Ohhh, the path that we could go down with this topic, you’d be reading an entire saga of lengthy novels, but because we know you’re busy bees, we’re going to cut to the chase and provide you with some of the most helpful information you need to know about nutrition.
We’re all on a fitness and/or personal journey and have goals that we’re working towards, right? As far as fitness goes, what goals do we have? Fat loss, weight loss, increase lean muscle mass, increase strength...to name a few. So, what do you need to do in order to reach these goals? Here are some of the things you can start doing today to begin heading in the right direction:
- Make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.
- Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fat.
- Choose whole grains and fiber-rich fruits and veggies over refined grains and simple sugars (the fiber and complexity of the starch will aid in hunger control.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- NO LESS than 4 meals per day, with as many as 6 meals per day. This helps to control hunger, minimize fluctuations in blood sugar, and increase energy levels throughout the day.
- Avoid empty calories and highly processed foods, which do little to provide satiety anyway.
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER - at least half your body weight in ounces per day.
- Weigh and measure your food for at least a week. This will make you more aware of caloric value and serving sizes, as well as decrease the likelihood of underreporting food intake.
Lean Body/Muscle Mass Gain:
- Spread protein intake throughout the day (have protein with each meal).
- Eat 4 to 6 meals a day. Insulin response to a meal stimulates protein synthesis.
- Utilize the post workout window of opportunity! Having protein and carbohydrates within 90 minutes of a workout will increase recovery and protein synthesis, which maximizes gains. Tip: keep a shaker bottle with some TruLean protein powder in it so that you can just add water after a workout and get the nutrients your body needs when it needs it and be back on the go! This is something that can be absorbed and digested quickly, whereas food may take several hours to digest and absorb, missing the window.
“Do carbs make me fat?”
In a nutshell, no. Carbohydrates are necessary nutrients. They provide energy for the body, metabolism of fats, spare muscle proteins, are imperative before, during, and after exercise for strength, power, aerobic and anaerobic performance, and conditioning, and provide essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals. On the other side of that, however, excess intake of ANY nutrient, carbohydrate, fat, protein, or alcohol over daily calorie needs will cause weight gain. Now, even though carbs are necessary, that doesn’t mean having a pancake counts as the appropriate carb intake, as amazing as pancakes are. In fact, overconsumption of sugar, refined processed carbs, and high-glycemic foods could lead to uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar, low energy, and increased appetite and I KNOW we don’t want that. Instead, opt for unprocessed, whole-food carb sources such as veggies/starchy veggies, whole fruit, and grains to provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals to avoid hunger and aid in healthy weight loss.
“Will eating at night cause me to gain weight?”
No. Weight gain is a result of eating more calories than you burn on a regular/daily basis, not WHEN you eat. We all have a certain amount of calories that we can consume without gaining weight and as long as we do not exceed that amount, weight gain will not occur, provided that there are no medical conditions that might contradict this.
“Can I eat whatever I want as long as I exercise?”
For health and wellness purposes, no! But from a pure maintain-weight-goal standpoint, it pains me to say this, yes. Again, as long as you’re not exceeding your amount of calories per day. With that being said, please do not go and eat cake every day just because you’ve figured out how to fit it into your caloric intake for the day.
The science on this topic: the majority of daily caloric expenditure is not in the time spent exercising, but rather in the total energy expenditure during 24 hours. Approximately 3,500 calories equals a pound of body fat, so to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you’d need to maintain an average caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
“Are there risks involved with very low calorie diets?”
Absolutely, we do not recommend less than 1,200 calories per day. Even that may be too low for some. Here are some of the risks:
- Increased risk of malnutrition
- Poor energy and inability to complete a workout
- Mood/behavioral swings
- Side effects such as fatigue, constipation, and nausea. The most common serious side effect is gallstone formation.
“Do I need to have a high-protein diet to gain muscle?”
You need the RIGHT amount of protein (carbs and fats, too) to build lean muscle. As with anything else, an excess of protein about total calorie needs will be stored as body fat. In fact, the scientifically based recommendation for strength training athletes ranges from 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound. For example, if one weighs 150 pounds, an appropriate protein intake is about 75 to 120 grams of protein per day.
Hope this was helpful!