The Secret to Every Fad Diet. Training for Warriors Portland



I've been listening to some great podcasts and audio (and traditional) books on the topic of nutrition lately. Some of the most brilliant minds in the health and fitness world have many different perspectives, details, strategies, mindsets, and methodologies. I'm consistently impressed with... how the vast majority says the same thing.

80-90 percent of sources agree on the basics. In fact, if you follow the basics of most nutrition plans you would eat:

  • Whole foods
  • Less processed food
  • Lean protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Lots of veggies
  • More nutrients and fewer calories

At Training for Warriors Portland, we don't advocate for a diet. We choose to eat real food, consistently.

Whether your diet is Paleo, Atkins, Mediterranean or South Beach, when you enter the food from the diet into a nutrition plan, you come up with similar results. The food choices would be in similar categories, the nutrients would be dense and the calories would be low. And chances are, you are eating simple, whole foods that are prepared by you or minimally prepared by another.

Which is why our motto is simple: We don't diet, we just eat real food. Specifically, we eat real food from a short list of the most nutrient-dense foods available.

We use a list called the Warrior 20. It is fairly straightforward... and yes, it works with all of the following food rules!

So you're probably saying to yourself, "I'm glad you understand how to build muscle and burn fat with your diet, Josh, but I don't!!! What are the rules? What do I eat?"

Here are the big ones, in no particular order.

Habit 1: Slow down when eating. Eat until you are 80% full.

This is probably the single toughest habit because many of us eat while doing other things, thus it is new for us to set a timer and not be in a huge hurry. I'm surprised to find that when I am watching Game of Thrones and eating dinner, my meal may not even make it through 6 minutes of screen time!

Take a moment to relax and breathe, ESPECIALLY when there are plenty of reasons to be in a hurry. If your meal takes an extra 4 minutes, you'll be fine. You know that you're successfully applying this habit  if you feel like you could eat again 2-3 hours after a meal. If you aren't hungry until hour four or so, it's likely that you overshot your portions.

Habit 2: Eat protein dense foods with each meal.

Simple enough. Men should aim for between 30g and 40g of protein per meal. Women between 20g and 30g per meal. The reason protein should be eaten with each meal is because if you save all of your protein needs for dinner, you would need to eat a 10 to 16-ounce steak! Break it up over the course of your day and you will have a FAR easier time building muscle and burning fat.

Protein is an interesting topic because so many of us were told so many different things. The reality is that how much protein we need varies dramatically based on the kind of training you are doing, your goals and where your body is at TODAY.

Start small, measure your results, and determine what changes need to be made when you step on the scale again.

Habit 3: Eat vegetables with each meal.

2 servings is a great portion (1/2 cup of broccoli/cruciferous vegetable OR 1 Cup of Leafy Green = 1 Serving.) You are aiming for 6-10 servings per day depending on your schedule and goals.

Vegetables are extremely important to your brain and body (no news there). Alkaline load for the bloodstream helps with bone health and cancer, fiber for the blood sugar and GI tract, and color... which is an important indicator of all the different kinds of nutrients you are getting.

Habit 4: For fat loss, eat a majority of carbs after exercise.

Make sure your carbs are from whole foods. Rice, potato, fruit, vegetables... so long as it's a whole food, you are in great shape!

Habit 5: Eat healthy fats daily.

1/3rd of your calories will be from fat. In turn, 1/3 of your fat should be:

  • Saturated (eggs, dairy, meat, coconut oil, palm oil)
  • Unsaturated (macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, pumpkin, tahini, hazelnuts, olives, avocado)
  • Polyunsaturated (Fish oil, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, brazil nuts)

Those are the fundamentals of nutrition! If you use modern diet trends, these habits will likely be compatible with the plan.

On the surface, it sounds simple. TOO Simple. Because compared to how we are used to thinking about nutrition, it IS simple.

Often times, we use complexity to sedate ourselves. To dampen interest and motivation to tackle something, we will hype up the amount of commitment, challenge, inter-connectedness of habits to disincentivize our action-taking. We do this frequently with large topics such as money, travel, learning new skills like languages or martial arts. Fitness is no different....

IN FACT, the fitness industry consistently obfuscates the truth in a misplaced effort to educate. Coaches, nutritionists, trainers talk about things like hormones, chemistry, phenotypes, and genetics so that they sound confident and well read. These "explanations" are distracting and discouraging for people looking to get fit because the reality is less sales-y and less appealing.

Reality is: You already know what to do.

You know that eating broccoli and avocado is going to make your brain feel better. You know that resistance training will keep muscle on your body and build up some more, and help you get rid of that excess 5 (or 15!) percent body fat that makes you tired and less-resilient.

You know that eating protein and veggies with every meal is going to make you feel better. Yet you also know that you will need some momentum-building explosion to break out of the habit-gravity and leave the atmosphere.

A kickstart is nice, once you have ignition!

Coach Josh here, from Training for Warriors Portland... helping YOU bring out the warrior within.


  • Drink NO calories. That means water, green tea, you get the picture!
  • Supplements are meant to supplemental
  • Be mindful of sneaky calories like dressing and toppings
  • Log your food once a week to enhance your awareness about your meals.