Mike Thurston's Views On Nutrition
Mike summarises his beliefs on nutrition and talks about many of the mistakes he has made over the years. The key to progress is to follow a regime which suits your lifestyle, your goals and one which is sustainable in the long term.
Sustainability is key
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about me is that they assume I constantly follow an extremely strict nutrition regime. One which doesn't allow for any flexibility or variety in the foods that can be consumed. 'This guy must eat chicken and broccoli everyday surely? There's no way he eats junk food if he looks like that.' Truth be told I have a big appetite, and a love for food which one day might be my downfall.
Over the years I have experimented with different approaches to nutrition. Low carb/high fat, high carb/low fat, intermittent fasting, carb backloading, IIFYM, carb cyclying, you name it, I've tried them all. As my knowledge on nutrition improved drastically over the years, there's one thing that will always stand out to me - everybody is different and must find an approach which is best suited for themselves. When it comes down to nutrition you have to have an open minded approach which will 1. Deliver the results you are seeking 2. Suit your lifestyle and 3. Be sustainable in the long run.
When it comes to my nutrition regime, I will go through phases of strict adherence to a programme I have built for myself, to phases of eating whatever it is I want to eat. Much of what I am doing in the present moment will depend upon what my goals are, along with my current mindset.
Cheat meals and junk food are allowed, but only in moderation, and only if you have self control. There is absolutely no point in undoing all weeks worth of hard work and then binging your life away.
Truth be told, I feel like I make the most progress when I am in some form of a routine. When I prepare my meals in advance, I know exactly how many calories I'm consuming and is one less thing I need to think about. During times of travelling and being out of my routine I feel as though my body composition suffers, not drastically, but to the point where I feel as though it's time to get back on track.
I always find that I make the most progress with my physique when I've found my flow. Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Once I've found my flow I'm in the zone. Motivation and willpower is sky high. When it comes to nutrition, I'm in a routine of prepping my meals and I actually turn my nose up to junk food (even if you rub it in my face).
If I'm out of my flow I get lazy, my workouts suffer and I'll rarely do any cardio at all. I get into the habit of eating out, the thought of prepping meals seems like the ultimate chore, and if I get the slightest temptation of having junk food, I'll go all in. I'm not talking about having a cheat meal here and there, I'm talking about days filled with eating crap.
I don't believe that you HAVE to stick to specific macronutrient intake, or aim to hit a set number of calories your entire life. However, if you are one of those people who struggle to gain weight, lose body fat, or have absolutely no idea what is in the food they eat, I would recommend trying it. Learn about what is in the food you eat, how your body reacts to certain foods, and track the progress that I made when following different programmes.
Although calorie intake and macronutrient breakdown is important, the quality of the foods you consume also has a huge impact, not only on your body composition, but your mental performance and overall health. If I eat crap, I feel like crap, and I crave crap. If a large proportion of my nutrition intake comes from unprocessed, earth grown foods, I'll feel great.
I'm a big believer in optimising your health and performance, maximising longevity, and building programmes which can be adhered to long into the future.