Nutrition is the most important aspect of getting and staying lean and muscular. You can work out perfectly on weights and cardio, but if you do not focus on what you are putting in your mouth, you will only get half way to your true potential.
Eating to gain muscle and lose fat really is easy. Actually it is common sense, once you understand a few basic rules.
There are three basic aspects that are important in eating for fitness.
1. You need to eat higher quality natural unprocessed foods versus low quality processed foods.
Most would agree that this one is common sense. Obviously 2,000 calories of chicken, salad, and broccoli is the way to go versus 2,000 calories of Twinkies and spam. If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was manufactured in a plant, stay away from it! IF IT ROTS, IT IS GOOD FOR YOU!
To find high quality, unprocessed foods that will work great for you remember the term;
“Lean, Green, and Marine”
Lean; proteins (chicken, lean red meat, whey protein, eggs, cottage cheese, turkey, pork) have the best thermic affect of all the food groups. For every 100 calories you consume, the body burns 30 calories just to digest, utilize and eliminate it. Plus lean proteins satiate your appetite best.
Green; (Salads, veggies, apples, green-beans, fruit) are full of fiber/vitamins/minerals (the more color the better) and water. 300 calories of Green is a mountain of food, versus 300 calories of starchy crabs (pasta, potatoes, and breads) will not even wet your palate. It is impossible to over eat on Green.
Marine; Healthy fats from fish (salmon, tilapia, red snapper, whit fish, nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts), avocado’s, flax and olive oil are very important to help keep our hormone levels balanced properly. This area of nutrition is very often overlooked. Trust me, if you take your fat intake too low, your body will shut down and your ability to reach your true potential will be limited.
2. You need to eat small meals often with protein and carbs combined together to maximize your Fat loss Nutrition
If you eat one meal per day of high quality food, that’s better than eating one meal of junk. But to really rev your metabolism up & to really reach your true fitness potential you need to eat smaller and more often with high quality protein and carbs combined together.
A recent study at Harvard showed that those that ate a healthy breakfast had over 8% less body fat on average then those who skipped it.
You also want to taper your calories through the day. Trust me when I tell you that there is lot of truth to the old adage “Eat Breakfast Like A King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Supper Like a Pauper”.
I know that if you are in the habit of not eating breakfast, that you do not have a hunger level in the morning. But the key is to slowly work into it.
Start by eating a tiny breakfast in the a.m. Maybe it is just one egg and a couple spoon fulls of oatmeal. If you want to speed up the process, get up 15 minutes early and get your heart rate up by power walking or any activity that raises your heart rate. Plus the added benefit is that you feel much more awake and alert versus sleeping in.
You must work up to eating 6 small meals per day. Now do not get overwhelmed. We are not talking meals like most of you are thinking; a huge plate that has side rails on it just to hold everything on it.
We are talking about small meals like;
1. An average size chicken breast and an apple
2. A 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 3-5 Egg white, 2 yolk omelet
3. A can of tuna on an organic salad
4. 30 grams of whey protein and an apple
5. 4 – 5 ounces of turkey on a wheat tortilla
6. Tuna, olive oil, lemon juice on a tortilla wrap
The options are endless if you just use your imagination and are just a little adventurous.
Most people who come to me for nutrition advice do not eat breakfast, eat a huge lunch at noon, and a massive dinner around 6:30 p.m. If you are doing the same, do not worry because it only takes about 2-3 weeks of eating smaller meals to work up to 6 meals per day; thus, speeding up your metabolism and fat burning potential.
3. Cycle Your Calories By Eating More Starchy Carbs on Work-out Days; and only Non Starchy carbs on non workout and cardio days.
Good sources of starchy carbs are brown / wild rice, oatmeal,whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, yams, and whole wheat pasta. Non Starchy carbs are veggies, green beans, salads, and apples.
Make sure that you eat a non starchy carb with your protein for every meal; on work out, cardio, and non work-out days.
The only thing to remember is to add a starchy carb to 2-4 meals per day on work-out days. This is what body builders refer to as carb cycling. Your body breaks starchy carbs down into glucose. Glucose is the gasoline for your engine. Your muscles can’t fire without it.
The problem is, most people eat too many starchy carbs and therefore have to much glycogen which is then stored as fat.
So if you cycle your calories with the rules above, you will be giving your body the extra glucose on days that it needs it (for work-outs). And on days that you are not as active, your body will not store fat cause your calories and starchy carbs will be lower.
You see it keeps the body guessing and it will never shut down your metabolism because of calorie deprivation which is what happens to most people when they go on a diet and severely limit their calories.
Eating this way is fun and very effective at gaining muscle and losing fat. It keeps all of your bodies anabolic hormones at optimal levels. I dare you to try it; I know that you will fell the difference in no time. This simple Fat loss Nutrition system works great and I have used it on myself and my clients for 20 years.
If you would like some more great nutrition tips for post work out meals; Post Work Out Meal Nutrition Strategy
Focusing on the “Three Pillars of Health”
- The Foods That You Eat
- The Exercise That You Get
- The Thoughts That You Think
is about much more than fitting into a smaller pair of blue jeans. It’s about being fully engaged. It’s about having real energy. It’s about being creative and less stressed. It’s about sleeping better at night. And it’s about “Reaching Your True Potential in all the major areas of your life.
Your Fitness Coach,