Spartan warriors knew how to build a strong, lean physique. Here are 9 nutrition rules to eat like a spartan in the 21st century.
Eat just enough
Spartan warriors were noted for their sparing approach to food. That’s not to say they under-ate (they had to fuel those battle-ready workouts!) But they certainly weren’t gluttons. Eat like a spartan by focusing on portion size and stopping before you’re full.
The Spartan way of eating was protein-rich, with meat, offal and even blood making up many meals. Take this approach into your modern-day diet by calculating your protein intake (1.2kg-2kg protein per 1kg bodyweight) and prioritising natural, wholefood protein sources.
Focus on wholefoods
Spartans obviously would have eaten mostly wholefoods (it’s what was available). It’s not as easy for us, with food manufacturing, marketing, and easy access to all kinds of food around the clock. Eat like a modern-day Spartan by trying the 80/20 rule, with 80% of your calories coming from wholefoods like meat, fish, eggs, wholegrains and vegetables.
Living in ancient Greece, Spartans would have had access to beautiful fresh fruit including figs, peaches, apricots and nectarines. Match their approach by eating what’s in season wherever you live. The best way to do this is to shop local, from farmers markets or food co-operatives rather than big chain food stores.
Plenty of grains
The Spartan way of eating prioritised energy and strength, without placing stress on the digestion. One of the ways they achieved this was through wholegrains like barley, which would have been abundant at the time. Barley isn’t as easy to get hold of these days, so make sure you eat ancient grains like bulgar, buckwheat, and amaranth (not just porridge oats).
Spartan warriors did drink, but preached the negative effects of alcohol. And remember, wine back then was nothing like today’s alcoholic drinks. Make like a Spartan and cut way back on your alcohol intake in terms of frequency and amount. Spartans also mixed their wine with water – a helpful reminder to include plenty of water if you do go out drinking.
Olives and olive oil
Spartans would have eaten plenty of olives and pressed olive oil. Replicate their approach to healthy fats by eating olives (if you like them) and using the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on. It’s a great source of energy, healthy fats and omega fatty acids. And yes, you can cook with it.
Back in Spartan times, many foods were fermented to help with storage. These days, we don’t need to use fermentation as a food hygiene strategy, but it has a ton of health benefits. Introduce some fermented foods into your diet to eat like a Spartan. Ideas include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, kombucha and tempeh. Try to eat at least one fermented food every day for gut health.
Bread – but make it real
Spartans famously ate bread, but of course it was nothing like today’s mass-produced sliced loaves. Spartan bread would have been more like today’s real sourdough. Cut back on your supermarket bread and treat yourself to real sourdough (made with a starter) from a bakery.
At Gravity Fitness we believe in helping you unleash your inner warrior. Check out the Gravity store for quality calisthenics and unconventional training equipment so you can get fit and strong on your own terms.
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