Nutrition is a hotly debated topic in the world of fitness and the general public. And while we are not going to provide any one school of thought to follow, this article serves to cover the basics. The key thing to understand is that it does not matter how intelligent your fitness plan is unless you have an adequate environment outside of the gym to support adaptation. This means you must treat your body like a MACHINE, so we need to both feed and rest it well.
It must be mentioned that if you want to adapt to a training program, you NEED TO EAT. Many people think that starving themselves is a good way to lose weight, but an alternative idea is to simply turn your body into a metabolic MACHINE, so that your metabolism is higher at all times. This makes you require more calories to just maintain your current body weight, and your body will thank you for allowing it to live in abundance.
These guidelines can work for any type of dietary system, so whether you are vegetarian, keto, or have allergies/restrictions, these principles still apply.
If weight loss or gain is your goal, then your food intake truly is the most important factor to what influences the scale. Training will more influence your abilities and your composition.
- To gain weight/size, you must eat a small surplus consistently. To lose weight/size, you must eat at a small deficit consistently. To maintain, simply match the caloric needs.
- Training for strength and speed and eating throughout the day also raises your metabolism in general. This makes it easier to get and stay lean.
- Eat like our ancestors. As close to the way nature intended is how we were meant to eat. That means more grocery shopping in the produce section and less in the cereal aisle.
Tracking your intake
We personally do not count and do not require you to do so. Instead, we want you to stick to a diet model that allows for some food flexibility but also ensures you hit your nutritional needs consistently. You will want to eat more on days you train and less on days when you are not as active. Once you have a sample day in mind of what a good day of eating looks like and hits your macro/micro nutrients and calorie needs, then you can string together days, weeks, and months of those sample days, and you can intuitively eat healthier without weighing and tracking and measuring to the nth degree. If you do not mind tracking that strictly, then by all means do so. It will be most effective to do it that way, it just is not time efficient for most.
Calculating Your Needs
First thing we need to do is figure out how much food we need to survive. I will use myself as an example in the following exercise.
Height: 5’10.5 Weight: 182 Age: 25
Enter your information into this calculator to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). There is more information about what the BMR is and strategies to increase it on the same page below the calculator.
Let’s look at my results…
“Daily exercise or intense exercise 3-4 times/week” is what I chose for my activity level, so 2,828 calories per day is what I would look to eat most days to maintain my weight.
On lazy days when I do nothing, I will eat a few hundred less than that number, and on days I squat heavy, I’ll eat more. So there is some flexibility there. But the point is, I stay close to that number and track my body weight each week to make sure there is not much fluctuation there since my goal is to improve relative strength. That means little change in bodyweight while facilitating strength gains and athletic performance improvement.
For weight loss, you would follow the same concept, except you would want to shoot for a deficit every day of 300-500 calories. On days that you need more energy, eat more, and on lazier days, eat less. But you want only a small deficit and a small amount of weight loss each week (.5-1 lb) to ensure a healthier and longer lasting change. In conjunction with strength and high intensity conditioning, you will lean out like you want to. You will have to deal with some hunger, which is why eating higher nutrition foods is important. You will get the nutrients you need with fewer calories. Vitamin supplements are acceptable as well if you feel you are deficient in something.
Our Diet Model
The diet model is basically a sample day of eating. Here is roughly what we eat each day and has allowed us to maintain our weight while making small strength/speed performance improvements each week/month.
Meal 1: Breakfast Wrap: 3 eggs with a handful of spinach cooked in with it, 2 strips of bacon cooked in olive oil
Fruit Smoothie: Frozen mixed berries, handful of spinach, half cup of oats, 2 cups lactose free milk
Meal 2: Bowl: 7 oz Steak or Salmon, 4 medium sized shrimp and ¼ cup white rice bowl
Meal 3: Salad: Spinach base, ½ orange bell pepper, 4 strawberries, ½ chicken breast, Italian dressing
Snacks/Supplements: 2 IsoPure (lactose free on amazon) protein shakes (25g protein each) with lactose free milk, ½ green apple with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, multivitamin on occasion
Occasionally we will have cheats: Oreo ice cream sandwiches, a toaster strudel, a Chick-fil-a sandwich, alcohol on Saturday nights out (mainly vodka sodas or light beers), but we try to limit this as much as possible, even going longer periods of time with no alcohol at all.
If you are a member of the program and would like our assessment of YOUR diet model as well as some recommendations on what to change, message me through the app and we can get the process started.
Take a food journal by writing down what you eat like I did in the sample here. You can also take pictures if that is easier for you. Email me this as well, and I will already have your height, weight, and age on your profile. This way we can look at your calories and come up with a
Track your weight each week if loss/gain is the goal. If you are not trending in the right direction, adjust SLIGHTLY on your daily model. Subtract 100 calories if you are not going down, and add 100 if you are not going up. Repeat these small changes each week until you start trending in the right direction.
It is much easier to follow a daily meal schedule like the one we do since you will be able to get a repeatable grocery cart load and cook it/ meal prep it more efficiently. That will be what makes it easier to stick to a healthy diet over time.
Final Wrap Up:
- You can use intermittent fasting if you prefer it, but it is not required for weight loss. Its main purpose is to help you stick to a calorie deficit.
- You can be vegan, paleo, keto, etc. and still follow a sound diet model.
- Eat protein with every meal and supplement with protein powder of your choice to ensure proper protein consumption. Aim for 1g per pound bodyweight.
- Try to eat most of your carbs for breakfast and lunch and taper it later in the day. Carbs are for great for energy to power you through a workout
- Limit Alcohol, Soda/Juice, processed and fried food, and sugar consumption as much as possible. Your teeth and your waistline will thank you. Instead, aim to drink a gallon of water per day and eat more colorful food that comes from the earth or an animal.
- Stop eating when you are full, no need to stuff yourself. Also eat when you are hungry, no need to starve either. Both are not helpful and encourage fat storage.
Any additional questions, do not hesitate to ask and I can go more in depth/detail for your specific situation.