How I achieved my current physique-My fitness secrets revealed-Part 3- Nutrition
I am back for part 3 of my fitness secrets series. Today we will be discussing a topic which is of the utmost importance in achieving success with this (or any) fitness program; the correct nutrition breakdown for your training. Without a good nutrition plan in place, you will be unable to achieve the results you desire. I am going to save you a lot of grief and frustration by sharing with you what it is that I ate to fuel my body, in order to have it function optimally during tough workouts, and a busy daily schedule. Trust me when I say nutrition is critically important if you want to see changes in your body composition. This is secret number 3. Let’s take a closer look at what this means to you.
“What you eat determines your body composition”
Yes, what you put in your mouth, and I am talking everything including any, and all liquids, will determine your body composition. So what do I mean by body composition? I am talking about your lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, and water weight. What we are trying to achieve here is a lower body fat percentage, a correct level of water weight, and of course a greater amount of lean muscle mass. When your macronutrients are out of whack, this will be reflected in your body composition,( and what you see in the mirror). A good example of imbalance in the body would be if you ate too much salt. Too much sodium causes one to look puffy and swollen (edema). The same thing can happen if you ate too many carbohydrates VS. Protein, and too much fat. What we are looking for is balance. We need to figure out the correct macronutrient ratios for our bodies, so we can reach our body composition goals.
“What is the correct macronutrient breakdown for me?”
Answer: Everyone is different! You need to do some math and experimenting.
Every person out there is currently at a different level of fitness, and body composition, so a “one size fits all” nutrition program doesn’t really exist. You need to become your own scientist, do the math, and test your ratios, and see how they work for you. So how do we go about doing this? We begin by doing a little math to figure out how many grams of each macronutrient we need. The macronutrients we are focusing on here are Carbohydrates, Protein, and fat. I am only going to list the break down for cutting (or getting leaner) because unless you are less than 20% body fat (for women) you need to cut, before you do anything else in order to achieve similar results (we focus on building AKA “bulking” later) We do this in order to avoid gaining too much fat during our “maintaining or bulking” phases. Trust me, you don’t want all that extra fat before you reach these particular phases, because it takes a lot longer to get it off your body. We are simply making things easier for ourselves, in order to get where we need to be. Some people out there believe you will lose all muscle mass during a cutting phase. Don’t worry, “mass muscle exodus” won’t occur during this time, and you might even find you gain some, especially if you are new to all of this. I told you proper nutrition was important and I wasn’t kidding! If you don’t eat, you will regret it. Your recovery after workouts will suffer, and you will do more harm to your body than good.
Ratio breakdown for cutting
The ratios are what I used for my cutting program (cutting =Losing fat). To make it easy for you, we created this handy macro calculator. Just enter your current weight, and the calculator will break down how many protein, carb, and fat grams you need, and how many calories in total it adds up to. This is what you will eat on a daily basis, until you reach the correct body fat levels to maintain, or bulk. Once you reach the desired body fat levels, you will then “reverse diet” to maintain, or gain more muscle mass. I am not going to go into reverse dieting here in this post, as you needn’t worry about it yet. Just focus on one thing at a time. Here is the calculator. Just enter in your weight to see what your body needs:
Testing your body fat levels…
To test body fat levels, there are many fancy, and very expensive ways to do this. I am happy to say you don’t need to fork out all your hard earned cash for any of these, and you will still receive an accurate result. Simply using an inexpensive body fat caliper, and measuring tape, is just as effective, not to mention very convenient. Remember, staying consistent is a key to success, and tools such as your caliper and measuring tape help keep you on the right path towards your goals. Here is the caliper and measuring tape that I purchased
At the beginning of each segment of your workout program, you will test your body fat levels. You will also want to take progress photos. Taking photos at the same time of day, wearing the same outfit, and in the same lighting, makes progress easier to see. These photos aren’t intended to be shared with others ( but you can if you like!) they are only for you to see where you have made improvement, which helps motivate you further. It is really encouraging to see your abs beginning to show, your thighs getting firmer, and your waist to begin to take on that coveted “hourglass” shape.
What foods I eat for success…
It is no secret that maintaining a healthy diet chock full of fruits and vegetables is a key to a long and healthy life. It is the same for this fitness program. I know a lot of supposed “fitness gurus” out there preach that if you eat fruit you will get fat, or that you can’t eat any starchy vegetables or grains because they “stop you from losing fat”. This is utter BS. You are going to need these carbohydrates so you can maintain what muscle mass you have, and fuel your workouts! The truth is, that if you eat too much you get fat, No matter what you are eating! Removing entire food groups from your diet is not going to change a thing. It is only going to set you off down a road where you create a very unhealthy view point towards food in general. Don’t believe the hype! Unless you have a LEGITIMATE FOOD ALLERGY you have no reason to remove certain foods from your diet!!! My daughter is legitimately allergic to wheat, and there is nothing that annoys her more than these people out there going “gluten free” just because it is trendy! Bread is awesome, and as long as you are not eating a loaf in a sitting, and choosing NON GMO varieties, then you have the green light to eat bread and carbs, JUST DON’T OVER EAT IT! Simple as that. What we are going for here is nutritional BALANCE. I can’t say this enough! You can apply the technique of maintaining balance to ALL AREAS of your life, not just nutrition. It makes for a more pleasant and happy life, believe me.
The following shopping list contains items that I eat every week, and serve as a base for meal planning. Obviously if you have a food allergy, or you just don’t like something here, you can replace it with something else.
*NOTE* for the people out there with actual real gluten/wheat allergies, please look very carefully at all the products you buy. Maltodextrin is derived from wheat most of the time (check to make sure your’s is from corn or rice which is ok) and can cause serious issues with people who have these problems. Also make sure they are using Non GMO corn and rice. You would be surprised (or maybe not) at how many of these “gluten free” products out there use genetically modified corn and rice. This is how many of you became allergic to wheat in the first place! Be warned. Make your own bread replacements at home yourself when ever you can. There are great recipes for this on Pinterest.
Pre and post workout meals…
What you eat before and after your workouts can make a world of difference in how your body responds to your fitness program. Your pre-workout meal gives you the energy needed to fuel you through each set and rep of your workout. Your post workout meal helps the body to recover, and grow new muscle mass. Around 30 minutes before each workout I consume 30 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbs. It is easy to hit these macros in the form of a smoothie, so that is what I usually do. Post workout I will take in 40 grams of protein, and approximately 1 gram of carb per kilogram of body weight (example: for a 126 pound person that is 57 grams of carb). This is usually a regular meal for me, and will be either breakfast or lunch. I have found that my optimal workout time is early or late morning. If I workout in the evening, I just don’t sleep well.
Next up…Tools of the trade and part 1 of the workout…
In my next and final post, I will be sharing with you the various tools and products I use to achieve my fitness goals. If you have any questions regarding this post, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.
Until next time, have a great week!