When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, your diet comes into play quite a bit! About 75% of your physique changes, whether good or bad, come from how you are eating! So what should you do to get the most out of each meal for positive health changes, and to produce maximum results in the gym or on the field? Through this post, you will learn what type of diet will best accommodate a healthy individual to reach his or her health and fitness goals!
It all starts with the goal you have in mind! Without that, it is very hard to decide what route to take and focus on. So first decide what you want to get out of your exercise and nutrition! Do you want to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain a slim healthy athletic body? When you know which of these appeals to you most, you can focus on what is needed to accomplish it.
Like most people who go to the gym and eat healthy, your main focus is to lose weight by burning more fat! That’s great! Congratulations on making the right choice by learning how to do it correctly! When it comes to achieving that goal, the diet is huge! Which is soon how you will no longer feel! This is where a lower carbohydrate diet works well. I am not saying to cut out carbs completely, but limit the amount you eat, and stick to healthier, complex carbohydrate choices. These include sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, vegetables, and more. Fruits are also a good part of a meal, but should be limited as well as they are a more simple carb containing mostly sugars. What people tend to over look is this. Decreasing carbohydrates takes away from your body’s most immediate source of energy. So you should be replacing some of those carbs with healthy fats. This will increase your energy levels, along with boosting your beta oxidation (metabolizing fats). These healthy fats consist of avocado, nuts, coconut oil, and more. So decrease, not eliminate, your carbohydrate intake (no to less than 100 grams per day though) and slightly increase your healthy fats intake. Just keep an eye on your portion control when it comes to using fats as part of your meal. I like using slightly less than 1 – 2 tbsp at a time.
Gain Weight (Build Muscle)
So, you’re already feeling pretty lean, and want to build up some more muscle mass and overall strength! Awesome! It will take some work and time, but by learning hear how to do it the proper way, it’s almost like taking a short cut, and making all this progress much quicker! For this plan, you will want to consume more carbohydrates as they will aid in a calorie surplus, energy for the gym or practice, and muscle recovery! It is still beneficial to consume mostly complex carbohydrates as listed in the section above. However, as you are building more muscle, it is okay, and actually really good sometimes to throw in some simple carbohydrates such as sugars or white grains before and after a training session! Since you are getting the majority of your calories from carbohydrates with this diet, you will not necessary need to consume a large amount of fats. Save your appetite for more carbs and protein, while keeping fats to only 20% of your total daily calories.
Maintaining What You’ve Got
You’ve put in the hard work, and are proud or content with what you have done for yourself. At least for the time being. That’s really good! Be proud of yourself, and don’t let it slip away! This diet is a little easier to maintain, as you do not need to drastically cut anything out, nor do you need to force yourself to eat more in order to make changes. If you are simply trying to maintain the body you already have, you should keep your total daily calories at a comfortable level. This means, eat until you are satisfied, but not overly full! You really don’t need to watch every calorie you consume unless you see a quick fluctuation in your weight, or lifts. Carbohydrates should still include mostly complex carbohydrates, and the majority of fats should come from healthy, unsaturated sources. Maintain a consistent nutrient split of 45% carbs, 30% protein, and 25% fats.
So a good general rule for losing weight is to cut down on carbohydrates, make good choices on the carbs you do eat, slightly increase your healthy fats intake, and drink plenty of water. For gaining weight or building muscle, increase your carb intake, and keep most of them complex carbs from natural food sources, but allow for some simple carbs before and after a training session. Protein intake should remain the same whether you are trying to build muscle, or burn fat. 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight. This is to aid in protein synthesis, increase muscle recovery, and keep you feeling full and energized! So in the end, they’re not drastic changes! Just adjustments to the choices of foods you eat, which all together can make a big difference in you health, energy levels, physique, and/or performance on the field!
Thank you for reading, and I hope this article helped you understand how to go about your diet to achieve your fitness goals, and the body you really want! For more information or training, please visit my Online Training, Programs, Custom Meal Plans, and other Blog Posts!
Below is a quick look at a basic day of nutrition for a healthy individual looking to lose weight or gaining mass
Weight Loss Diet – Low carb
Breakfast: (Eggs & Oatmeal) – 2 Whole Eggs, 2 Egg Whites, 1/2 Cup Oatmeal (measured dry), Cinnamon and a tsp Stevia in the oats for flavor.
Post Workout: Protein Shake (1 scoop protein isolate mixed in water), and 1 apple, hand full of Almonds.
Lunch: (Grilled chicken salad) – 5oz grilled chicken, Hand full of Spinach, 1 cup of any vegetables, 2 tbsp of any nuts or seeds, 1 tbsp Olive Oil, Optional – Balsamic Vinegar for flavor.
Dinner: 6 oz Fish or Red Meat, 1 Medium (150 grams) Sweet Potato,
Night Snack: 1 Rice Cake, 2 tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter, 1 Scoop Casein Protein Powder mixed in Water.
Mass Gaining Diet – High Carb
Breakfast: (Eggs & Oatmeal) – 2 Whole Eggs, 2 Egg Whites, 1 cup Oatmeal (measured dry), 1 Banana sliced, Cinnamon and a tsp Stevia in the oats for flavor.
Post Workout: Protein Shake (1 scoop protein isolate mixed in water or milk), 2 cups of Cereal.
Lunch: (Grilled chicken and Rice) – 5oz Grilled Chicken, 1.5 cups Rice (measured dry), 1/4 cup of any Vegetables, Optional – Lemon Juice, tsp of your favorite Seasoning.
Snack: (Wrap or Sandwich) – 2 oz Grilled Turkey or Chicken, small hand full Spinach, Tomato slice, 1 Whole Wheat Tortilla or 2 slices of Whole Grain Bread.
Dinner: 6 oz Fish or Red Meat, 1 Large (300 grams) Sweet Potato. 1/2 Cup Black Beans, 1 glass of Milk, Optional – favorite seasoning for flavor.
Night Snack: 1 Rice Cake, 2 tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter, 1/4 Banana sliced, 1 Scoop Casein Protein Powder (mixed in water or milk)