Updated: Apr 6, 2020
You can't out-train your diet, whether you're a powerlifter trying to increase your squat totals or someone just trying to lose fat and put on muscle.
Working out is important for your health, but how you feed your body outside of the gym plays a huge part in how your "gains" actually show.
For example, you can build a ton of strength and lean muscle by hitting 3+ workouts a week, but if you're eating like crap you'll maintain and even gain more fat making it difficult to actually "see" your progress. The strength and lean muscle are there, it's just covered in fat. You'll be healthier because you're working out, but not as healthy as you could be if you focused on your nutrition habits to lose excess fat.
Here are 4 ways to prevent that from happening:
1. Start the composition of each meal with lean protein and veggies
Protein is the building block for so many important body structures, one of them being lean muscle tissue. It is rarely used for energy (only in dire situations) and it actually enhances the number of calories you burn even at rest (i.e. the thermic effect of food). On top of this, protein takes longer to digest, thereby keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Vegetables are basically free food. They contain next to no calories and they're highly nutritious and chock full of vitamins and minerals. They're also full of fibre which, along with protein, helps keep you feeling full and ensuring you consume fewer calories overall.
Building your meals this way prevents too much caloric intake while making sure you have enough protein and micronutrients to support healthy muscle development.
2. Eat fruits and veggies at any meal, and other "carbs" around exercise
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. We depend on them to perform physical activity. That's why having carbs around the time you exercise is great for fueling a workout. Outside of these times, especially if you're going to be sedentary, heavy carb loads can result in too much fat storage.
Now fruits and veggies are also carbs, but as I mentioned before, their caloric intake is so low that it doesn't make nearly the same impact as other carbs (bread, rice, pasta) do. They're essentially free food and they're packed with nutrition.
3. Don't drink beverages with more than zero calories
Drinks are a sneaky way to pack on a ton of calories, resulting in fat storage as opposed to fat burning. You'd be surprised how much it adds up.
Imagine cutting 100 calories a day from your favourite pop or cola. That's 36,500 calories a year or roughly 10 lbs of fat. Small choices compound over time to make huge differences.
I bring this up because beverages are typically a part of people's daily routine. Even going from three coffees a day to two can make a big difference as shown above (or even just switching to black coffee).
4. Moderation is key: don't break the rules more than 15% of the time
Life happens and sometimes we need to go with the flow. It's okay to have some pasta on a rest day or have a coffee with cream now and again. The key is moderation. That's what makes these habits sustainable over the long-term.
Don't beat yourself over supposed diet "failures" and end up just feeling guilty with no progressive action. Take the hit and move on. It's important to enjoy your food and develop a good relationship with your diet. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy and probably end up falling off the wagon anyway no matter what short term results you get.
So eat that cookie and move past it.
The goal of these habits is to:
- manage calorie intake
- consume enough protein to support healthy body development
- intake enough nutrients to live a healthy life
- be able to maintain it for the rest of your life
To your good health,
Getting started can be a tough thing to do, and the main reason is that people don’t know where to start.
That’s where I come in.
Regardless of whether you live in the GTA and can do in-person coaching with me or you live anywhere else in the world and can do online coaching, I can put a plan in place to help you get to where you need to be.