By Thomas Robson-Kanu
It sounds far more complicated than it should! Functional nutrition is based on a really simple fact; we’re all different. Different heights, weights and with different genes and lifestyles. Generic diets and fitness can therefore only take you so far – there’s a ceiling to their effectiveness. Functional nutrition is all about understanding what your body needs, and then choosing foods based on those needs.
HOW CAN IT BE APPLIED?
Given the personalized nature of functional nutrition, there is no step-by-step, one-size-fits-all guide.
I’d recommend making an appointment with a nutritionist or chatting to your doctor. The goal is to start building a better picture of your habits and health so you can start making better dietary decisions. How quickly are you burning calories? How active are you? What are your snacking habits like?
Although everyone is different, a solid foundation for any functional and nutritious diet, is one packed with whole foods, fruit and veg, and less processed foods. ‘Whole foods’ refers to food that’s undergone minimal processing, therefore retaining a high amount of its nutritional composition.
HOW CAN I GET STARTED?
Make the first move today. It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of life, we often don’t take the time to take a step back and think about how to look after ourselves better. I was in a very privileged position with my career as soccer player, where my nutritional intake and lifestyle were carefully monitored. Without such luxuries, it’s harder to make this a priority. But you should. The better you understand what’s really going on with you, the better nutritional decisions you can make, and the better you’ll feel!
TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE BENEFITS
Rather than bulking up on the cheapest protein powder you can find on the internet, take the time to understand the way you’re metabolizing and processing foods. It’ll make a massive difference to the way you prepare and recover from working out. What you should be eating, and when, will be different to the person next to you in the gym. To get the most out of your training, it pays to take a more functional approach to your nutrition.
ANYTHING ELSE TO NOTE?
Enjoy the process! Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying there’s much ‘fun’ in functional nutrition, getting to know yourself better can be so rewarding. Whether you’re getting to know your mind better in meditation or your body with functional nutrition, taking the time to be more aware, and to take more care of yourself will make you a happier, healthier person.
Thomas Robson-Kanu is a professional soccer player, functional nutrition expert and founder of The Turmeric Co.
To delve deeper into optimizing your health according to your unique genetic makeup, try BODY TYPE TRAINING- FACT OR FICTION?