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5 Tips for Healthy Eating While Getting Outside

Food by a campfire.

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All I want is to have great adventures, be fit, eat delicious food, feel good and look fabulous without really trying. Is that too much to ask?

Pretty much, says coach, nutrition counselor and podcast guest Nicole Spitzack. It’s not the fitness, good food or fabulousness that’s a problem. It’s the “without really trying” part. Why? Because there are no shortcuts, she said.

That’s sad. But she didn’t leave us hanging. In Episode 11 Nicole shared a few of her secrets for balancing staying fit, eating well and having great adventures.

See that word “balancing?” That’s what it’s all about. It’s not rocket science, and you don’t have to make it complicated. Our culture tends to focus a lot on what to eat without much thought on how much to eat or whether or not it actually fuels you.

That’s where Nicole comes in. Her expertise is helping people fuel well for what they’re doing.

Here’s a few of her best tips for keeping the adventures rolling without going overboard on the grub.

1. Prepare ahead for what you’re going to do.

We tend to think about food in terms of eating for what we’re doing right now But what about eating to make sure you’re prepared? Keeping it simple is the way to go, especially when you’re out having big adventures, Nicole said. But it starts by preparing well.

“You know, the nutrition actually starts usually the day before, like a competition or an event or an adventure, or what have you,” she said. “What you eat that day before matters a whole lot.”

2. Match the snacks with the adventure.

It’s no secret that I love Swedish Fish. They are the perfect running and adventure fuel for me. I think they’re pure magic. And when I’m on a really long mountain run, I like to combine them with a nutty trail mix.

That’s just fine, Nicole said, as long as it matches the effort. (Confession: mine doesn’t always do that.)

“The issue comes whenever we do pack all these snacks. We pack this trail mix and this jerky and you know, bars and all this different stuff. And then it’s like, oh wow, I consumed like a lot of food; most of that is probably going to be fat intake or high carbs,” she said. “Again, all of which is more than your body actually needs. Just keep it simple, you know, and don’t focus on feeling like you need this nutrition. A lot of times you actually really don’t.”

3. Remember that you feel how you fuel.

It sounds cliche, but it’s true, said Nicole. If you eat trash, you’ll feel like trash.

“If you’re interested in your performance, your nutrition is everything,” she said. “You can train and train and train, but if your nutrition is garbage, your performance is going to be garbage.”

4. Don’t lose sight of the long game.

It’s easy to hit your goal and then wander off the program that has you feeling good, she said. That doesn’t mean you always have to or should be eating like you’re getting ready for big competition or goal. But it does mean that you should build sustainable habits — and never let them go, she said.

“Sometimes what happens with people, is that after they’ve obtained this amazing goal, this huge accomplishment, we do we kind of feel like — oh, I feel pretty good about that. I should definitely treat myself,” she said. “Then people can have a hard time staying on track, right? Now what happens is you don’t have this goal, right? So you just kind of like revert to your old pattern of living or what have you, where it’s like — okay, I can kind of get away with this or I don’t really have this big goal anymore. So it’s okay to kind of splurge here or there or whatever.”

The secret to keeping on track, she said, is to build your life around attainable goals, she said.

“I always just really encourage people, after you’ve had this huge goal, it’s really good to have like a couple of small goals, to kind of follow that large goal so that you don’t fall off off the deep end,” she said. “I find that to be really crucial to keep moving forward.”

5. Know that it’s going to take hard work — but you’re not alone.

Sad news, first, folks: there’s no quick fix out there when it comes to getting and staying healthy.

“There are no secrets. There are no shortcuts. There are no magic diets. I mean, if there was anything like that that existed, we would all be doing it. We would all have a six pack and firm, tight glutes and you know, I mean, it doesn’t exist. The only prescription is hard work,” she said.

The better news? You can get help, Nicole said, through learning for yourself or hiring a coach.

“And don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s different for everybody. What works for one one person might not work for the next person. And that’s why it’s really important to have somebody who specializes in this field to help you obtain those goals, unless you’re willing to do the education on your own, right?” she said. “If you’re willing to do the research and be your own guinea pig and figure out what works for your body, which a lot of people do, and it works for them, and that’s great, too.”

“You know, it’s not rocket science. It’s a simple equation. But sometimes you just need a little bit of help and guidance, you know, through it all,” she said.

You can check out Nicole’s own fitness and nutrition journey by following her on Instagram.

2 Responses

  1. I love the idea of following up a big goal with smaller goals to help stay on track but what about when your big goal is a weight loss goal. What does a smaller post-weight-loss goal look like, I wonder? I guess just training for something so you’re still committed to fitness and healthy eating?

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