Controlling your weight is not a particularly complex process, but it is a struggle for most people. The good news is that time, patience, commitment and perseverance can and will work wonders, no matter the starting level or your current physical condition. If you have those key elements, read on to discover the science of starting a proper performance diet to meet your goals.
The truth is, the food, or fuel, you provide your body can literally make or break your efforts. I can tell you from first-hand experience that your diet will contribute to at least 75% of your success. If you’re working out regularly and can’t seem to drop the weight, diet is most likely part of the problem.
Before you start developing your own personal nutrition plan, you must understand that there are no quick fixes or magical diet solutions. You can most definitely change your body; however, you need to view this as a long-term project and lifestyle change, regardless of what some misguided social media guru tells you. Here are my tried and true rules that break down the science behind a proper nutrition plan, which will work with your efforts to exercise and help you reach your goals.
Rule 1: Aim to eat at least five times a day.
I know that sounds high, but two of these meals can be regarded as snacks, provided they contain sufficient calories to get you to your next meal and that they are comprised of the appropriate ratio of macronutrients (don’t worry, I will explain macronutrients in rule 2). By eating every few hours your blood sugar and insulin levels will be stable and controlled, and you will get protein in small amounts throughout the day to support growth and recovery. Most importantly, body fat won’t be stored! By providing your body a consistent and frequent supply of just the right number of calories, its need to store fat is reduced. Instead, your body will utilize fat as an energy source.
Rule 2: Balance will always be the key to success.
When planning each of your meals or snacks, finding the right balance of macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) is key! A caloric ratio of approximately 1-part fat, 2 parts protein and 3 parts carbohydrates is a good place to start, then you can adjust as needed. Keep in mind, this is just an estimate for the average person. Depending on your daily work routine or training protocol, you may need more or less carbohydrates for energy to perform. I will explain this further in rule three.
Back to rule two, and this is important! Fat is essential for maintaining good health and it’s needed to manufacture many important hormones in your body, so don’t attempt to delete the fats out of your diet. Just try to keep saturated fats (from animal sources) at a minimum, and unsaturated fats (i.e. olive oil, canola oil, nuts, etc.) predominant.
When it comes to carbs, choose low glycemic carbohydrates (think vegetables, beans, whole grains, etc.), which are converted to blood sugar slowly so you can control your insulin levels. Remember, carbohydrates are our body’s preferred energy fuel source, although fats work well too, particularly during aerobic training (i.e. cardio, spinning, hiking, swimming or running). What’s important to keep in mind is that protein and carbohydrates both have 4 calories per gram, while fats have 9 calories per gram. It’s also essential to note that alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, and you’ll need to think about that when adjusting your calories if you plan on having an alcoholic beverage at some point in the process.
Rule 3: When you sit down to eat, ask yourself, “What am I going to be doing for next few hours of my day?”
If you’re going to sit on the couch watching tv, or maybe even sit at a desk studying, eat fewer calories in carbohydrates. If you plan to train, eat more carbohydrates to fuel the workout. In other words, adjust your carbohydrates up or down depending on your anticipated energy output. Always remember, your pre-workout carbohydrates should be low glycemic to give you a steady release of energy without spikes or crashes as a simple carbohydrate (i.e. snacks that contain processed sugars) would promote.
Rule 4: Less is More
You cannot lose fat quickly and efficiently unless you are in a negative calorie balance, which means: you must take in fewer calories than you are burning. You also cannot gain muscle tissue quickly and efficiently unless you are in a positive calorie balance, taking in more calories than it takes to maintain your current weight.
How can you determine how many calories it takes to maintain your current weight? Visit Gohardlife.com and use our free TDEE calculator (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) using your current body stats (age, height, current weight, body fat percentage and activity level). This handy tool will determine how many calories your body requires.
Rule 5: Supplement Your Diet
It’s almost impossible to get all of the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy and active from food alone, especially if your diet is in a caloric deficit for weight loss. Therefore, it is important to supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, aminos, proteins and other carefully selected supplements to ensure maximum progress toward your fitness, health, muscle building, and fat loss goals. Betancourtnutrition.com stocks all of your essential and non-essential supplements you may need and I stand behind them 100%. Betancourt Nutrition is my source for the supplements I use to help reach my goals, and I highly recommend this brand.
If you are interested in training with @MrGoHardLife by developing a personal workout regimen and nutrition plan that’s just for you, contact the GoHardLife team by filling out the Contact form on the homepage of www.gohardlife.com.