Why do we, as Free Athletes, swear by the clean eating concept? Rather than focusing on eating more or less of certain things (like fewer calories and more protein for example), clean eating promotes awareness of your food‘s pathway between its origin and your plate. In a nutshell, it means eating whole, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Still questioning whether a clean diet is right for you? Yet to be convinced that it’s worth putting in the effort to change your bad habits? Here are 7 facts about clean eating that might help convert you.
- Looking to get those gains? Eating clean means providing your body with a supply of high quality protein through wholesome food, which will promote healthy and sustainable overall muscle gain.
- Rather than being restrictive, clean eating doesn’t leave food groups out. Forget fat‘s bad rep, and remember that consuming it in moderation, and from a ‘good‘ source, is actually vital for your health and training results. A clean diet includes lots of healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids, which have many important benefits for an athlete‘s body. For example, they are vital for muscle function and muscle regeneration after an intensive workout.
- Clean carbs are good carbs. Rule #1: never underestimate the importance of (unprocessed) carbs for your metabolism. As fast energy suppliers, they‘re extremely important in keeping your major bodily systems, such as your brain, muscular system and liver, in top shape. If you‘re not consuming enough carbs, your body will use its protein reserves to get energy instead, which means that your muscles will begin to degrade.
- After an intense workout, your body produces larger amounts of free radicals, which damages tissue and can lead to muscle exhaustion. A sufficient supply of Vitamin E, Vitamin C and beta-carotene will protect your muscle tissue through their antioxidative effect. Since these vitamins can‘t be created by your body and aren‘t usually found in processed foods, the only way to make sure you get enough is to eat clean.
- Get your minerals: most of us know, sweating leads to the loss of minerals and trace elements such as calcium, which is vital for the stabilization of the bone structure, and magnesium, which can prevent sore muscles. When you follow a clean diet, you are consuming lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, which all help to refill your body’s mineral storages and keep your muscles and bones in top shape to crush your next Kentauros.
- Another important aspect of clean eating is eating regularly during the day. This will make sure your blood sugar levels remain stable. Stable blood sugar levels mean less cravings, so you won’t load up on unhealthy, processed food and overeat – something you definitely want to avoid if you‘re aiming for lean muscle gain or weight loss.
- When you eat clean, you also minimize your additive, preservative and hormone intake by avoiding highly-processed foods and consuming only high-quality foods. This will contribute to your overall health and wellbeing so that you not only feel great, but look great too.
Clean eating is far more than just a trend or diet, it‘s a lifestyle. By going back-to-basics in your approach, you‘ll fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to reach your training goals faster. In need of some clean recipe ideas? Check out Freeletics Nutrition for more inspiration.