Posted on December 29, 2023
By providing the right nourishment, we not only enhance our physical well-being but also elevate our mental capacity. The transformative power of nutrition is the key to maximizing elite performance. In this episode, Tony Castillo from NutritionFP shares with us the significance of nutrition in driving top-tier performance, regardless of one’s leadership status or pursuit of personal excellence. He touches on the misconceptions around nutrition and how simple yet impactful habits can elevate energy levels. Discover the fundamental nature of fueling the body with the right foods and achieve true elite performance. Tune in now!
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Mastering Elite Performance: Nutrition Strategies For Next-Level Achievements With Tony Castillo
Our guest is Tony Castillo. He is an elite nutrition expert specializing in sports nutrition and aiding athletes, business leaders, and anyone seeking to boost their performance through nutrition. Tony’s background is in dietetics. It led him to work with Major League Baseball teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays and the University of Florida. He is on a mission to teach others about the significance of healthy lifestyle modifications that can optimize performance in every area of life. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you so much for having me. You have to add me to that book list the conversation we had before this. If I don’t get on that book list, you and I are going to have a conversation afterward.
I would love it. It’s one of those things where even I, it’s my life, and I have read it many times, I’m like, “What? That happened?” I’m like, “I remember.” I will, but enough about me. Let’s talk about you and how you became a nutrition expert. What was your journey that got you to where you are?
We were talking about how moms gave great advice before this. We said that sarcastically because sometimes it comes in bow packages, but it’s a lump of coal inside. Throughout my life, my mom had a diet culture. She still has it up to now. What do I mean by diet culture? She would get rid of bread in our house, get rid of rice during certain times, tell me not to eat carbohydrates, and tell me to do low-fat, which was popular in her time. It was even during a point in time when I was counting points, which was popular for her. I’m seeing her yo-yo.
When I hit my teen years, I was about thirteen years old. I went to a urologist with her. My mom and urologist were females. There is nothing wrong with that. What happened is that I got my pants pulled down in front of two women at thirteen years old. Let me tell you, that was the scariest thing I have experienced. I was like, “What is this going on?” It was to see what was going on down there.
Everything was fine. I was overweight. I had man boobs, and I was being made fun of for that. That’s why I went to see that urologist to see if there was something wrong. Was I producing a different hormone? What happened? The option I was given at thirteen years old, and this was over several years ago, was 1) Testosterone replacement therapy or 2) Plastic surgery. Even now, they are promoting things of this nature and even bariatric surgery for children. That’s not the solution. That is a Band-Aid on a sinking ship.
At that time, I did neither of those two stuff. I knew something was going on. Both of my parents had depression. My mother has bipolar. I was going through a lot of depressive things going on. Being made fun of being overweight, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. I had male body dysmorphia. I didn’t like the way I looked. I’d passed by the mirror. I’m obsessed with not looking the way I wanted to or the way my friends looked.
It was tough to deal with, especially because guys do shirts versus skins. I never wanted to be on the skins team in basketball. I live in Florida. Going to the beach, I was the first one wearing a shirt in the water and out of the water. I didn’t want to show my body because I was scared. I didn’t like the way I looked. I had a lot of things going on in my mind.
At the end of high school, a buddy of mine was a bodybuilder. He gave me a meal plan and a weight loss plan. I lost the weight, but I went to college, and pizza, beer, and tacos tasted way better than anything that I had done to lose the weight. Throughout college, I’m up and down on my weight. I tried fat burners, which burn anywhere from zero calories to up to the amount of calories that are in a Hershey’s Kisses. They are a waste of time. I learned that the hard way.
Number two, I tried all different powders, potions, and things that I thought would work. I tried Atkins and the South Beach Diet to lose weight. None of it worked. It was not sustainable. At the time, my wife, who was my girlfriend then, had this Ballerina skinny tea. It said weight loss for women. I was taking it behind her back because I was like, “Why does this only work for women? Why can’t it work for men?” It was a laxative. That’s it. It made me run to the bathroom versus anything else.
I tried every diet. It wasn’t working. I started to macro track and calorie count. I’m doing two workouts a day. It wasn’t until I finished my college career, where I got a degree in Biology and Chemistry that I broke my foot dancing because I was under-fueling, which many men and women do. Under-fueling is not eating enough but over-exercising.
It’s close to anorexia, but it wasn’t an eating disorder. I had disordered eating, meaning I was worried about eating things. I was worried about macros over memories. I was worried about whether I should have wings with my friends or if I should bring this meal prep that’s been there. It smells bad, but I know I need to hit my calorie goal. I would make myself suffer through that while I saw my friends enjoy it because I thought that’s why I’d find ultimate pleasure and happiness. It was the opposite of what was happening. I was distancing myself from family and friends versus leading a healthy lifestyle.
It wasn’t until I got my degree in Nutrition that I got a Master’s. I didn’t even know you could get a degree. I thought you could work at a gym and you know nutrition. I did my Master’s, and I knew that’s exactly where I wanted to be to help people. I loved it because it taught the right things about nutrition, which you and I were talking about.
Anything before 2009 in the book you mentioned you are reading should be thrown out for women’s health when we are talking about nutrition because it doesn’t take into consideration women’s cycle if they were on birth control, they have had kids, and all these things that make a huge difference in women.
I finished my degree in Nutrition. I worked in a hospital. I went up to give some care to a patient. He had a tube coming out of his chest because he had open heart surgery. I come in to talk about a heart-healthy diet. He says to me, “Do you have my fried chicken and mac and cheese?” I was like, “No. I’m here to talk to you about a heart-healthy diet.” He’s like, “If you can’t get me my mac and cheese and fried chicken, get out of my room.” I left. I knew that’s not where I wanted to be because to me, how could it be that you had a heart attack, you have a tube coming out of your throat, and all you are thinking about is that fried chicken or that mac and cheese? That blew my mind. I knew that it wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be.
I went to work with athletes because we always see them promoting dairy or carbs. We are told to stay away from that. We see them performing at their best. They have the peak performance as humans from what we see because of what they are doing. No matter what their size was, they were able to perform at their best. I was always curious why they did that. Was it supplements? Was it steroids? What happened?
I went to work at the University of Florida. I saw that those who excelled had a great relationship with food, which was the exact opposite of what I had. I saw some of these kids eating frozen yogurt. I’m like, “What are you doing eating froyo on a Monday night? This isn’t a cheat day.” All these things that we feel are the right things, but it wasn’t truly that.
From there, I went to work with the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team because I wanted to understand what those elite athletes were doing differently than the collegiate athletes. I was trying to understand how to eat to perform at their best. I work with small business owners, executives, and C-Suites to help them understand how to eat and perform at their best. As we hear in many podcasts or the media, they need to be buying these green powders. They need to be following a fasting diet and keto. When we look at the research time and time again, it’s whatever we can be sustainable with, but it’s also fueling your body for performance.
I have translated everything I have learned working with these peak and top-of-the-line elite athletes and transformed it so that small business owners can perform at their best, not only in their business but also at home with their kids, which we were talking about in the toddler ship age especially. You have to have that energy to be behind them. As we grow older, we have different challenges to face. That’s my story. I’m sorry it took so long, but I did want to get through it.
I love that you are translating that elite athlete over to business because I worked in another agency and helped build an agency for several years, and I started my own. I was on the leadership side before, but it’s different when it’s your company. Now that I’m here and I’m going to conferences, and I’m listening to all the things, I realize that the people who are doing well are treating their lives like elite athletes.
They have multiple coaches. They know their eating, consumption, and sleep. It plays into the success of their business and their family. They look at energy from multiple different levels, not just from what they put into their body, but what they bring into their minds. All of those different things play such a big role in the success of your business, but also the overall health of yourself and your business. I love that you are pulling that all together.
I have had an interesting journey with diet. I thought about being a nutritionist for a long time. It’s still something that I’m like, “Maybe I should do that.” I was anorexic for a little while as a kid and hid that from my parents. I took energy pills to get my heart rate up to try to lose weight. I had a terrible relationship with food because my mom was 300 pounds. All I knew as a kid was that I didn’t want to be like my parents. That was my only goal. I love them, and they love me, but I didn’t want to be like them.
It was interesting seeing, especially through the ‘80s, all of these fad and yo-yo diets. What is it that works from a diet standpoint? I remember the first time somebody told me that a diet isn’t something you do for a short amount of time. Your diet is what you consume. It was a light bulb moment that took away some of the feeling of shame and permanence. Talk to me about your thoughts about diets and dieting.
When it comes to diets and dieting, we are wasting our time. One of the most prominent ones, especially at this moment, is the Ozempic. We were talking about our parents. My mom is taking Ozempic. As her son is a dietician who’s worked with elite performers, they have paid me to work with millionaires to help them perform at their best, and she still won’t listen to me because I’m her son. That’s the way things go. This popular weight loss drug is another fad. Why? It’s because we are not changing our habits. We are not changing how we eat if we want to change.
What do I mean by that? Many people come to the program, and they are like, “I’m expecting a meal plan.” That’s the last thing I do. I want to see what you eat. What do you enjoy eating? That’s where we are going to make it work. There was a CEO I worked with. He was from New York. He loved pizza and pasta. This is a little bit vain, but he said, “If you can help me get my six-pack abs and eat pizza and pasta.” I was like, “How about we get you to perform at your best? Six-pack abs can come, but getting you to eat the foods you love.”
It wasn’t until we changed that mind shift that we found out that was what he wanted. He didn’t know. It’s that we jump, and we feel like we need to eat chicken, rice, and broccoli. That’s all we need to be happy when it’s the exact opposite. Every time we get a meal plan or do something that isn’t typical of us, that’s going to push us farther from our goal than closer. That led to that yo-yo dieting. Much of the research has shown that if we continue yo-yo dieting, it is worse on our hearts than it is where we should be in regard to our weight.
I would say the one thing is finding what is sustainable for you. I’m not letting your culture or your background be an obstacle. I’m letting it be an asset. Many people take their background. Let’s say someone grew up eating Twinkies, and they love Twinkies. We have to find a way to get Twinkies to fit because the more you cut it, the more you are going to want it.
That’s one thing that is huge because we hear about all these new fad diets that come in, which eliminate this or get rid of that. It’s going to heal your inflammation. What’s going to help your mental status and perform at your best is having some of those comfort foods in there. It’s not about being perfect. I always say it’s about being 80/20, which means 80% of the time, you have to be on point. The other 20% of the time, you can do what you want.
If you have something important coming up, that’s when it goes to 95% and 5%. You don’t need to be 95/5 all year because that’s not sustainable. The goal is to be 80/20 and 95/5 when you have a competition or a conference you need to get to that. You need to be performing at your best or thinking at your best. You have a big meaning coming up. That’s when we need to be a little bit more in tune with what we are doing. In all honesty, instead of eliminating all these foods that we truly love, how can we include them in what we eat?
Everything in life is a mental game. If you tell yourself you can’t have your favorite things and you can’t do your favorite activities, all you are going to do is obsess about having that one thing and feel bad about it when you cheat. You are like, “I have that one cheat day. It’s over. I wasn’t even paying attention.”
Emotional and stress eating are a huge piece of what I have worked with even me. As we started on the show, my wife was pregnant. She has about a few weeks until she gives birth. Having a toddler has been stressful in the house. My wife has been tired. It’s understandable. You are carrying a baby. Sleep has not been as great. My mom was frustrated because she lived with us. My wife and my toddler were frustrated. We had cooked brownies the day before. The next day, I woke up. It was a Sunday. We cooked the brownies. On Monday, I woke up and ate about half brownies.
I was frustrated. It was emotional eating. I’m a dietician. I understand the importance of it. Should I have gone for a run? Should I feel guilty about it? This has happened when people go and use laxatives or throw up in the toilet. Not to be graphic, but these are options that pass through my head. I’m like, “What should I do?” I took a deep breath.
This is something I think works with many people. I have this list of three things that help me recenter when I have these bats of stress eating, emotional eating, or things that I feel like I’m falling off the wagon. This is something I work on with a lot of my clients. I say, “What are three things that we can do to get you back to where you need to be?” I have it on my phone as an easy reference. I open up my notes page, and I’m like, “Tony, here it is. Here are the three things.”
1) Take a sip of water. 2) Meditate for five minutes. 3) Walk for two minutes. That’s it. It’s not being excessive about it. It’s not going out for a run. It’s not taking these shortcuts or falling into a diet because I ate brownies that day. It’s saying, “It’s okay. The world will go on.” What are the things that we can get into that are personalized to me that will help me feel that way?
Many people jump on these, going back to the diets. They jump on these bandwagons because they hear, “I’m going to take X supplement because it’s going to stop my sugar craving. I’m going to take X supplement to help me with stress eating. I’m going to do X activity because I did that.” Why are we harming ourselves versus understanding that there’s a lot that goes into nutrition that has nothing to do with fuel but with our mental side and mind shift?
It’s about understanding the three things you can do if you do have a stress-eating moment, but you have to figure out that plan before that happens because when it happens, that’s the last thing you are going to think about. It’s one of those things that have happened to me. I’m not perfect. I share that with many people because we think that whatever our job is, we have to be perfect at it. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being sustainable.
I love the idea of having a plan when you fall off the wagon. It’s the truth about everything. Whether you have an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes, your thing is the more you obsess and beat yourself up over it, the more you trigger this response that it’s going to happen again. As opposed to saying, “That happened.”
Your thing is a deep breath, a little bit of water, and a little bit of movement. All of those things or some things similar to it are what are going to help you move to the next step. That’s fine. My next meal is going to be something that makes me feel better and good about myself because the chemical reaction in your body if you beat yourself up, is creating more problems for all of your organs than the half a pan of brownies that you ate.
If we tell our kids not to jump off that, what’s the first thing they are going to do? They are going to jump off of it. The more we say don’t do something, how can we replace it with what can we do if that situation occurs?
I don’t follow fad diets anymore. It seems like keto is still the thing. We need protein. Kids need protein as they grow and build their bodies. In my opinion, we don’t need nearly as much protein as people think. Tell me your thoughts about over-proteining because whether you are a parent, a business owner, or an athlete, it seems like people are filling up their shopping carts with many grams of protein. It’s okay if it comes in a bar form if it’s protein. What are your thoughts about that?
Some of those protein bars might be candy bars with some protein in them. Let’s put it that way to start it off. Going into the ketogenic diet real quick, we will go into the over-proteining. The ketogenic diet has medical nutrition therapy for it. When I was in school, we learned about it because it does help with epilepsy and seizures. We are talking about people who have literal brain challenges. If you are someone who has that, you can follow someone who can help you on that diet again. They do it in the short term. They don’t do it long-term.
Why has it gotten popular? It is because many people think, “If I eat a lot of protein, it puts me in ketosis, and it will help me lose weight.” It is the exact opposite of what you want. One is carbohydrate and hydrate water. When you do a low-carb diet, you tend to lose quick weight because you are losing water weight. That is it. Carbohydrate and hydrate water. You are losing water weight. You think that a quick drop in weight is because of the calories or whatever you eat. That’s wrong. Typically, most people on a ketogenic diet need to supplement with electrolytes because they are constantly dehydrated. Your internal organs are suffering. It’s not great to do the ketogenic diet from that standpoint.
Two, most people who do the keto diet do it wrong. Why? It’s because they are over-proteining. What happens is there’s something in your body, and I’m not going to get too much into the weeds here, but it’s called gluconeogenesis. Gluco means carb. Neo means new. Genesis means the creation of a new carb. It’s simple. If we restrict carbohydrates, our body takes proteins, and it says, “Proteins, welcome to the body. I’m going to make you a carb.”
If we eat too much protein, we are making it into a carb. Why don’t we eat the carbs? Eat the bread and stop eating all the protein because your body is smart and wants to survive because carbs are the body’s essential fuel source. Your body needs carbs to function. It needs fats and proteins, but in order to move, have energy, and feel great, you need to have carbohydrates.In order to move, have energy, and feel great, you need to have carbohydrate stuff. Click To Tweet
The ketogenic diet would not be recommended for most people unless you have epilepsy or seizures or you are someone who likes eating a high-fat diet, which is not many people. It’s personalizing to the person. On the over-proteining side, new research has shown that if you have about 1.6 grams per kilo of protein per day, it helps sustain muscle.
How does that translate into some number that we can talk about? If you are someone who weighs about 150 pounds, that’s close to 75 to 80 kilograms. 1.6 is about 120 grams of protein per day, which is what you are looking for. You want it to be spread throughout the day. Why? Protein helps with muscle building. When we think about longevity and long life, we want to have that protein to keep our muscle mass on.
That’s what I look for as a good starting point. Many people are doing 100 grams in one sitting. This has been shown in many studies. Let’s say we have an egg for breakfast, a chicken breast for lunch, and then for dinner, we have the big old porterhouse steak that a lot of people order. That’s a standard American diet instead of having it equally distributed throughout the day.
The reason that’s important is because there’s a light switch in your body that gets turned on and off every 3 to 4 hours. The way it gets turned on is if we eat protein. That light switch gets turned on to build muscle. That light switch gets turned off every 3 to 4 hours to use muscle energy. Our goal is to keep it consistent throughout the day, but it’s about having a consistent amount of protein throughout the day. It’s not about having that big porterhouse steak at night because having that egg and having that chicken breast may not turn on that muscle-building switch. You pretty much haven’t turned on the muscle-building switch until that nighttime.
I do feel like we are going into this over-proteining society. However, we do need protein to sustain muscle building, to live longer, to keep our balance, and to do all these things that are important. It’s that we are not understanding how to balance our plate, which is the biggest challenge. I don’t like to point anyone out, but that’s where we are going. People are eating way too much protein or not enough protein. Many carbs, not enough carbs. Way too much fat, not enough fat, because they keep trying this new fad. They keep hoping for this new strategy when it’s using what we have and what we enjoy doing.
They are putting protein in every product now. They put in a lot of these protein powders. I have nothing against China. This is nothing political, but about 95% of our protein powders or any supplement comes from China. Why is that important to us? They are putting it into our bars and foods, which aren’t third-party certified, meaning they are not checking what’s in it.
There are pictures of shops in China where it’s poorly cleaned. We see they aren’t even wearing gloves. There are a lot of animals or pests in some of these protein powders and supplements. It doesn’t have a third-party certification, meaning that what’s in the bar, bottle, or bag has nothing that is banned, and it’s also safe. We don’t know what’s in it.
I have sent some of these supplements to these third-party certification companies, and they found things. In a sleep supplement, they found methamphetamine. I don’t know what you know about methamphetamines, but meth keeps you up. You don’t want that in a sleep supplement. They have also found cocaine in some supplements. There’s so much that we are over-proteining and choosing a protein bar versus choosing food. It should always be food first if we are trying to do that, especially when it comes to protein because if you are able to choose the food, you’d get enough and not need any supplement.
Let’s talk about that from a performance standpoint. We are shifting more. It depends on where you are and what camp you are of life, but we are shifting more into an organic whole foods society. We still have some lingering thoughts of low fat, low sugar, no sugar, sugar supplements, and high protein like these non-food concepts. What are your thoughts about low fat and low sugar for high mental performance?
When we talk about low fat and low sugar, I want to make sure we always have enough fat. Why? Fats are the precursors to our hormones. When we see someone on a low-fat diet, we see low energy and low libido, regardless if you are male or female, because you don’t have enough fats in your diet to keep you going. We don’t have that mental acuity when we do low-fat diets.
I’m someone who does not want someone to be on a low-fat diet. I’d love people to be on a moderate-fat diet. About 30% of their diet, plus or minus 5%, should be where they should be in regards to their fat. Fat is important. It’s essential to our hormones, which many people when we have cut out, going back, my mom cut it out. She did it.
In regards to the sugar, that’s where it gets fun. Why? It depends on what activity you are doing. If someone likes having a soda, that’s when I tell them to have it either before or after their workouts because that’s when your body can utilize that sugar immediately for energy. Outside of that, we want to find things that are going to be higher in fiber, more natural foods that are foods. If someone likes Coca-Cola and I tell them we have to eliminate it, this is not a sustainable diet for them. How can we utilize some of these food sources for them?
For example, I had a client who loved candy. I was like, “If you want to have candy and gummy bears, have them before and after your workouts. That’s going to be the best time for us to utilize that energy.” Our body takes all carbohydrates and breaks them down to glucose, which is sugar. Our body doesn’t know. When we have some of these high fructose corn syrups, we have some of these higher sugar products, which they do because our body likes them and wants to eat more of them. That’s when it becomes a challenge or struggle.We have some of these higher sugar products which our body likes and wants to eat more of. That's when it becomes a challenge or struggle. Click To Tweet
We can use sugar as an energy source before and after workouts. That’s when I would recommend it when we are talking about those sugars. As you mentioned, and I agree, the less processed, the better. It’s been shown time and time again. I had a client send me a message and he said, “I have found myself eating slower now that my meals are more nutrient dense and not as calorie dense.”
When we have some of these higher sugar, lower fat products where they are putting a lot of replacement in, you tend to keep eating more because you don’t have that stop versus actual food, let’s say a salad or some fresh vegetables with an actual chicken breast that’s cooked with quinoa, sweet potato, potato, brown rice, whatever your carbohydrate choice may be.
It’s going to take you longer to eat that versus a sandwich with french fries. You are going to haul those down versus eating those whole foods. It’s a balance of it all. That’s where we miss the marks many times. We try to exclude them because we hear they are bad for us, but how can we utilize them? That’s what I like to look at. I don’t like to say, “It’s bad.” It’s how can we utilize it?
When is the best time? My kids are 11 and 9. We had almost no sugar other than what comes in a carb, natural food, or fruit until they went to Halloween, and they would get one candy a day. I realized that they were going nuts when they were going to their friend’s houses. It created a psychological issue, a feast or famine, and a fear mentality. I’m like, “I’m going to open that up. We are going to have what my friend calls sometimes foods and anytime foods.” I like that concept.
I brought soda into the house, and it was huge. In the last couple of years, now that they are a little bit older, we have been going mountain biking and doing these big, intense sports. We tend to do it right after. It’s a reward. It’s when our body is craving that sugar. We also will eat something high in protein at the same time so that we are not going to fall asleep on the ride home.
That’s a great way to utilize it. Thank you for sharing that because there are many parents out there who feel guilty for giving them something like that. During the holidays, a friend of ours came. They have a daughter that’s about the same age as my daughter. She’s like, “No, I’m not giving her cookies. She can’t have cookies.” As my daughter is eating a chocolate chip cookie, I’m like, “You are going to cause the same issues you have with your parents and food by doing that and hiding it.”
Am I here pushing all these foods on my daughter? Not, but I let her make these choices. I’m not perfect. My daughter had for dinner a popsicle because that’s what she wanted. It’s not the most nutrient-dense or will be helpful in the long term. It was one night of eating a popsicle. She was happy and content. Off we go with our day. Now, she is eating much better, but I love that you are utilizing that strategy. You are like, “You want to have a soda. Here’s where you can have it.”
My daughter is about to be three. She has never had a soda. Look at me. I’m the best, but we went to visit a great aunt. She’s in her 90s. She gave my daughter a soda. I wasn’t going to say no. My daughter had half a soda. She was loving it. She’s like, “I want more of this.” I’m like, “You enjoyed it. We will have this during occasions when we go out. You can have it with family members.”
When can we utilize it? Your kids that are 11 and 9 have a little bit more of a concept of understanding that, but I’m with you. It’s about having food available and allowing them to test it for themselves instead of hiding it. If not, they are going to do as you said. They are going to go to their friend’s house and go buck wild.It's about having foods available, allowing our kids to test it for themselves instead of hiding it. Click To Tweet
You also create a psychological addiction before you realize it because they can’t wait. They want to go over to that friend’s house because they know they are going to get a soda there. It becomes more of an issue. That’s where we grow into these issues as adults. Speaking of issues, what are some common deficiencies or problems that you encounter with people in leadership and business?
It’s not even a vitamin or a mineral. It’s energy. I’m sure you saw this in the agency you worked at and where you are now. You see people put their wealth before their health. They end up at this point where they feel like they are at the pinnacle of their career, or they are getting there, and they have been putting their health on the back burner.
That’s where I see many of them faltering. They get there, and they are like, “Why don’t I have energy for my family? Why don’t I have energy for work? Why do I get home and I’m grumpy all the time?” It’s because they are negating their eating. They call it fasting because they think they are doing it because it’s another fad.
They don’t understand why they are binging at night. It’s because they haven’t eaten anything all day. They wake up, drink their coffee, get a workout in, get to work, open their laptop, and have another coffee. They are going at it and getting their work done. It’s about 2:00. They notice, “I’m hungry.” They grab a chicken and salad at their local place. There are no croutons because carbs make them fat. It is what they think.
They see that brownier cooking, and they are like, “That looks good.” They debate about it for a little while. They might take it with them. They will have a nibble and have another coffee to get through the rest of their day. They keep working and work emails. The night comes. They are grumpy when they get home. No one understands why. It’s because they haven’t eaten anything all day. They eat their dinner. They keep going to the kid’s snacks at night. They keep grabbing a handful of nuts. They might go to the pantry, grab a kid’s snack, or eat something there. They are so tired that they pass out at night, and they wash and rinse for most days.
Small business owners and leadership positions lack energy. They have this fake facade that things are going well, but they use coffee as a crutch. That is the worst thing you could do because it’s a false sense of energy. It’s about having enough. One of the best things is eating a meal. Eat something. It is that simple. Many people came and were like, “I’m not hungry in the morning.” I’m like, “You don’t have to be hungry. Eat something small.”
I have had this woman I worked with. She started with three almonds. That’s all she had for breakfast. I’m not here to push. You don’t have to make this perfect breakfast with French toast or pancakes, eggs, and toast. Eat something. Not only did we start with three almonds, but she started to add more foods to her diet. She started to feel better and perform at her best. Her weight went the way what we were hoping for. We saw muscle mass go up.
It’s these small steps. She felt so much more energy running her business because she didn’t need the coffee to get through the day. She used it the way it should be. It’s an aid or supplement to get her a little bit more focused. Not all the focus she needed it. It’s a lack of energy is the biggest deficiency I see. We are told that it’s cool to fast. We don’t need to eat. You need to look a certain way. They are doing the exact opposite and hurting themselves more.
It’s that hustle mentality. If you think diet is about how you want to feel, it changes your concept and relationship with food and beverages. One of the things that I read from you is hydrate or dehydrate. We have talked about kids a lot because my kids are at home. You are about to have another one. It’s interesting. As a mother, I will tell my kids, “I’m not hungry. Eat something anyway because you are going to go to school, and you can’t eat until lunch.” At this point, they don’t have snacks anymore.
We know, as parents, what to force our children to do. We don’t necessarily force ourselves or our teams. They are going to emulate a lot of what we do. If we don’t stop for lunch and are energized in the morning and we are over-caffeinated in the morning, they are going to feel like they need to do that. Our kids and employees will mimic what we do. I’m generally not hungry in the morning, but I will grab a little something like a muffin that I made. Make it ahead of time. You can pick it up and take it with you.
The other thing that I didn’t realize until having kids is that when we eat, it kicks our digestive system into action. If we are not eating, it tells our body, “Hold off. You are not getting any food. Don’t use that energy. Don’t go into work mode because we don’t know when we are going to get food again.” If you eat in the morning, your body’s going to say, “Here we are. Let’s make it into energy because that’s what food is for.”
It’s going to start the digestive process. We are going to realize, “I am hungry in the morning. I wasn’t telling my body that I needed to be hungry in the morning. I was telling my body we are still in starvation and hibernation mode.” It’s the chemical process of how we have more control over that. Everybody’s body is different, like the number of calories and the types of foods we are sensitive to. It is interesting that even if you think about consuming food, your body will start to say, “Maybe I’m hungry.”
It’s understanding those hunger signals. Many people ignore them. There are two things, hydrate-dehydrated, and kids. Having kids, we put them on routines. We forget our routines. There was a woman I was working with. She had her kids on a sleep routine. They brush their teeth, read a book, and go to sleep. That’s what they do. That’s their routine. For her, she didn’t have a routine after that. She might pick a book and watch TV, whatever time she has left, and she will pass out. I was like, “Why don’t we create a routine for you? We have routines for our kids, but not for ourselves.
It doesn’t include drinking half a bottle of wine before bed.
That’s the other piece I forgot to mention. They get home, have their kids’ snacks, and drink half a bottle of wine. They wake up the next day like, “Why am I so tired? Let me drink some coffee.” The whole hydrate-dehydrate and even having something to eat. I gave you the keys to two cars. One car is full of gas to come to visit me. One car is empty, and you have to push it. Which one are you going to choose? The one with gas because that way, you can get here quicker. We go into these meetings and work not eating, expecting the best result when we are pushing our bodies or pushing our cars instead of driving them and being in control of them. That is one of the simplest examples I like to give.
When people lack energy and hunger cues, it goes back to hydrate-dehydrate. Hydration is one of the biggest foundations of many of us that we miss. There are three ways to test it. WUT, W stands for Weight, U stands for Urine, and T stands for Thirst. You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces. That’s what should be a good golden standard for most people.Hydration is just one of the biggest foundations that many of us miss. Click To Tweet
Any physical activity you do. If you are out mountain biking, you can weigh yourself before and after any weight you have lost. For every pound you have lost, you need to rehydrate with 24 ounces. I once had a female client that went out for a run. She was marathon training. She lost 10 pounds in marathon training. That means she needed to drink 240 ounces plus whatever she had to. We didn’t have her do that because that’s way too much water. We found electrolytes to help her hold onto the water. During her run, she had things she could bring with her. That’s one way.
The other way you could check is your urine. What color is your urine? If it looks like lemonade, you are hydrated. If it’s clear, you don’t have enough electrolytes, and it can cause cramps. If it looks like apple juice or darker, that means you need more water. Finally, thirst. Thirst and hunger in our brains are close. Sometimes, when we don’t feel like we are hungry, we are thirsty.
Why do I even bring up hydrate-dehydrate, which is what I should have started with? It affects our performance by anywhere between 7% and 10%. I want you to imagine you are trying to be your best for your job. It’s your business and leadership position, and you are showing up 90%. That’s not going to help anyone. We want you to be at 100%. If you are properly hydrated, that’s the best way to do it. Those are three ways you can check your hydration. Hydrated-dehydrated is such an easy, low-hanging fruit we can all do. It’s easily accessible. I have seen it so much that people aren’t drinking enough water. I’m glad to see you brought your water on.
One of the tips that I heard a long time ago was that the first thing to do in the morning was to drink a glass of water. You don’t have to guzzle whatever, especially if you are a coffee drinker. Drink a little bit of water, even if it’s a sip. Start with water before you drink your coffee or tea so that you are starting with hydration because you have gone at least eight hours without consuming. Sleep is a whole different thing. Read a different episode of mine to learn about sleep, but you are fasting not only with food but also with the consumption of water, which we are 80%.
At least 60% is what we are looking for. All these gut health experts, we hear, don’t even start with water. I want you to imagine. I have this on my desk. I had tools, but I had two empty paper tower rules. If we are trying to push something through that is completely dry, it’s going to take forever. We want to push something through that is wet or moist. It’s going to be easier to flush things out. If we are constantly constipated, an easy way to get our inner plumbing working is having that glass of water. Starting with a glass of water is one of the best things you can do to add to your routine if you don’t already.
I have friends who don’t like water. I love water. It’s the most delicious drink ever. I’m lucky I love vegetables. It’s okay to add stuff to your water to make it taste better. That is more important than skipping it altogether or going straight to something that is completely and utterly awful for you, like soda all the time, which is not just sugar but also dehydrating.
This is a soapbox for me. I have been interested in health and nutrition. I remember running in circles. We had a house that you could run through the kitchen into the living room and around. I would be like, “I’m exercising.” I would be like, “Dance is a great form of exercise.” All these things are where this little kid came from, and that’s still living in me, if you can imagine, with my kids. Other than hydrate, what is your best advice for top performance for any person, regardless of whether they are top athletes, trying to work their way up the ladder, or are in that leadership position already and want to be able to show up?
Not only hydrate or dehydrate, but we spoke about it, is getting in enough carbs. Many of us are lacking them and getting the right fuel. What I mean is eating. We neglected. We spoke about the lack of people who eat. They call it fasting. There is a lack of people who eat carbs because they think it’s going to help them. It’s hurting you.
Your brain is a kick in the gear. You are going in pushing a car. When you neglect carbs, which are our body’s energy source, you are not giving it the fuel it needs. You are trying to drive a car without gas, and that’s not going to work anytime. Anyone who’s in that top leadership position or anyone trying to work themselves up, it’s that they are not eating enough of the right foods, which are simple fruits and vegetables, enough carbs, enough proteins, and enough fats.
Find a balance on how to make it work. The grind is easy to get into. I was in it too. When I was starting my business, I was in the grind. I was like, “I need to practice what I preach. I need to take a step back.” I was doing 2 to 3 coffees, and it was almost a slap in the face. I was like, “How am I educating people on this if I’m not able to conquer it myself?” Those are some simple tips. It’s making sure you eat enough carbs and drink enough water. That is what most people need to do.
There are many things in life that we have to remind ourselves of how simple life is and can be. Life is energy. We are energy. Real food that comes from the planet we live on, whether it is fruits, vegetables, or meats, is in those things. Avocado, olives, and fats in the meats. Those animals are eating actual foods that are made by this planet.
Focus on the simplicity of how we were made and how our bodies convert those things into the basics that we need to survive. Survival is the baseline, which a lot of people aren’t quite there. We are at this level of energy where we are barely surviving, trying to take care of kids, family, and all of our employees and our team. We are getting, at the end of the day, going, “What did I do? Did I do anything? How did I survive this day?” As opposed to, what is the life force? How do I bring in the good energy that my body is meant to thrive?
Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves on a regular basis and not beat ourselves up. That’s a big one. We talk about half a bottle of wine, not hydrating too much coffee, and not knowing what to consume, what’s best for your body, and what you may need to cut out. I’m dairy-free, and that changed my life. Paying attention to hunger and how your body reacts to different things and being kind to your body.
We are lost in this world of information, especially when it comes to nutrition. There’s a new magic pill every day, and it’s difficult to sift through it all.
We want it to be easy. It is if you think about what I said. It’s easier than we think. There are many options and many people that make it look easy. There are surgeries, pills, and all those things that can make stuff happen fast. Is that what’s going to give you the sustained energy and the high performance you are looking for?
I have conversations with many leaders. They come to me, and they are like, “I already know nutrition.” I was like, “If you did, why are we even having this conversation.” It’s not to be in their face or blunt. We have this understanding that we know so much about it, but a lot is going on in the body that we don’t know. That’s why I went to school for it. I want to educate others on it.
I want people to perform at their best. I want people to be the best leaders, family members, and everything that they can be. I want them to be the role model in their family when it comes to nutrition. It’s setting that foundation and then building from there. Many people think they have a foundation, but we both can agree that the foundation is not well set.
There’s the other thing, which is the power of having a coach on any level. Whether it’s your business coach, fitness and exercise coach, or financial coach, the power of having a coach is that outside perspective and expertise. Sometimes, you need someone to call you on your BS to see things from a different perspective or to forgive you and say, “It’s okay that all you had was a popsicle last night, but what else did you eat during the day? What can we eat tomorrow? How can we look at next week and fill your fridge with things that are going to set you up for success.”
Looking into where we want to succeed the most is there, like a conference. Is there a big product launch that’s coming up that you need to have more energy and clarity for? Sometimes, utilizing a coach or outside perspective is the thing that’s going to get you that certain percentage higher that is the game changer that you are looking for.
You want to coach that gets you there, and you want to move on because you want to be able to do it on your own. That’s one thing I love talking about with my clients. I want them to graduate from the program. I want them to be able to do it on their own. For me, to hold someone forever is not sustainable. I want them to be able to do it on their own and understand. When they do have a popsicle, which will happen again, when the next time that happens, I want them to think about their checklist. What can they go through in their head to make sure they are successful the next time it happens? Stress comes and goes, events come and go, launches come and go, but how are you going to react in those situations?
How can people find you and get in touch with you?
They can go to NutritionFP.com/MVP. I have three things at the bottom of that website. The first is an executive wellness check-in. It’s ten questions. They can go ahead and check it out to see how they are doing in their nutrition. The second thing is a free habit tracker. You can change your habits in 30 days in regards to nutrition. It has a video of me and the free habit tracker that they can sign up for. The third thing is, if they find that they did gain value from this and they want to know a little bit more about me and even get a free diet audit, they can schedule a call there at NutritionFP.com/MVP.
I want to remind everyone, I have been in their shoes. Going back to my journey and being in this show. I suffered. I went through all these fad diets. I tried all the pills. I had disordered eating. I tried to figure it out. It wasn’t until I got the education and used it to practice with some of these elite performers that I was able to bring it back and have people and leaders perform at their best and optimize their nutrition so they can be role models for their families and worry no longer about their health. They now have their health and their wealth together. That’s NutritionFP.com/MVP. Thank you so much for having me on here. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
I want to add to that real quick. Nutrition isn’t always about weight loss. It’s about performance and state of mind, especially having gone through the pandemic. There was a whole decision crisis. We have to make decisions on a constant basis about what we put into our bodies or everything, especially what we put into our bodies and what we are giving to our kids.
Sometimes, you need to talk it through and get a plan from someone else who has had the education to give you that insight and take you to the next level. Thank you so much. I appreciate your time, insight, expertise, and energy. I hope that we have an opportunity to talk and meet again. That’s the only sad thing about my show. I’m like, “I like you. Let’s be friends and hang out.”
We can make it happen. I’m going to be on your book list. You better sign me up for that.
Thank you so much. I want to also thank our show supporters Tower Commercial Real Estate and Vine Collective. I like to thank our readers. If you would like to tell your friends, follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn. The mission of the show is to dig deep into the lives of true leaders so that others can follow, knowing that the path isn’t always easy, but the journey is worth it. Enjoy the day and live with passion.