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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Ustrzycki

Nutrition Awareness & Additional Information

This is some of the most useful information that I recommend all of my clients to understand prior to working with me. Through my years of research and education, this information has been proven true and effective no matter what your goals are, and can be applied to anyone at any point in their lives.

Protein Intake

Consuming protein every 2-4 hours can improve the process of protein synthesis (muscle growth, repair and rebuilding). When unable to access quality protein, the supplement BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) is an excellent addition.


Sodium is the sixth most abundant element on earth and found naturally in the earth and environment, always bound up in minerals and rocks. Sodium is most commonly eaten as a component of table salt, which is only partly sodium. Table salt contains 40% sodium and 60% chloride. And while we generally think of the saltshaker as the only source of sodium, sodium also exists in most whole foods, from cantaloupe to eggs. It also hides out in a lot of unlikely places, like sandwich bread, milk, and even medication. Spices are great to use for flavour and added health benefits; just watch for high sodium levels. Even tracking the salt that you add to meals is strongly recommended. I really preach on the importance of sodium intake because I went through a very long phase of holding onto a ridiculous amount of water because my sodium levels were so darn high. I want to ensure you're not following my poor choices and that we get this right as quickly as possible.

Spices are great to use for flavour and added health benefits, but watch for high sodium levels on the label.


Water intake is crucial for optimal health, as it flushes toxins out of your body and keeps you hydrated throughout the day. A lack of body hydration may result in headaches, stomach pains, trouble focusing, and bloating. Males should be consuming between 4-5 litres (128-160 ounces) of fresh, filtered, room temperate water every day, and females should be consuming anywhere from 3-4 litres (96-128 ounces.) This may depend on your activity levels as well, so it is ok if you go over this number. Adding lemon or lime to your water is also recommended as they both have strong health benefits.


You should be consuming at least 20% of your carb source from fibre (carbs are broken down into fibre, starch and sugar), but if you feel confident that your body doesn't need a certain fibre intake number, then do what is absolute best for your body.

Alcohol and Caffeine

If you are trying to lose weight and/or become healthier, all alcohol and caffeine should be eliminated as it can greatly hinder your results. If you are a daily coffee drinker then I understand that it will be hard to completely cut it out cold turkey, but it is strongly recommended to cut back if you want to be healthier. As the caffeine in your body eliminates, you may experience headaches. Please see the next section on medication to aid with headaches. Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits, liqueurs - anything with alcohol content on the label!) can greatly hinder your weight loss progress. Alcohol can it reduce testosterone in males by up to 23%. When consumed, your body sees alcohol (converted into acetaldehyde and acetate by-products) as dangerous and will want to use them as fuel to rid them from your body. This means that your body will significantly blunt fat burning by up to 75% after just one drink, and also stop using carbs for energy. So although very little alcohol will be stored as fat, the fat and carbs that you do eat will have an increased chance of being stored as fat.

Prescription Medication or Over-the-Counter Pills

In my opinion, you should not be taking any Advil or Tylenol if you have headaches, or any other symptoms for that matter. Your body is not a pile of chemicals so you should not have to take any to be able to ‘feel better’. There is the exception of doctor prescribed medicine for certain illnesses or symptoms; just make sure you know exactly what you’re consuming and why. If you do have a headache, try drinking more water. The first sign of dehydration is usually a headache. If that doesn’t help, try taking a nap or eat some health, nutrient-dense foods.


You would think eating less would result in less stomach fat. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily so. Eating less food than your body needs results in malnutrition. This can be in the form of vitamin deficiencies, protein deficiency or carb deficiency. Ultimately, this leads to starvation of the body. Your body needs a wide variety of nutrients to keep it functioning. Just like your car, if you don’t fill up every once in awhile, you won’t be going anywhere. Your body works in a similar manner. If we don’t eat enough, stored fat can’t keep the body functioning. To lose weight, you do need to cut calories and increase activity. You need to continue to eat enough food to support your body’s functions and stay healthy. Under eating means you are starving the various parts of your body and they’ll eventually quit on you. If your body isn’t getting enough food, you are going to be tired and your stomach growling and cramping may disrupt your sleep. Building and repairing muscle takes place during sleep, which can’t happen when there isn’t enough food to work with. You’re at risk for kidney failure, heart attack and even death. You will also suffer from mood swings and generally not feel well. Eating enough to supply your body with enough fuel will actually help you to lose weight. So in short, don’t think that just by eating less you will necessarily lose weight.


Always get a great sleep as inadequate sleep throws off your body’s hormonal balance, lowers strength and cognitive function. Aim for 7-8 hours each night.

Resistance Training & Cardio

If you participate in one of my training programs, you'll definitely be making even more progress than if you just did the flexible dieting program. Remember that quality will always trump quantity. Make sure that your form is proper and your reps look smooth before you even think about going heavier. I prefer (for myself and all of my clients) to weight train (resistance training) for weight loss versus high amounts of cardio. In my opinion, you will plateau quickly during cardio and to progress you basically have to do more. High-intensity cardio (HIIT) is great because it doesn't require a lot of time and it's extremely effective. I believe that conditioning is good and everyone needs to do it in some way or another. Conditioning work just about always trumps steady-state cardio, but there is a time and a place for effective steady-state cardio.

Common foods that cause inflammation:

Cow's milk (and almost all dairy)


Soy foods


Crustacean shellfish (such as shrimp, prawns, lobster and crab)

White sugar and sweets

Food additives (colours, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc.)


Hydrogenated and trans fats (margarine)

Salt (although sodium is good for you!)

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