The Nitty-Gritty of Nutrition Fundamentals | ClubSport San Jose Health and Fitness Gym

The Nitty-Gritty of Nutrition Fundamentals

We’re going to navigate nutrition today because we all likely know what comprises healthy eating, but sometimes we get lost in the information.

Should I do keto? What’s paleo? How about intermittent fasting? These are all questions many of us wrestle with when it comes to optimal eating and nutrition to support our fitness goals.

Embark on your wellness journey with Club Sport San Jose! Elevate your fitness and nutrition understanding and be able to tangibly apply it to your daily life when you train at our facility. Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of nutrition in today’s post.

The Rock, Pebble, and Sand Parable (And How it Relates to Nutrition)

Are you familiar with this parable?

It goes like this:

A professor placed an empty jar on their desk and filled it with a couple of rocks and proceeded to ask their students if the jar was full.

Well, of course, they all agreed.

Not so fast.

Then he proceeded to fill the empty spaces with pebbles. The students confirmed that now, it was indeed filled.


Sand was the last thing he poured in the jar until every nook and cranny was touched, now it was completely full.

Let’s distill the different pieces and the roles they play in filling the jar.

The larger rocks are the foundation — the most important information.
The pebbles represent important facets, but in no way are critical.
The sand depicts small, mindless things.

This is how it is to wade through the principles of nutrition.

With an influx of nutrition information — and misinformation — it is difficult to navigate what the fundamentals of nutrition are. So, let’s use the parable to dive more deeply.

Nutrition Rocks

The rocks are the fundamentals of nutrition — the pillars, the things you want to focus almost solely on. Start here, fill your jar with rocks before you fill it with pebbles or sand.

Clear the junk.

We all know (and love the junk) but this is the apex in getting your nutrition in order. It’s beginning to move from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and towards a whole, unprocessed diet.

The more we can adopt Michael Pollan’s philosophy of

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

The healthier we’ll be, but he also adds “the more we worry about nutrition, the more unhealthy we become.”

Which brings us right back to the rocks in our jar. Let’s not worry so much about whether or not we should eat after 6 pm or whether intermittent fasting is right for you, but rather are you eating a whole-foods diet?

How a Whole-Foods Diet Unfolds

Do we know how to eat a whole-foods diet? Let’s examine this — even if it seems convoluted and arbitrary!

Prepare your food.

This is a foundation in eating healthy and in the whole-food approach. It’s avoiding processed foods such as take out, and foods and snacks that are packaged.

Even when you’re cooking the so-called “unhealthy” foods such as fries or sweets, you can cook them much healthier because you can control what’s going into them, thus reducing the sugar, salt, fat, etc. And, they’re not laden with chemicals are damaging oils.


Consistency is also a vital part of eating healthy. Sure, we can all make better choices for a day or a week, but setting sustainable eating habits is where you’re really going to see the benefits. The consistency soon turns into a lifestyle change.

Cut the sugar.

This one may seem like it’s on repeat, probably because it is! Reducing your sugar intake is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health, because, as we know, sugar is detrimental to our health.

Sugar spawns inflammation, evokes fat production, and even impairs our immune system — that is just scratching the surface.

How do you ditch the sugar?

Begin with the big offenders. This includes food and beverages such as:

Sweetened beverages
Baked goods
Sweet snacks

And, if you don’t know, food creeps into things we don’t even realize.

Salad dressings
Spaghetti sauce
Health bars

One more thing about sugar — starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice, etc) rapidly digest into glucose, which is sugar.

How to Build Your Plate

To keep it simple, and to avoid overthinking nutrition, build your plate in the following way:

Pick a protein (avoid anything fried)
Fill the rest with vegetables (the more variety the better)
Add in a grain (if your body tolerates them)
Have a healthy fat (a drizzle of olive oil on your veggies, freshly made guacamole

Nutrition Pebbles

Once your nutrition foundation is built, you can get more focused on the smaller details of your diet. Begin exploring different avenues that may impact your training and fitness goals.

Pass on the alcohol.

Alcohol could be included in the rocks of nutrition, but it’s a difficult habit to curb. Drinking is an American pass time — we do it to celebrate, to de-stress, and for just about every emotion and occasion in between.

The problem is, alcohol interferes with our fitness and health goals.

So, if you’re considering different options to elevate your training, try cutting out alcohol for at least 21 days.

Try a different diet approach.

Once you have the fundamentals down, you can begin experimenting with different diet approaches. There are a myriad of nutrition approaches to try, but some of the most popular include:

Intermittent Fasting
Blood Type Diet

It’s important to recognize that every person is different, so what feels good for you and supports your health goals, may be something totally different for someone else.

Incorporating supplements.

Supplements can be a wonderful way to heighten your recovery and support your body as you begin to train harder and/or longer. Supplements to consider include:

Fish Oil
Pre and Post Workout Drinks
Vitamin D
Protein Powder

Nutrition Sand

These are the smallest details in a person’s nutrition and they’re often implemented when the rocks and pebbles have been addressed.

This could be nutrition timing — keeping your meals to a certain time each day and consuming proteins and carbs in a certain window after lifting.

Experimenting with three strict meals a day versus three meals with a couple of snacks in-between.

Cleanses and detoxes

When exploring nutrition, it can be overwhelming with all the new fads and recommendations, but think back to the rock, pebble, and sand parable and ask yourself how and where it fills your jar — work on the basics and move from there.

For more information about the nutrition support we offer, connect with us today!

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