Straight after the event he had a protein/carb shake and a piece of fruit/dates depending on the event.
  • Oats and quark before bed to help ensure he was topped up with energy and the quark to help with muscle recovery overnight.
  • Rest days were more pork based and higher in fat to ensure he was getting in enough calories. More nuts/nut bars were used on these days as well.

There were a couple other things Brent had throughout the weekend, but I can’t reveal all the best tips to success 😉 It is still a competition and that podium is waiting for him in 2017!

IF you need help with your training nutrition, energy levels or body composition changes; email me at amie@amiestargetnutrition.com

See Brent’s regionals diet here – http://amiestargetnutrition.com/2016/06/fuelling-an-elite-athlete/

Photo Cred @busman3406

Pasta VS Rice

Last week 7 news showcased a study completed which determined pasta is better than rice; and you know what, they actually have it right for once!

There are a few reasons as to why which I will discuss below.

  1. Lower carbohydrate content per gram weight.

100g of cooked White rice contains 36g of carbohydrate and pasta contains only 25g, which is less than two slices of bread or equivalent to an extra large banana

  1. Wholemeal pasta is higher in protein and full of vitamins and minerals:

Pasta wholemeal

  • 6% Iron (helps to promote red blood cell formation)
  • 15% zinc (increases energy levels, immune system, growth and development)
  • 10% phosphorus (assists with muscle mass growth and repair)
  • 23% of RDI of Vitamin B (increase energy levels)
  • 3% of required iodine (works on increasing your metabolism)

Brown Rice

  • 6% Iron
  • 12% zinc,
  • 9% phosphorus,
  • 15% of RDI of Vitamin B to increase energy levels,
  • 2% of required iodine content to speed up your metabolism.

White Rice

Has around 5% or less of any nutrient!!! AVOID white rice unless there is no other option.

One stand out style type of rice is doongara rice. It comes in both a white and brown rice version. It is packed full of protein and has a higher iron, zinc and phosphorus count than brown rice. So again nutrient wise, if looking for a good quality rice; doongara is the way to go.

  1. Pasta doesn’t create insulin spikes. It keeps your energy levels stable.

Pasta is a low GI food, which basically means the carbohydrate is broken down slowly within the blood stream. The slower the break down the more sustained our energy levels are. White and Brown rice are high GI foods; which means the carbohydrate will be broken down quickly and around 45minutes to an hour later you will be left feeling tired, lethargic, or even looking for more food or coffee.

The only type rice that does not provide an energy spike and drop is doongara rice, again the one packed full of vitamins and minerals J It is a low GI rice and will keep your energy levels stable and prevent cravings! Basmati rice is a close second so if you cannot find the doongara rice, ensure you pick basmati!

However if you are thinking, well Amie, I feel more tired after eating pasta or I find it makes me gain weight, have a think about your portion size? One serve size of pasta equates to around 2/3 C, which is amount smaller than your fist. How often are we served a such a small portion size? The same goes if you feel pasta leads to weight gain – how much are you consuming? Are you actually measuring out one serve? Test it out for a meal and see what happens?

Cons – only one???

The most significant issue I find with pasta  is a number of people are Coeliac (allergic to gluten) or intolerant to wheat.
If you are, then YES choose doongara rice or basmati rice. Otherwise pasta is definitely the better choice. Just remember, be careful of your portion size!

Happy Eating!

Veggie Patties

 1 carrot, peeled

 1⁄2 medium onion

 3 garlic cloves

 2 cups cooked green or brown lentils

 1⁄2 cup cooked chickpeas

 2 large eggs

 1⁄2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

 Handful fresh coriander, optional

 1 teaspoon chili powder

 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce, sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

 1⁄2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 *Oat flour (can be easily made from oats, see step 1) or flour of choice, for dusting

 High quality vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan

  1. *Before you get started, will you need oat flour? If so, blend up some oats in your food processor using the S-blade. Blend until the oats have a fine, flour-like texture. Transfer the oats to a bowl for later.
  1. To make the burgers: Grate the carrot and transfer to a bowl for now.
  2. Cut the halved onion into a few slices before adding the onion and garlic cloves to the food processor. Pulse until the onions are roughly chopped, but no more
  3. Add to the food processor: towel-dried lentils and chickpeas, eggs, oats, handful of herbs (optional), all of the spices, salt and black pepper. Process only until the mixture has the consistency of a chunky hummus (err on the conservative side here). Stir in the grated carrot.
  1. To prepare the burgers: Divide the lentil mixture into 6 portions and shape them into patties about 1-inch thick (if your mixture is unmanageably wet, stir in a couple tablespoons of oat flour first). Dust the patties lightly with flour on both sides.
  1. To cook the burgers: Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, cook the veggie burgers in batches. Cook until the burgers are crispy on the bottoms and the mixture holds together, about 41⁄2 to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers carefully with a spatula and continue cooking until the second sides are firm and brown, about 41⁄2 to 5 more minutes. Transfer the burgers to a plate, then add more oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining burgers until they are all cooked through.

Serve with salad or a couple vegies. If you want carbs with it, ensure you are eating the right ones at the right time of day with this meal. I have served mine with portebello mushrooms or even chunk pieces of sweet potato.

Fuelling an Elite Athlete

Last week, Brent Fikowski – Crossfit Athlete won the West Regional and is now training to compete at the Crossfit Games in Carson in July!! I have worked with Brent for the last 3 and a half years and what a journey it has been tweaking his meal plan to ensure he is recovering from training, maintaining a good body weight and low body fat percentage in order to train at 100%. This year all his hard work paid off and I am looking forward to seeing this amazing athlete compete to his full potential at the Games!!

So what does it take to fuel this athlete??

On a general training day, Brent consumes between 4100-4400 calories, 220g of protein, 190g of fat and around 350g of carbs. The carbohydrates increase/decrease according to his training day. Additionally, because Brent can eat so much food to maintain his body fat, all his vitamins and mineral targets are easily met!

His daily diet consists of oats, eggs, vegies, fruit, mixed nuts, organ meats, bone broth, dairy and rice, along with his current supplements.

For Regionals the macronutrient break down was completely different!

Brent consumed between 5000 -5200 calories each day to fuel his way to a win. He consumed approximately 265g of protein, 125g of fat and 655g of carbohydrates! His Carbohydrate content significantly increased to ensure he was properly fuelled for every workout. It was quite low fat to prevent any delay in digestion of any protein or carbs and ensuring his recovery was perfect.

So what did Brent’s Regionals Nutrition Plan look like?

Breakfast every day was – 3/4 C of oats with a piece of fruit + 3 eggs, a slice of lean bacon and some vegies

Morning tea – fruit and 3/4 Cup trail mix
Both breakfast and morning tea has a good portion of carbs, protein and fat.

Pre Event meals: 1/2 C of muesli (oats, sultanas, dates, coconut), 200g of plain greek yoghurt + 1 tb of honey

Post Event meals: Protein/Carb shake, banana, 3-4 dried dates and then half an hour to 45 minutes later – 200g of chicken breast, 1 -1.5C of cooked white rice + 1 C of vege

Both the Pre/Post event meals – moderate protein and very high in carbohydrates to ensure recovery!!

Dinner – was either 200g salmon or chicken + 1 C of rice and sweet potato + as many vegies as desired.

Before bed to ensure Brent’s Glycogen stores were topped up and to assist with recovery he had:
1/2 C of oats with honey (Refuel glycogen stores) and 100g of quark or cottage cheese (casein protein assists with muscle recovery over night)

A couple other extras that I found worked really well was Brent had a carbohydrate and caffeine gel prior to a couple events, which really helped push him over to compete at his full capacity.

This competition plan has stayed pretty similar over the last 2 years for any major competitions for Brent. The break down of meals pre and post change depending on how intense, long or make up of the workout. The above plan is not exact for each day but is quite similar.

The same goes for a normal training day – this type of training is varied, and as a result so should his nutrition. Longer workouts require more carbs, shorter more intense ones require less again it changes depending upon strength days. Tailoring your nutrition around your workouts will ensure proper recovery, good energy levels and less body fat gain.

Never underestimate the necessity of a well fuelled diet plan to see great results!! Bring on CARSON!!

If you want to ensure you are fuelled well for training and competition, contact me at amie@amiestargetnutrition.com or on 0413 684 215

 

 

Coconut oil – Is it all it is cracked up to be?

Coconut based products are everywhere you look, online, health stores and even now the supermarket, all trying to hang onto such claims that it is a superfood, burns fat faster and is the best type of oil out there. Many clients are telling me that coconut oil is there favourite choice and ensuring I am aware of that. So what do you think? Is coconut oil really as fabulous as they say or is it just a fad?

Coconut is derived purely from the coconut flesh with no processing, which is fantastic. Many oils like canola, safflower, sunflower, rice bran oils all go through a significant amount of processing in order to produce this oil. It is only the fat component of the coconut and it does not provide any protein, carbs or fibre, and has no vitamins or minerals. Nor does it contain a number of polyphenol antioxidant compounds – these neutralise free radicals and reduce inflammation. Coconut oil is found to only provide a very small boost in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), however it also raises our LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).

What is different about coconut oil is it has a different fatty acid profile to that of any other fat based product/nut. Normal tree nuts are very high in unsaturated fats (Good fats), where coconut oil is higher in saturated fats (bad fats). This is the reason why for Australia many years ago, coconut oil was put on the list to eat sparingly. So where have these health claims come from that it is so great?

Well as new evidence has come out about coconut oil in the last few years; it has found coconut oil is very high in Lauric acid, which actually has a good effect on our blood cholesterol. Coconut oil has a couple medium chain fatty acids in our body that are burned more readily as fuel in our body – however, this does not mean adding more coconut oil to your day will miraculously make you burn more fat, because you will still have to burn off all the extra calories consumed! So these few points are beneficial in comparison to other oils like canola, rice bran etc, however there are still many things to learn.

There is one other oil that is definitely proven to be the best oil in the world over and over and has more evidence put together than coconut oil, which is EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (EVOO). Not just plain olive oil but extra virgin! There is a difference! EVOO significantly raises HDL cholesterol (good), and lowers LDL (Bad) cholesterol. EVOO also contains an abundance of beneficial polyphenols and a significant amount of Vitamin E – again which I mentioned above that coconut oil does not have. It also helps prevent cancer and heart disease, again which coconut oil is not proven to do.

Many people have said though, olive oil Is great to use on salads, but if you cook with it, it will turn into a trans fat. This is only true if you recook it over and over as maybe our parents or grandparents used to do. Once cooked it loses around 20% of the antioxidants in the product, but the levels will always outweigh that of coconut oil and every other oil that do not have this antioxidant quality.

So what should I choose?

EVOO over Coconut oil will always be the better choice as it has been proven over and over. Coconut oil can be used every now and then for cooking or baking, but it should not be your primary choice of fat. Also, opt for the flesh of the coconut which actually does provide you with good nutrients!

I hope this helps you make your decision!