Without eating the right foods, your body cannot continue to change. Therefore if you wish to get results from the Training you do, you must address your Diet just as vigilantly as your Training. To do this you must understand these 3 Steps.
1. You Must Eat Enough, but Not Too Much or Too Little...
How do you know how much is enough? Simple. If you're not getting bigger you're not eating enough and if you're not getting leaner you're eating too much. This will call on you accepting that there will be a trial period where you test an amount of food (with strict nutrient ratios), and monitor the changes in your body. This may seem laborious or a waste of time, but also understand that building a great physique takes a very long time (years - Naturally at least) and so the few weeks you test a diet is actually no time at all compared to the overall time it will take to reach your goals. Plus, you may as well take the time to get it right, to save you staying idle and not improving at all. Conversely, if you are gaining weight too fast (in the form of Fat) then you truly know you are simply eating too much. In this case you will have to reduce something, most likely your Fat or Carbohydrates.
2. It's About Nutrients
You will hear this again and again on this site; Excessive Carbohydrate intake doesn't necessarily build muscle. At least, not in the way you want them to, and how most people eat them... All cells in our bodies are made from Protein and Fat, no part of the structure of our Cells is made from Glucose (Carbohydrates). So bare that in mind when you eat lots of rice or sweet potato. As a general rule, keep Carbohydrates no higher than 20-30% of your total food intake. Not that you can't handle more, but this will normally equate to roughly 150-250g per day for the average Male, and 75-100g for a Female, depending on how big a person you are. Always measure what you are eating, so you are keeping everything on track - this will give you peace of mind.
3. Do Not Be Afraid of Fat
Fat, especially Saturated Fat, is incredibly important for optimal health. It provides so many benefits to our bodies and is on par with protein for essential needs for muscle growth. Hormone levels, energy, recovery and so much more is regulated by the consumption of Fat. Do not believe Media hype demonising Fat. Always eat natural sources of Fat like Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Butter, Nuts, Avocado and Animal Fat - stay away from Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils. On your quest to becoming Fit, building muscle and getting lean - Dietary Fat will make your meals taste better, keep you satiated for longer and make the process a whole lot more efficient and effective.
Try these Macro Nutrient Ratios for a Muscle Building approach, and monitor any changes vigilantly:
On a 2,500kcal diet that works out to this:
On a 1,800kcal diet that works out to this:
1. Increases must be made if you are not building Muscle - Increase Fat or Carbohydrate slowly and monitor changes.
2. Decreases must be made if you are gaining Fat too fast - Decrease Fat or Carbohydrates and monitor changes.
Your Diet is about experimentation for your individual needs. Do not be afraid of changing things if you are not seeing changes. Take detailed notes on both Training and Diet to learn more about what works for you.
There are various forms of diet protocols that take on a pre-planned adaptive nature such as 'Carb Cycling'. This is when the amount of nutrients you eat changes by the day/week to stimulate Metabolism in various ways. This is considered to be an advanced technique and careful monitoring of the variables is needed for this approach. The main benefit of this concept is to train the body to slowly increase its tolerance to Carbohydrate over time, in the effort to stave off any cravings or mental affects one might get from a very low Carb or low energy diet. Diets like this can help stimulate plateaus in Fat Loss in people with very slow Metabolisms. More Info on Carb cycling to come.
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