The life of a Special Forces soldier is certainly not an easy one. When they’re not on a mission, they’re preparing for one. And, consequently, deprivation of food, sleep and stability are some of the only constants.
Yet, soldiers remain lean, focused and full of strength. But how, you may be wondering? Well, it all comes down to being disciplined in your decisions. Warranted, these are not always in your control when in the forces but, at home, they usually are.
While exercise plays a part in shaping the war machine physique, diet is equally important and an aspect which requires just as much discipline.
With that in mind, here are six Special Forces nutrition tips to try at home.
When at home, it can be easy to let mealtimes slip. This results in eating one large meal, usually at the end of the day, which is neither healthy nor sustainable.
Instead, creating and sticking to a routine is an effective way of ensuring your body is kept fuelled throughout the day and your food is digested properly.
This routine should begin from the moment you wake up, with a glass of lemon infused hot water followed by a nutritional breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner.
Although it may seem like a lot of thought and preparation needs to go into keeping this up, meal prepping is a great way to save time and minimise waste, while ensuring your body receives all the right nutrients.
Alcohol is a commonly enjoyed recreational drink which should be consumed as just that, on occasion. But, when you’re at home, it can be tempting to increase your intake beyond that.
This is where there needs to be discipline, as alcoholic beverages are packed with calories, have little to no nutritional value and certainly do nothing for your health or wellbeing.
On top of this, the impact that overindulging on alcohol has on the brain is another point of concern. As well as its long-term effects, its ability to influence bad decisions could lead to the formation of other unhealthy habits.
For instance, drinking is usually paired with junk food or used as a meal replacement. So, to avoid this becoming a regular occurrence, it is best to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
When you’re following a health and fitness regime, ensuring your body is getting the right vitamins and minerals is vital. And, when certain ones are used up during intense training sessions, they should be topped up with nutritional snacks and meals.
For example, zinc is a nutrient that is lost through sweat but also one that is required by the body for a fighting immune system. So, ensuring any post-workout meals contain an adequate amount of zinc-rich foods is a key way of staying healthy and on top form.
However, certain vitamins and minerals can be lost through poor food storage and preparation methods. Here are some ways in which you can ensure they are being preserved:
Before certain activities or at different times of the day, your body will require different levels of fuel for different purposes. So, when food is considered fuel for the body, the idea of letting when you eat determine what you eat makes much more sense.
For example, immediately after exercising, your body will need carbohydrates to stimulate insulin, which is an important hormone in promoting muscle synthesis.
Similarly, in the recovery stage, good food choices are key for muscle growth and tissue repair. At this point, protein is an important nutrient to be incorporating into meals.
Snacking is typically seen in a negative light but, if you make healthy choices, it is in fact an important habit which keeps the body fuelled.
To keep snacking under control at home, stock up on healthy options by planning ahead of shopping trips. Ensure snack choices can be quickly heated, taken on the go or consumed straight out of the fridge.
Snacking foods can include fruit, yogurts, hummus and pita bread, soup, nuts and low-fat popcorn, for example.
In the very real environments of Special Forces missions, rationing and food packages are a matter of life or death. While the severity is much lower at home, adopting principles that are similar to those of rationing and food package make-up are useful ways to instil discipline in your diet.
For example, creating set menus of meals you know contain all the right nutrients and number of calories is a good way to make healthy choices.
This can be particularly useful when you are busy or under pressure, as this is where quick and convenient food is required.
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