Keys To Your Nutrition Success
To sculpt the body you’ve always wanted, your diet needs to be consistent. Remember, real fat loss isn’t the result of a few days or couple of weeks of dieting. Lasting weight loss is a product of week to week, months at a time! It takes time, and the people around you who’ve done it will tell you that’s the most important lesson.
Once the weight is gone, consistency will help you develop new, life-long eating patterns to ensure that you’ll always be pleased by the way you look and feel!
- Meal Frequency
One of the easiest, life-long patterns you can adopt is eating a small snack or meal every three hours. This provides you with the nutrients you need to feel energized throughout the day, maintain your sexy muscle tone, and fire up your metabolism. With your metabolism in high gear, your body will be primed to burn fat for fuel, not store it as stuffing. Instead of the typical 3 meals daily, you’ll be eating every 2-3 hours, having 5-6 quality meals throughout the day. This keeps your body burning fat and utilizing calories for energy-a key to staying lean and toning your muscles. Eating this often will help keep hunger under control, keep your metabolism high, and reduce those pesky cravings.
- Tools And Meal Prep Notes
Controlling your environment ensures that you’ll always be prepared for annoying dieting hurdles. Next time, you won’t get stuck with a bag of chips and a soda at lunch, or scrambling for drive-through breakfast on the way to work. You’ll have everything ready when you need it! Controlling your diet also means that you’ll love the meals you prepare and the foods you eat. Cook, measure, and prepare food in advance so you’ll never be left hungry.Invest in some plastic containers, ice-packs, and a lunch box or cooler to bring your food wherever you go.
Let’s chat about calories, and how you to use them to your advantage for weight loss. Not sure what calories are? The body needs energy to carry out daily activities. This energy comes from the foods we eat. More specifically, it comes from the calories within those foods. Look at a nutrition label, and you’ll be able to see exactly what we’re talking about.
- Fat Loss Ratio
In order to promote maximum fat loss and keep muscle definition, you’re going to tilt your calorie intake towards favoring protein and carbohydrates over fats. Your fat loss program will be broken down to a specific ratio. The 40/40/20 ratio is formulated to help you lose fat, maintain muscle mass, and live healthy and happily. It breaks down to 40% of your calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates, and 20% coming from fat.
You want to take in enough calories so you can lose fat and still have energy for your workouts. To determine this number, multiply your current weight by 10-12 calories. (If you’re 120lbs., this would be 1200-1440 calories.) For most, this will translate to 1200 to 1700 calories a day, and will show you the perfect range for fat loss. You don’t want to go much below 1200 calories each day, or you may not get the nutrients needed for good health.
The balance between what you eat and what your body uses will determine fat loss. If you eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight, the pounds will come off as your body pulls from fat stores to provide energy. Put simply, losing fat requires dropping calories. It’s a sad realization, I know, but it’s also a true one! If you see a diet promising weight loss without a change in eating habits, it’s probably too good to be true.
- What You Should Be Eating
Now that I’ve covered how often you’ll be eating, and how many calories you need for your goal, let’s talk about what you’ll be eating. The basics boil down to the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source, and probably the most heated topic of debate in nutritional circles. We’ll leave the debate out of it and stick with what works. Start eating a palm-sized portion of carbohydrates with each meal of the day. Some good sources are sweet potatoes, yams, oatmeal, whole grain bread, and whole grain pasta. For your evening meals, stick with leafy green vegetables, which have a higher fiber content to keep you full and feeling good. Avoid refined ‘white’ carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, starchy foods, or sweets that are high in calories and low in nutrients.
Protein is responsible for tissue growth and repair, and thus is extremely important to your lean muscle. Stick with a palm-sized portion of protein with each and every meal throughout the day. Chicken, turkey, salmon or tuna, lean beef, eggs, low fat cottage cheese, and protein powders are all excellent sources. Your goal should be to get about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. If you’re finding it difficult to hit this mark, have a whey isolate shake once or twice a day to bump up your intake.
Fats are another area of nutrition riddled with strange myths. Truthfully, the right fats are necessary to lose fat! Healthy fats play a major role in hormone production, skin tone, and brain function. I recommend getting a small serving of natural peanut butter, almonds, flaxseed oil, fish oil, or avocados with every meal. Avoid saturated and trans-fat sources like potato chips and fried foods. These are a quick path to love handles, not abs of steel.
As you progress, you may notice weight loss slowing down. At this point, it’s a good idea to remove an additional 250 calories from the number we calculated earlier, and check your weight loss at the end of each week. If you’re back on the right path, continue forward with that number of calories. If you’re not losing weight again, drop another 250 calories and you’ll be back on track. The easiest and best way to make this adjustment is to decrease the portion size of a few meals.
Since you need each and every meal to keep your metabolism high, never completely remove a meal. Also, remember that the scale isn’t always your best critic. It is possible to cut fat without a huge change in weight. If your weight isn’t dropping but your body looks great, you might be losing fat while adding muscle. When this happens, the mirror should always be your ultimate judge.
- Nutrition On Workout Days
This covers your diet on non-training days, but on days when you’re in the THE EDGE, you’ll need to pay added attention to two specific meals: pre- and post-workout. Your pre-workout meal should contain lean protein and complex carbohydrates. If you’re short on time, make a protein shake.
Just make sure you eat about 1-1.5 hours before training to avoid a stomach ache! This will provide you with the fuel you need to blast through your workout and kick your body into fat-burning, muscle-building mode. Once you’ve done your time in the gym, your body will need extra nutrients to start repair and recovery. A shake with whey protein isolate and a carbohydrate, like ground oatmeal or maltodextrin, is the fastest way to kick-start muscle repair and restore used energy.
You Can Do It!
Be Intentional, Be Empowered…