It can be very overwhelming knowing what to eat, how much to eat, what diet to follow or where to start. There is so much information out there and it can be hard to filter through it and know what you should be doing to get you to your specific goal. Nutrition is the most important element in achieving your body composition goals. Hopefully this article breaks it down and takes the complication out of it.
To lose body fat you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means you are expending more energy than you are consuming. If your goal is fat loss this is the main priority. The next step is ensuring you are getting an adequate amount of protein to support muscle growth and maintenance, carbohydrates to fuel your sessions and fats to help with hormone balance.
It is also important to look at the nutrients you are consuming each day not just the calories. Yes, calories are the main focus but you want to ensure you are getting enough micronutrients and vitamins for optimum health and functioning. This will also make you feel better, feel fuller, perform better and lower inflammation.
When you are in a calorie deficit and working towards a fat loss goal your body tends to be under a bit more stress so filling your calories with nutrient dense, whole foods is much more beneficial.
If your goal is to put on muscle it is crucial you are eating enough food and fuelling your body adequately. This doesn't mean you need to go crazy but being in a slight surplus is recommended. Roughly 10% over your maintenance calories is a good place to sit at to prevent unwanted fat gain.
Similarly to above, you want to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of good quality protein, carbohydrates and fat into your diet. This will help your performance, recovery and ensure your diet matches your training plan.
Great you have reached your goal, now we need to maintain it. Maintenance is the least spoken about but is actually the hardest part. Finding balance and making it a lifestyle is crucial at this point. Tracking your macros at maintenance helps to understand the amount of food you should be consuming and how to be flexible. I recommend 80% whole foods and 20% treats when at maintenance. If you find you are constantly in a calorie deficit or restarting your diet every Monday it may be a good idea to take some time off and spend some time eating at maintenance to reset mentally and allow your body to be under less stress before starting a dieting phase.
Nutrition is much simpler then it is made out to be as we are told we need to do fasts, detoxes, fad diet, meal timing, etc. to achieve our goal. This couldn't be further from the truth and those who don't overcomplicate it and keep it simple seem to get great results that they can maintain! Remember if your goal is to lose weight we need to eat less then we expend, if your goal is muscle gain you want to eat slightly more than you're expending and if you are trying to maintain you want to match your intake and expenditure so they balance out. From here ensure you are fuelling your body with fresh foods full of vitamins and minerals while also allowing yourself to fit in a few treats here and there.*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.